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April 2023

Commemorating Earth Day

Islam, Christianity, and Judaism share a common belief that the earth is divinely created and that humans play a key role as stewards in its care. It is not surprising, then, that environmental stewardship and advocacy is an endeavor for fruitful interreligious collaboration.

This year ICJS will commemorate Earth Day by focusing on how religious congregations and communities collaborate to promote good environmental policy and encourage ecological awareness as a form of spirituality. We hope you can join us to hear from four environmental practitioners, share your own perspectives, and come away with ideas for practical action.

We are also extremely excited about the Silber-Obrecht Lecture, which is the first endowed lectureship in the field of Interreligious and Interfaith Studies. You won’t want to miss hearing Francis X. Clooney, S.J., a Harvard University theologian specializing in the study of Hinduism who is a brilliant theologian and an engaging speaker. Please join us!

Highlights in this Issue:


Earth Day and the Climate Crisis: An interreligious approach

Join us for an event featuring an interreligious panel of practitioners who are approaching environmental issues from a number of perspectives: coalition building, advocacy, practical solutions, mental health, and spirituality. Each panelist draws on their religious tradition for guidance on our responsibilities, connections, and obligations to environmental stewardship. The discussion will include concrete actions individuals and congregations can take to help heal our earth.

Wednesday, April 19
Online via Zoom
Noon–1:00 PM EST

Join us for the Silber-Obrecht Lecture

Be a part of history in the making! ICJS is launching a groundbreaking event here in Baltimore: the inaugural Silber-Obrecht Lecture, which is the first endowed lectureship in the emerging field of Interreligious and Interfaith Studies. The public sessions of the Silber-Obrecht Lecture will take place on April 25 and 26 at Loyola University Maryland. Francis X. Clooney, S.J., a Jesuit priest and theologian at the Harvard Divinity School and a leader in the field of Interfaith and Interreligious Studies, will deliver the addresses. He will be joined at the second lecture by Shubha Pathak, Ph.D., Ph.D.,  of American University in Washington D.C., who will offer her response to Father Clooney’s lectures. The events are open to the public.


Messianic Judaism and Christian Zionism

A 3-week course with ICJS Protestant Scholar Matthew D. Taylor, Ph.D.

Judaism and Christianity have had a long and entwined history ever since the early Christian church emerged from first-century Judaism. Today some Christians also identify as being Jewish (a.k.a., Messianic Jews), and many Christians, known as Christian Zionists, support the modern state of Israel for theological reasons. This course will discuss the background and present-day complexities of these Christian identifications with (or attachments to) Judaism.

Tuesdays, May 2, 9, and 16, 2023
Online via Zoom
Repeated Afternoon and Evening Sessions
Noon–1:00 PM EST
7:00–8:30 PM EST

Becoming Beacons of Hope
By Debra Colmers, ICJS Congregational Leaders Fellow 2022

Debra Colmers believes in the power of interreligious work to help people overcome fear and ignorance. Compassion, peace, justice, and hospitality are values that unite interreligious leaders in their journey of becoming beacons of hope. 


Starting This Month: Virtual Spirituality Group 

In partnership with the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab at Brandeis University, ICJS recently conducted a survey that paints a portrait of chaplaincy in Maryland. The results of the survey made a few things clear: chaplains are searching for connection with each other, opportunities for professional development, and interreligious learning.

ICJS is responding to this discovery by creating a space that addresses these three needs—an interreligious spirituality group for chaplains and spiritual caregivers.

Contact Alisha Tatem, ICJS Program Director for Religious Leaders, for more information: atatem@icjs.org.

Nine monthly sessions beginning April 27, 2023
Online via Zoom


Recap | Holy Envy: Writing in the Jewish Christian Borderzone

Maeera Shreiber spoke at the March ICJS Online Event about how literature touching on Judaism or Christianity, particularly poetry, can cause a “radical disorientation” that can draw a reader or listener into seeing the other with new interreligious eyes. “Poems are often the place where self discovers itself by being in relation to an other: a divine other, a human other,” she said. “But it is a place of meeting. And so poems themselves perform the kind of interaction, encounter that I think can advance interreligious conversations.”


Staff Spotlight | Heather Miller Rubens on Faithful Politics

In this podcast, Heather talks about her vision of the interreligious society as a hopeful and constructive framework to both dismantle religious bias and to inform and inspire civic conversations. Heather highlights two dominant paradigms of public religion: Christian Supremacy, which holds that Christianity should be privileged and dominate the public square; and Secular Supremacy, which argues the public square should be a “religion-free” zone. As an alternative, Heather believes we must envision and build a flourishing Interreligious Society.


Scholar Highlight | Zeyneb Sayilgan Podcast 

In her podcast series, “Islam, Death and Child Loss: A Muslim Mother’s Journey Through Grief,” Zeyneb Sayilgan, ICJS Muslim scholar, offers a series of theological reflections on Islam and the Qur’an in the wake of the loss of her daughter, Meryem.


Staff Pick | Teaching Plato in Palestine

ICJS Jewish Scholar Benjamin Sax recommends this intriguing work that he says has much to teach us about dialogue. Philosopher Carlos Fraenkel describes his experiences of meeting with students at Palestinian and Indonesian universities, lapsed Hasidic Jews in New York, teenagers from poor neighborhoods in Brazil, and the descendants of Iroquois warriors in Canada. They wrestle with weighty questions using texts from philosophers including Plato and Aristotle, al-Ghazālī and Maimonides, Spinoza and Nietzsche, creating a “culture of debate” in a common search for truth.


About Us 

The Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies (ICJS) works to dismantle religious bias and bigotry to foster an interreligious society in which dialogue replaces division, friendship overcomes fear, and education eradicates ignorance. Through courses, fellowships, online events, and scholarship initiatives, ICJS builds learning communities where religious difference becomes a powerful force for good. ICJS is an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization.


Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies
956 Dulaney Valley Rd  | Baltimore, Maryland 21204
410.494.7161 | info@icjs.org | icjs.org

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