Course Faculty: Prof. Yehezkel Landau, Prof. Ian Markham, Prof. Ingrid Mattson, Prof. Jane Idleman Smith, Prof. David Roozen, Prof. Ibrahim Abu –Rabi’, Rabbi Debra Cantor, Rev. Dr. Brita Gill-Austern, and Imam Abdullah Antepli
Course Overview: Hartford Seminary, building on its strengths as an interfaith, dialogical school of practical theology, has designed this innovative program to be a practical resource for Jews, Christians, and Muslims who seek a solid foundation in interfaith ministry. The format is an 8-day intensive training program, beginning with an informal dinner on June 1 and concluding around 3 p.m. on June 8.
Course Rationale and Objectives: Our society needs a new kind of religious leadership, grounded in a particular tradition and, at the same time, able to interact effectively with other faith communities. This is especially true given the prevalence of fear and mutual suspicion, exacerbated by violence committed by religious extremists.
We need to develop educational strategies to overcome the ignorance that leads to prejudice, which in turn leads to dehumanizing contempt, which in turn breeds violence.
The goals of the course are fourfold:
- Educating participants about the beliefs and practices of the three Abrahamic traditions
- Creating a supportive learning community in which clergy, lay ministers,
religious educators, and chaplains can forge mutually beneficial relationships across communal boundaries
- Helping participants acquire pastoral skills useful in interfaith ministry
- Developing leadership strategies for promoting interfaith relations in our pluralistic society
Course Content: Topics for discussion and shared experiences will include:
- Presentations clarifying the tenets and practices of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
- Historical overviews of the three traditions and how they have interacted in history
- Shared text study using source material from all three traditions
- Visits to a mosque, a synagogue, and a church for worship and subsequent discussion of those liturgical experiences
- Demographic and sociological data on Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities in America
- Skills and sensitivities needed to establish and sustain effective interfaith partnerships
- The role of the media in creating images of one another, and strategies to counter
negative media stereotypes
- Developing ideas for joint interfaith projects in local communities
Methods of Delivery: Lectures, panel discussions, text study, artistic exercises,
videotapes, facilitated conversations, visits to houses of worship, shared meals
Methods of Assessment: For those taking the course for credit, class participation will count for 20% of the course grade; a daily journal of one’s reflections on the experience will count for an additional 30% of the grade; and a final paper approximating 15 double-spaced pages will count for 50% of the grade. The paper and the journal reflections are due by Sept. 1, 2008. The final paper should relate to one or both of the two themes addressed by the course: theoretical approaches to improving interfaith relations, and practical strategies or initiatives aimed at promoting Abrahamic partnerships. It is recommended that a student consult with one or more of the course faculty before writing the final paper, to get input on how to approach the intended topic and what resources to use in researching it. If a student would prefer to do an artistic project, with a written rationale and bibliography, instead of an academic paper, s/he should consult with Prof. Landau in advance.
Course Schedule and Readings
(Note: the three assigned books, which are required of credit-seeking students, are available from the Hartford Seminary Bookstore; the “suggested readings” are optional and are meant primarily for those seeking additional resources for course papers).
Sunday, June 1: Informal opening dinner, 6:30 p.m., in the Seminary Meeting
Room (ground floor, to the right of the lobby). Preliminary introductions and general
overview of the course program; an interfaith exercise as a way of engaging one
another; distribution of sacred texts for group study and a notebook with Supplemental
Readings. “Before” questionnaires will be handed out for completion that evening.
Monday, June 2: Morning session, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Welcome by course faculty; explanation of course objectives and requirements;
ground rules for interreligious conversation for adoption by the group
SUGGESTED READINGS: “The Dialogue Decalogue: Ground Rules for Interreligious, Interideological Dialogue” by Leonard Swidler, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 20:1, Winter 1983 (September, 1984, revision); NOT WITHOUT MY NEIGHBOUR: ISSUES IN INTERFAITH RELATIONS by S. Wesley Ariarajah, Geneva: WCC Publications, 1999, chapters 1, 2, and 3 (both in Supplemental Readings)
Introduction to Jewish identity, beliefs and practices; Biblical and
Rabbinic tradition (Written and Oral Torahs); and contemporary Judaism in its
different forms (Prof. Yehezkel Landau and Rabbi Debra Cantorl).
ASSIGNED READING: CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM: AN INTRODUCTION TO
JUDAISM FOR MUSLIMS by Reuven Firestone, New York: Ktav Publishing House/
American Jewish Committee, 2001.
SUGGESTED READINGS: JEWISH LITERACY by Joseph Telushkin, New York: William Morrow and Company, 2001; JUDAISM: REVELATION AND TRADITIONS by Michael A. Fishbane, New York: HaperCollins Publishers, 1987; SACRED FRAGMENTS: RECOVERING THEOLOGY FOR THE MODERN JEW by Neil Gillman, Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1990; A JEWISH THEOLOGY by Louis Jacobs, New York: Behrman House, Inc., 1973; THE SEVENTY FACES OF TORAH: THE JEWISH WAY OF READING THE SACRED SCRIPTURES by Stephen M. Wylen, New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2005; THE JEWISH WAY: LIVING THE HOLIDAYS by Rabbi Irving Greenberg, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988; STANDING AGAIN AT SINAI: JUDAISM FROM A FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE by Judith Plaskow, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991; ON WOMEN AND JUDAISM: A VIEW FROM TRADITION by Blu Greenberg, Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1981; LIVING JUDAISM by Rabbi Wayne Dosick, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998; FINDING OUR WAY: JEWISH TEXTS AND THE LIVES WE LEAD TODAY by Barry W. Holtz, New York: Schocken Books, 1990; THE JEWISH APPROACH TO GOD: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION FOR CHRISTIANS by Rabbi Neil Gillman, Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2003; ONE PEOPLE, TWO WORLDS: A REFORM RABBI AND AN ORTHODOX RABBI EXPLORE THE ISSUES THAT DIVIDE THEM by Ammiel Hirsch and Yosef Reinman, New York: Schocken Books, 2002; TALKING TO THE OTHER: JEWISH INTERFAITH DIALOGUE WITH CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS by Rabbi Jonathan Magonet, London/New York: I. B. Taurus, 2003.
Afternoon session, 1:45 to 4:45 p.m.
Introduction to Jewish tradition, continued, with attention paid to stereotypes and
misunderstood aspects of Judaism, including: election/chosenness, Torah as “sacred
teaching” rather than legalistic rules; the land and state of Israel, and the connection
between Zionism and Judaism (Prof. Yehezkel Landau and Rabbi Debra Cantor)
Video reports on the Open House Center for Jewish-Arab Coexistence in Ramle, Israel,
with commentary by co-founder Prof. Yehezkel Landau
SUGGESTED READINGS: ISRAEL: AN ECHO OF ETERNITY by Abraham Joshua Heschel, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1969; A LAND OF TWO PEOPLES: MARTIN BUBER ON JEWS AND ARABS, edited with commentary and new preface by Paul Mendes-Flohr, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005; IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL by Amos Oz, London: Flamingo/Fontana Paperbacks, 1983; VOICES FROM JERUSALEM: JEWS AND CHRISTIANS REFLECT ON THE HOLY LAND, edited by David Burrell and Yehezkel Landau, New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1992; AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE GARDEN OF EDEN: A JEW’S SEARCH FOR HOPE WITH CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS IN THE HOLY LAND by Yossi Klein Halevi, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002; THE END OF DAYS: FUNDAMENTALISM AND THE STRUGGLE FOR THE TEMPLE MOUNT by Gershom Gorenberg, New York: The Free Press, 2000; HOLY WAR, HOLY PEACE: HOW RELIGION CAN BRING PEACE TO THE MIDDLE EAST by Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002; HEALING THE HOLY LAND: INTERRELIGIOUS PEACE-BUILDING IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE by Yehezkel Landau, PEACEWORKS No. 51, Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace, September, 2003; “Jews, Muslims, and Peace,” by Yehezkel Landau and Yahya Hendi, CURRENT DIALOGUE, No. 41, June-July, 2003, Geneva: World Council of Churches, pp. 12-13 (in Supplemental Readings); THE TESTING OF HEARTS: A PILGRIM’S JOURNAL by Donald Nicholl, London: Darton, Longman and Todd, Ltd., 1998; HEALING ISRAEL/PALESTINE by Rabbi Michael Lerner, San Francisco: Tikkun Books, 2003; THE LEMON TREE: AN ARAB, A JEW, AND THE HEART OF THE MIDDLE EAST by Sandy Tolan, New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006.
Evening session, 7 to 9:30 p.m.
Small-group sharing of encounters with the sacred or transcendent, followed by a panel
discussion on “What Do We Mean by Spirituality?” co-led by Rabbi Debra Cantor,
Rev. Dr. Brita Gill-Austern, and Imam Abdullah Antepli. Relevant topics
include: comparative mysticism; language as a medium of spiritual devotion,
including gender-specific references to the Divine; silence, meditation, chanting, and
body movement as alternative modes; liturgical commonalities and differences in
styles of prayer; how prayers in one tradition are heard/experienced by adherents of
another, especially prayers that refer to the Other.
SUGGESTED READINGS: JEWISH SPIRITUALITY: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION FOR CHRISTIANS by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2001; A GUIDE TO JEWISH PRAYER by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, New York: Schocken Books, 2000; MAN’S QUEST FOR GOD by Abraham Joshua Heschel, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1954; ENGENDERING JUDAISM by Rachel Adler, Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1998; SHE WHO DWELLS WITHIN: A FEMINIST VISION OF A RENEWED JUDAISM by Lynn Gottlieb, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1995; JEWISH PRAYER: THE ORIGINS OF THE CHRISTIAN LITURGY by Carmine Di Sante, Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1991; PRAYING THE PSALMS by Walter Brueggemann, Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press, 1986; EXPLORING CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY ed. by Bruce H. Lescher and Elizabeth Liebert, SNJM, New York/Mahwah: Paulist Press, 2006; THE ESSENTIAL WRITINGS OF CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM, ed. with introduction by Bernard McGinn, New York: The Modern Library/Random House, 2006; THE INTERIOR CASTLE or THE MANSIONS by St. Teresa of Avila, Rockford, Illinois: TAN Books and Publishers, 1997; FRANCIS OF ASSISI’S CANTICLE OF THE CREATURES: A MODERN SPIRITUAL PATH by Paul M. Allen and Joan deRis Allen, New York: Continuum, 2000; THE SINGER AND THE SONG: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THE SPIRIT by Miriam Therese Winter, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1999; SON OF MAN: THE MYSTICAL PATH TO CHRIST by Andrew Harvey, New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1999; PRAYING WITH ICONS by Jim Forest, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1997; MUSLIM DEVOTIONS by Constance E. Padwick, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1996; THE BOOK OF ASSISTANCE by Imam Abdallah Ibn Alawi Al-Haddad, Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2003; THE SOUL OF RUMI: A NEW COLLECTION OF ECSTATIC POEMS, translations, introductions, and notes by Coleman Barks, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001; THE WAY OF PASSION: A CELEBRATION OF RUMI by Andrew Harvey, New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1994; MY SOUL IS A WOMAN: THE FEMININE IN ISLAM by Annemarie Schimmel, Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 1998; MUSLIM PREACHER IN THE MODERN WORLD by Richard T. Antoun, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989; THE EARLY MUSLIM TRADITION OF DREAM INTERPRETATION by John C. Lamoreaux, Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002.
Tuesday, June 3: Morning session, 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Introduction to Muslim beliefs and practices, with attention given to cultural variety
within the Islamic umma (community) (Imam Abdullah Antepli)
ASSIGNED READING: THE HEART OF ISLAM: ENDURING VALUES FOR
HUMANITY by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002.
SUGGESTED READING: ISLAM AND THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY by Frederick M. Denny, Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 1998; WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ISLAM AND MUSLIMS by Suzanne Haneef, Chicago: Kazi Publications/Library of Islam, 1996; READING THE MUSLIM MIND by Hassan Hathout, Burr Ridge, IL: American Trust Publications, 1995; THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING ISLAM by Yahiya Emerick, Indiana: Alpha Books, 2002; UNDERSTANDING ISLAM: A GUIDE FOR THE JUDAEO-CHRISTIAN READER by Jerald Dirks, Maryland: Amana Publications, 2003; THE FAITH AND PRACTICE OF AL-GHAZALI by W. Montgomery Watt, Chicago: Kazi Publications, 1982; THE STORY OF A MOSQUE IN AMERICA by Dr. Faroque Khan, Westbury, NY: Islamic Center of Long Island, 2001; DAUGHTERS OF ANOTHER PATH: EXPERIENCES OF AMERICAN WOMEN CHOOSING ISLAM, by Carol L. Anway, Lee’s Summit, MO: Yawna Publications, 1996; TO BE A EUROPEAN MUSLIM by Tariq Ramadan, Leicester, UK: The Islamic Foundation, 1999; MUSLIMS AND JEWS: BUILDING A HOPEFUL FUTURE, edited by Norman Hosansky and Mazhar Jalil, Columbus, OH: The Islamic Foundation of Central Ohio, 2003.
Learning lunch, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.
Presentation and discussion facilitated by Prof. David Roozen on three topics:
“Motivations for Participating in Interfaith Dialogu,”
“The Nature and Sources of Prejudice” and
“Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Congregations in America: Current Trends”
ASSIGNED READING: “Meet Your Neighbors: Interfaith Facts” booklet, Faith
Communities Today/Hartford Institute for Religion Research, 2003 (distributed
SUGGESTED READING: THEY AND WE: RACIAL AND ETHNIC RELATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES (5th Edition) by Peter I. Rose, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.
Afternoon session, 1:45 to 4:45 p.m.
Presentation and discussion on stereotypes and misunderstood aspects of Islam,
including rights and opportunities for women, Greater and Lesser Jihad, attitudes
towards non-Muslims, and concepts of the afterlife (Prof. Ingrid Mattson)
SUGGESTED READINGS: QUR’AN AND WOMAN: REREADING THE SACRED TEXT FROM A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE by Amina Wadud, New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999; “BELIEVING WOMEN” IN ISLAM: UNREADING PATRIARCHAL INTERPRETATIONS OF THE QUR’AN by Asma Barlas, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002; MUSLIM WOMEN IN AMERICA: THE CHALLENGE OF ISLAMIC IDENTITY TODAY, by Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Jane I. Smith, and Kathleen M. Moore, New York: Oxford University Press, 2006; WINDOWS OF FAITH: MUSLIM WOMEN SCHOLAR-ACTIVISTS IN NORTH AMERICA edited by Gisela Webb, Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2000; “Islamic Ethics of Killing and Saving Life,” special issue of THE MUSLIM WORLD, guest editor Jonathan E. Brockopp, Vol. LXXXIX, No. 2, April 1999; REBELLION AND VIOLENCE IN ISLAMIC LAW by Khaled Abou El Fadl, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; NONVIOLENCE AND PEACE BUILDING IN ISLAM: THEORY AND PRACTICE by Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2003; “Stopping Oppression: An Islamic Obligation,” by Ingrid Mattson, in SEPTEMBER 11: RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVES ON THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES, edited by Ian Markham and Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi’, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2002, pp. 101-110 (in Supplemental Readings); QUR’AN, LIBERATION & PLURALISM by Farid Esack, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1997; “Islam” in THE DEATH AND AFTERLIFE BOOK by James R. Lewis, Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press, 2001, pp. 200-203.
Evening Discussion, 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.
A conversation on “Religion and the Media” with guest resource people Anisa Mehdi,
producer of TV documentaries including “Inside Mecca,” and Tamar Miller, consultant
to social change organizations with a focus on the Middle East and initiator of a radio
series called The PeaceBeat >>> some good news, some of the time!
Wednesday, June 4: Morning session, 9 a.m. to 12 noon
Introduction to Christian beliefs and practices, including an overview of different
Christian denominations (Prof. Ian Markham and Rev. Dr. Brita Gill-Austern)
ASSIGNED READING: UNDERSTANDING CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE by Ian S.
Markham, Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2008.
SUGGESTED READINGS: CHRISTIANITY: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION by Linda Woodhead, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004; CHRISTIANITY 101: TRACING BASIC BELIEFS by James W. White, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006; INTRODUCING CHRISTIANITY by Michael Keene, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998; TO BEGIN AT THE BEGINNING: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE CHRISTIAN FAITH by Martin B. Copenhaver, Cleveland: United Church Press, 1994; “Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” and “Psalm Eight” from THE DEATH OF ADAM: ESSAYS ON MODERN THOUGHT by Marilynne Robinson, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998, pp. 108-125 and 227-244 (in Supplemental Readings); CREDO by William Sloane Coffin, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004; MY STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM: MEMOIRS by Hans Kung, Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003; PRACTICING OUR FAITH: A WAY OF LIFE FOR A SEARCHING PEOPLE, edited by Dorothy C. Bass, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997; MANY MANSIONS: A CHRISTIAN’S ENCOUNTER WITH OTHER FAITHS by Harvey Cox, London: William Collins Sons & Co., 1988; COMMON PRAYERS: FAITH, FAMILY, AND A CHRISTIAN’S JOURNEY THROUGH THE JEWISH YEAR by Harvey Cox, Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001; MUHAMMAD AND THE CHRISTIAN: A QUESTION OF RESPONSE by Kenneth Cragg, London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1984; THE MONKS OF TIBHIRINE: FAITH, LOVE, AND TERROR IN ALGERIA by John W. Kiser, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002; JOHN PAUL II IN THE HOLY LAND: IN HIS OWN WORDS, edited by Lawrence Boadt, CSP, and Kevin di Camillo, New York and Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2005.
Afternoon session, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Stereotypes and misunderstood aspects of Christianity, including: the doctrine of the
Trinity; the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus; and the meaning of evangelism (mission
or witness?) (Prof. Ian Markham and Rev. Dr. Brita Gill-Austern)
SUGGESTED READINGS: THE MEANING OF JESUS: TWO VISIONS by Marcus J. Borg and N. T. Wright, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999; PAIN AND POLEMIC: ANTI-JUDAISM IN THE GOSPELS by George M. Smiga, New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1992; PREACHING WITHOUT CONTEMPT: OVERCOMING UNINTENDED ANTI-JUDAISM by Marilyn J. Salmon, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006; CHRIST KILLERS: THE JEWS AND THE PASSION FROM THE BIBLE TO THE BIG SCREEN by Jeremy Cohen, New York: Oxford University Press, 2007; PONDERING THE PASSION: WHAT’S AT STAKE FOR CHRISTIANS AND JEWS? edited by Philip A. Cunningham, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004; “The Rehabilitation of Mission,” presentation by Prof. Dale Bishop delivered at Hartford Seminary, February 12, 2004 (in Supplemental Readings).
Wednesday evening: OFF, OPPORTUNITY FOR SOCIALIZING OR REST
Thursday, June 5: Morning session, 9 a.m. to 12 noon
Interfaith text study (course staff): understanding the ambivalence of sacred texts—the
exclusive as well as inclusive dimensions, the messages that seem peaceful and those
that seem intolerant or violent—using selected passages from the Hebrew Scriptures,
New Testament, and Qur’an and from the oral/post-scriptural traditions (morning
session devoted to Jewish texts; all texts distributed in advance)
SUGGESTED READINGS: THE AMBIVALENCE OF THE SACRED: RELIGION, VIOLENCE, AND RECONCILIATION by R. Scott Appleby, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; “Violent Faith,” by Kelton Cobb, in SEPTEMBER 11: RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVES ON THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES, edited by Ian Markham and Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi’, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2002, pp.136-163 (in Supplemental Readings); VIOLENCE IN GOD’S NAME: RELIGION IN AN AGE OF CONFLICT by Oliver McTernan, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2003; WHEN RELIGION BECOMES EVIL by Charles Kimball, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002; THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE BELOVED SON: THE TRANSFORMATION OF CHILD SACRIFICE IN JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY by Jon D. Levenson, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993; THE SACRIFICE OF ISAAC IN THE THREE MONOTHEISTIC TRADITIONS, edited by Frederic Manns, Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1995; VIOLENCE AND THE SACRED by Rene Girard, Baltimore/London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979; THE BIBLE, VIOLENCE, AND THE SACRED: LIBERATION FROM THE MYTH OF SANCTIONED VIOLENCE by James G. Williams, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991; CONSTANTINE’S SWORD: THE CHURCH AND THE JEWS by James Carroll, Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001; THE ART OF FORGIVENESS: THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS ON HEALING AND RECONCILIATION by Geiko Muller-Fahrenholz, Geneva: WCC Publications, 1997.
Learning lunch, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.
Presentation and discussion facilitated by Prof. Jane Idleman Smith on “Do’s and
Don’ts for Interfaith Dialogue”
SUGGESTED READING: MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS, AND THE CHALLENGE OF INTERFAITH DIALOGUE by Jane Idleman Smith, New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
Afternoon session, 1:45 to 4:45
Continuation of interfaith text study: positive and negative passages from the Christian
Evening session, 7 to 9:30 p.m.: Sensitivities and Skills for Interfaith Partnerships
What kinds of communication skills are required for establishing and sustaining
interfaith relationships? How can we listen more compassionately, suspend judgment,
give empathy, and speak with sensitivity to the Other’s situation? To what should we
give attention in reaching out to or hosting someone from another faith community?—
e.g., language that honors the Other, sacred calendars, prayer times, dietary
restrictions, etc. How do we find common ground, or at least agree to disagree
respectfully, on controversial issues such as proselytizing, shared worship, and
intermarriage? (plenary discussion facilitated by Imam Abdullah Antepli, Rabbi
Debra Cantor, and Rev. Dr. Brita Gill-Austern)
Friday, June 6: Morning session, 9 a.m. to 12 noon
Continuation of interfaith text study, positive and negative passages from the Islamic
Mid-day: Visit to Mosque in Berlin, CT (hosted by Imam Prof. Ali Antar), followed by
lunch and discussion about the prayer service, then a presentation and exchange on
“Islam, the West, and Globalization” by Prof. Ibrahim Abu-Rabi’
Bus trip back to the Seminary in time for rest and preparations for Shabbat
Evening: Optional Shabbat dinner at the Seminary, preceded by brief prayer service
Saturday, June 7: Visit to modern Orthodox or liberal synagogue for Sabbath
morning prayers, followed by kiddush (light lunch) and discussion at Beth David
Synagogue, facilitated by Rabbi Yitzchok Adler
Remainder of Saturday: OFF, OPPORTUNITY FOR SOCIALIZING OR REST
Sunday, June 8: Visit to Immanuel Congregational Church or Trinity Episcopal
Church for Sunday worship, followed by lunch and discussion at Hartford Seminary
with participation of Rev. Ed Horstmann and Rev. Don Hamer
Mid-day: Final artistic exercise and closure, ending by 3 p.m. to allow Jews to get home
by the beginning of the Shavuot holiday (at sundown)
“After” questionnaires distributed for completion before leaving
SHALOM, SALAMAT, PEACE