Over the years he has been at Hartford Seminary, Prof. Yehezkel Landau has taken on numerous titles. He was the first Jewish core faculty member, the holder of the Abrahamic Partnerships Chair, and the Director of the Building Abrahamic Partnerships Program. The titles, though, don’t fully capture the deep impact he has had on the community.
“In the 14 years Yehezkel has been here, he has changed this place immeasurably,” President Heidi Hadsell told the crowd assembled to say farewell on May 11, 2016.
President Hadsell recalled her first year leading the Seminary and her realization that it was essential to have a permanent Jewish presence on the faculty. Prof. Landau’s experience with peacemaking in Israel, the United States and in other countries made him a perfect fit, she said.
Student Anne Rapkin, who is graduating this week, talked about her experience in taking Prof. Landau’s Building Abrahamic Partnerships class, which offers a practical foundation for mutual understanding and cooperation among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. She found it so eye-opening and uplifting that she had to continue her education at the Seminary. “Being in that class made me feel like I was at the center of life,” she said. “Yehezkel himself was energetic, articulate, and acutely sensitive to the potential for conflict.”
Prof. Timur Yuskaev remembered meeting Prof. Landau in New York in 2001, right after the 9/11 attacks, and then again when he came to Hartford Seminary. Prof. Landau, he said, has taught him that “peace is not something static” but requires constant interaction and conversation.
Another close friend, Prof. Miriam Therese Winter, read some lines by Joan Chittister, an author both she and Prof. Landau admire, and said, “I thank God for your presence here at the Seminary and in my life.”
Prof. Landau addressed the well-wishers and told them it was bittersweet to close “this 14-year chapter of my journey.”
“The world keeps coming to Hartford Seminary,” he said. “This has been for me such nourishment, it’s beyond words. You have made my time here exceptionally good.”
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