In Memory of Cardinal William Keeler

Keeler Cardinal WilliamCardinal William H. Keeler, who served as the 14th Archbishop of Baltimore (1989-2007), died Thursday March 23, 2017 at age 86. He served as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (1992-1985) and Chair of the Bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (1984-1987). For many years he also served as the U.S. Bishops' Moderator for Catholic-Jewish Relations. 

Rabbi A. James Rudin, Senior Interreligious Adviser for the American Jewish Committee, who worked closely with Cardinal Keeler in advancing Catholic-Jewish relations over decades, wrote the following upon learning of the cardinal's death:

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In Memory of Sir Sigmund Sternberg

[From The Jewish Chronicle Online.  Sir "Siggy," as he was fondly called, was the long-time patron of the International Council of Christians and Jews, of which the CCJR is the national member organization for the United States.]


Sternberg SigmundSir Sigmund Sternberg, the renowned interfaith activist and philanthropist, has passed away at the age of ninety-five.

Sir Sigmund played a leading role in many key Jewish communal institutions. A member of the Board of Deputies for many years, he also chaired the International Council of Christians and Jews, as well as founding the Three Faiths Forum.

He was born in Hungary in 1921, arriving in Britain in 1939, just prior to World War Two. Entering the scrap metal trade, he built up his firm to such an extent over the next couple of decades that by 1965, in his early forties, he was able to retire from business and dedicate his time to charitable interests.

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In Memory of Dr. Michael Wyschogrod

wyschogrod mDr. Michael Wyschogrod (September 28, 1928 - December 17, 2015) was a Jewish German-American philosopher of religion, Jewish theologian, and activist for Jewish-Christian interfaith dialog. During his academic career he taught in philosophy and religion departments of several universities in the United States, Europe, and Israel.

Wyschogrod's best-known work is The Body of Faith: God in the People Israel (1989; 2nd edition: The Body of Faith: God and the People Israel). His Abraham's Promise: Judaism and Jewish-Christian Relations (2004) is a collection of some of his most seminal essays on Jewish-Christian relations from throughout his career.

Jonathan D. Sarna, the editor of H-Judaic, the Jewish Studies Network, writes of Prof Wyschogrod:

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In Memory of Irvin J. Borowksy

Obituary from The Jewish Exponent, November 26, 2014 By: Michael Elkin 

borowsky irvin2Irvin J. Borowsky, a pioneering publishing magnate whose insightful and creative industry contributions included the founding of the precursor to TV Guide, and whose concerns for ecumenical harmony and tolerance led him to play a major international role in interreligious cooperation and education, died Nov. 25, just two days after turning 90.

In many ways, the native Philadelphian — the youngest of nine children — was a Renaissance man with a global impact on religion and the arts, combining interest in his Jewish heritage and its image around the world.

A former president of the Jewish Exponent as well as longtime leader in numerous roles with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia — at the time of his death, he was an honorary member of the Federation’s Board of Trustees — Borowsky funded many Federation programs, namely the Mitzvah Food Project, which received aid through the Borowsky Family Foundation. 

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In Memory of Dr. Donald J. Dietrich

Dietrich Donald-webCHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (November 2013) Boston College Theology Professor Emeritus Donald Dietrich, chairman of the Theology Department from 1991 to 2000, died Nov. 16, 2013. He was 72.

Dr. Dietrich was an internationally recognized scholar of the German Catholic experience, Christian-Jewish relations and the Holocaust. He was the author of Human Rights and the Catholic Tradition; God and Humanity in Auschwitz: Jewish-Christian Relations and Sanctioned Murder, and Catholic Citizens in the Third Reich: Psycho-Social Principles and Moral Reasoning. He also was the editor of, or contributor to, numerous publications, including Christian Responses to the Holocaust: Moral and Ethical Issues, Priests for the 21st Century, The Legacy of the Tubingen School: The Relevance of Nineteenth Century Theology for the Twenty-First Century, and Anti-Semitism, Christian Ambivalence and the Holocaust. In addition, he wrote well over 100 book reviews.

“Don was a warm person with a great deal of wisdom,” recalled Theology Professor of Jewish Studies Rabbi Ruth Langer, associate director of the University’s Center for Christian-Jewish Learning. “He hired me and mentored me in my early career. He was an extraordinarily effective chairperson who knew how to get things done. He was very much involved in the founding of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning and very encouraging as the center developed. Even after he was no longer chair, he was very supportive of our work.”

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In Memory of Dr. JoAnne Woodyard Boyle

Longest Serving President of Seton Hill Sparked Growth and Development

Boyle JoAnne WoodyardGreensburg, Pa.—JoAnne Woodyard Boyle, Ph.D., Seton Hill University’s longest serving president, died on Friday, November 1, 2013. She was considered by her colleagues and friends a talented teacher and visionary leader.

A 1957 alumna of Seton Hill, JoAnne Boyle served as President of Seton Hill from 1987 until her retirement in June 2013. Prior to becoming President, JoAnne Boyle served as professor of English at Seton Hill and chair of the English Department. She was a tireless champion of the liberal arts. She once wrote, “I can’t imagine what life would be like without grounding in the liberal arts. Without a foundation in the arts and sciences, people cannot be as effective in the world; they miss the frame of reference that helps them compare and think carefully about a subject. I think there is a hunger in us and a yearning for the knowing of where what we do and who we are fits into a larger picture and the study of the liberal arts provides that for us.”

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In Memory of Ruth Weyl

weyl ruthI am sorry to have to share bad news with the global family of the International Council of Christians and Jews that our beloved friend and colleague, Ruth Weyl, has died at the age of 89. She passed away on Sunday, May 12th (the 3rd of Sivan in the Jewish calendar.) In the words of her daughter, Celia:

The past month did not correspond to her wishes and she fought valiantly to regain her health, but declined gradually over the past ten days, despite the doctors' efforts.  Her daughters and grand-daughters were round her the last week though I'm not sure that even the five of us together could have the same energy as this lady generally showed.

This will be a great personal loss to me. I have known Ruth for just under seven years, and she was old enough to be my mother, yet we became good friends and confidantes. She often called me and she e-mailed me frequently, sharing articles or other items of mutual interest.

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In Memory of the Rev. Clemens Thoma, SVD

Thoma ClemensThe Reverend Clemens Thoma (1932-2011) was a priest in the Society of the Divine Word (S.V.D.); one of eleven children in a farming family in the Saint Gall area of Switzerland, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1961.  He was a student and later a collaborator with Dr. Kurt Schubert, who had founded the Institutum Judaicum in Vienna in 1948.  Father Thoma’s doctoral dissertation on “The Destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in AD 70” laid the foundation for a lifetime of scholarly and pastoral commitment to Christian-Jewish dialogue.  In 1971 he became Professor of Biblical and Jewish Studies in the Theological Faculty of Luzern and in 1981 he founded the Institute for Jewish-Christian Research, which he directed until 2000.  He succeeded Dr. Gertrud Luckner as editor of the Freiburger Rundbrief and traveled frequently to Freiburg to bring a new format and fresh perspectives to this esteemed journal.  He was a founding member of the team that produced the monumental Theologische Realenzyklopädie.

Father Thoma was honored for his many contributions to Christian-Jewish relations: The Buber-Rosenzweig Medal (1994), the Honorary Medal of the City of Luzern (2001), honorary membership in the International Rosenzweig Society in Jerusalem (2006).

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In Memory of Rev. Donald Clifford, S.J.

Clifford_DonaldThe man who once considered entering a monastery but decided to be “a man for others,” spending the last 40 years tackling spiritual issues through the Jewish-Catholic Institute, died suddenly on May 4, 2009. 

As an 8th-grader at a parochial school in Philadelphia, Fr. Don Clifford, SJ, won his school’s spelling bee, sending him on to the championship held at Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School. There he would compete against winners from all over the archdiocese for the top prize: a full high school scholarship. At $200 a year, the opportunity meant a great deal to many families, Clifford’s included, who were struggling through the Depression. Although quick to admit that his impressions of the Prep were not all positive — at first he was turned off by the suit jackets and ties worn by its students — his mother convinced him to compete. Round after round, Clifford passed through. “It was pretty miraculous. The other kids were getting words I couldn’t spell,” he remembers, “but when my turn came around, I always got easy ones.” He made it all the way to the final round to take the top prize.

The winning word was “ubiquity” — present everywhere at once.

The son of Francis J. Clifford and Mary E. Shuler, Fr. Clifford was born in Philadelphia on June 23, 1929. Winning the spelling bee gave Clifford his first contact with the Jesuits and a chance to play basketball for a team in 1947 that would go on to be the last in Philadelphia history to win the Catholic League and City Championships. The winning season earned the starting five players, including Clifford, a full scholarship to play for Saint Joseph’s University.

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In Memory of Br. John G. Driscoll, C.F.C, Ph.D.


NEW ROCHELLE — Brother John G. Driscoll, who re-created Iona College as a high-profile Catholic college during a 24-year tenure as president before becoming an international leader in Christian-Jewish relations, died Tuesday evening after a long illness. He was 77.

"For over 20 years, through the '70s and '80s, he was Iona," said Brother James A. Liguori, Iona's current president, who replaced Driscoll in 1995.

Driscoll, a New York City native and mathematician by training, became president of Iona in 1971.

During his tenure, he expanded and modernized Iona's campus, grew the student body, and lobbied in Albany for education aid for private colleges and students.

He built new athletic facilities, expanded women's athletics and made Iona's sports teams more competitive.

"He took Iona when it was a small commuter college and began a residential program, created opportunities for faculty, built facilities," Liguori said. "He was a dynamo and a pastoral leader."

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In Memory of Rev. Dr. Lawrence Boadt, CSP

Boadt_LawrenceFr. Lawrence Boadt’s untimely death is a loss for so many of us across the spectrum of not only Catholics but Jews as well.  I have known him as a colleague and as a friend for many years, as an editor for Paulist Press, eager to publish books furthering the cause of Catholic-Jewish relations, my own included, and as a neighbor when he was at the Paulist College across the road from where I worked at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.   One normally notes the wit and wisdom of a friend and colleague when they pass, but in this case that would be an understatement. 

Larry Boadt excelled.  There is no other word for it. His book on Sacred Scripture, Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction, became a classic in the field and was used in countless seminaries and theology programs at universities. It incorporated the best not only of biblical scholarship but of the critical scholarship of the Jewish-Catholic dialogue, thus putting into reality the great vision of the Second Vatican Council on the renewal of dialogue between the Church, as the People of God, and the Jewish People, as the original and still present People of God. 

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In Memory of Rabbi Dr. Michael Signer

Michael_SignerRabbi Dr. Michael Signer served since 1992 at the University of Notre Dame as the Abrams Chair of Jewish Thought and Culture and Director of the Notre Dame Holocaust Project. Before that he was Professor of Jewish History at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles.

His interest in interreligious affairs began during his doctoral studies at the Center for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, and he later participated in the Priest-Rabbi dialogue at St. John's Seminary, where he and others founded the St. John's/Hebrew Union College academic exchange.

He taught in universities in Berlin and Augsburg, and was an American Jewish Committee Scholar at Catholic Institutions in Poland.

Michael Signer was the author and editor of five books on topics that range from Medieval Latin biblical commentaries to contemporary Jewish-Christian relations, and was one of the four authors of the historic statement, Dabru Emet: A Jewish Statement on Christians and Christianity.

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In Memory of Rev. Dr. Franklin Littell


By Joelle Farrell, Inquirer Staff Writer

The Rev. Franklin H. Littell, 91, of Merion Station, a Methodist minister widely acknowledged as the father of modern Holocaust studies in America, died Saturday at home after a long illness.

Mr. Littell dedicated his life to Holocaust research after spending nearly 10 years in postwar Germany as chief Protestant religious adviser in the U.S. high command. He was the first American scholar to offer courses on Holocaust and genocide studies, and at Temple University he established the nation's first doctoral program on Holocaust studies in 1976.

His scholarship examined individual responsibility in a free society and sought to encourage interfaith dialogue, especially between Christians and Jews.

Mr. Littell was the author of more than two dozen books and more than 1,000 articles, and was working most recently on his memoirs. He also was an activist who had marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil-rights struggle, said Marcia Sachs Littell, his wife of 30 years.

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In Memory of Rabbi Leon Klenicki

ADL Mourns Rabbi Leon Klenicki: Scholar, Theologian and Interfaith Pioneer


klenickiNew York, NY, January 27, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) mourns the loss of Rabbi Leon Klenicki, the League's longtime Director of Interfaith Affairs and Co-Liaison to the Vatican.  During his more than 30 years at ADL, Rabbi Klenicki worked tirelessly to promote understanding and respect between Christians and Jews while making historic contributions in creating positive relationships between the faiths.

A renowned scholar, theologian and interfaith pioneer, Rabbi Klenicki received many recognitions and awards for his work.  In August 2007, Rabbi Klenicki was made a Papal Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Benedict XVI, becoming only the second interfaith official to receive papal knighthood.  Later that year he was recognized by the League for his lifetime of dedication and service to ADL and the Jewish community.

"It was truly fortunate and blessed to have Rabbi Leon Klenicki represent us as our Interfaith Affairs Director for a quarter of a century," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  "He could talk to Jews and Christians with equal facility and ease.  It was amazing to witness the depth of respect the Catholic leaders showed Rabbi Klenicki.  This was because he was always honest with them, ready to criticize them when necessary, to praise them when appropriate, and always to be constructive in the relationship."

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