Report on the Fourteenth Annual Meeting

Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations

Report on the Fourteenth Annual Meeting

Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Sunday, November 1 - Monday, November 2, 2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015  

The meeting opened with the first panel discussion moderated by Kevin Spicer (Stonehill College) and entitled: "Understanding Interreligious 'Fault Lines': Insights from Post-Holocaust Conversations." The principal remarks were delivered by Victoria Barnett (U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum) with responses by Timothy Crain (Seton Hill University) and Ben Barer (Hebrew College).

This was followed by the public programs organized by the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council declaration Nostra Aetate. The keynote address was delivered by James O'Toole (Boston College) on "Boston and Nostra Aetate," the session was moderated by James Bernauer (Boston College). A complementary panel then discussed "Relations with Jews and the Diverse Christian Communities of Boston," featuring Or Rose (Hebrew College), Michael McGarry (Paulist Center), Jennifer Howe Peace (Andover-Newton Theological School), and Demetrios Tonias (Annunciation Cathedral of Boston), and moderated by Ruth Langer (Boston College).

Following a reception and dinner, the Council awarded its Shevet Achim Award for Outstanding Contributions to Christian-Jewish Relations to Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenberg, past President of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. Tributes were given by Celia Deutsch (Barnard College), Daniel Lehmann (Hebrew College), and Peter A. Pettit (Muhlenberg College).

Sunday, November 2, 2015

The day began with a presentation by Shevet Achim honoree Irving Greenberg, "On the Jewish Response to Nostra Aetate." Eugene Korn (Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Collaboration) and Sara S. Lee (emeritus director, Rhea Hirsch School of Education, Hebew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles). The discussion was moderated by Philip Cunningham (Saint Joseph's University).


The annual business meeting was convened by the chair, Ruth Langer (Boston College) at 11:00 a.m.  A quorum was achieved through the presence of representatives of these institutional regular members: Boston College, Catholic Theological Union, College of the Holy Cross, Creighton University, Muhlenberg College, Sacred Heart School of Theology, Saint Joseph's University, Saint Leo University, Seton Hall University, Siena College, Sisters of Sion Relation & Encounter, and Stonehill College.

  1. Board Nominations and Election. Past Chair Elena Procario-Foley (Iona College) had submitted in writing the slate of nominees for the CCJR Board of Directors. They were Ronald Simkins (Creighton University) as Vice-Chair and Heather Miller-Rubens (Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies) as an At-Large Member, both with three-year terms ending in 2018. There being no nominations from the floor, this slate was unanimously elected.

  2. 2016 Annual Meeting. The 2016 meeting will be hosted by the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia in conjunction with the Annual Conference of the International Council of Christians and Jews. Members should take note of the unusual date of the next CCJR meeting because of this concurrent scheduling with the ICCJ. The dates will be Sunday, July 10 - Wednesday, July 13, 2016.

    The Chair invited the membership to consider hosting the 2017 annual CCJR meeting.

  3. New Member Applications.  The Board presented two applications for regular membership: (A) the Center for Inter-religious and Communal Leadership Education (CIRCLE), which is a collaborative initative by Andover-Newton Theological School and Hebrew College in Newton Centre, Massachusetts; and (B) the Christian Jewish Dialogue of Toronto in Canada. There was also an affiliate (i.e. overseas) member application from the Galilee Center for Studies in Jewish-Christian Relations at Yezreel College in Israel. The Board recommended the approval of all three applications.  After discussion and a subsequent electronic vote, the voting (i.e. regular) members unanimously approved all three.

  4. International Council of Christians and Jews Report. ICCJ President Philip Cunningham (Saint Joseph's University) reported on a very succcessful 2015 ICCJ meeting in Rome on June 28 -July 1, 2015, the highlight of which was a private audience with Pope Francis. Phil advised members to consult the pope's address to the ICCJ, which though brief contains some significant theological statements. The ICCJ Executive Board will meet in Heppenheim, Germany in February 2016 with a special focus on the immigrant/refugee crisis in Europe. As already mentioned, the 2016 ICCJ meeting will occur in Philadelphia, with the CCJR being the host national member organization. The dates are July 10-13, 2016. In addition, the ICCJ research project "Promise, Land, and Hope: Jews and Christians Seeking Understanding to Enable Constructive Dialogue about Israeli-Palestinian Issues" conducted the fourth of a projected five-year series of consultations at the Swedish Theological Institute in Jerusalem in August 2015. Several CCJR members are participants in the research team.

  5. Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations Report.  Managing editor Camille Markey (Boston College) reported on the articles, proceedings, and book reviews that have been published in the last year. In the current Vol. 10 (2015) three blind peer-reviewed articles have been published, as well one CCJR annual meeting proceeding, and seventeen book reviews. Based on the last twelve months, for peer-reviewed submissions there is a 44% acceptance rate , a 33% rejection rate by the editors, and a 22% rejection rate after peer review. There will be a special Nostra Aetate-themed issue of SCJR with articles written by members of the Christian Scholars Group on Christian-Jewish Relations.

  6. Secretary/Treasurer's Report.  Philip Cunningham presented the Treasurer's Report for 2014-2015 and the Proposed Budget for 2015-2016. Both are available to members not present upon request.  The report was received and the budget approved unanimously with the revision of a $400 increase in available Michael Signer scholarships because of the next ICCJ meeting occurring in the United States.

  7. Webmaster's Report. Philip Cunningham requested that all members check their online membership information for accuracy and that all the relevant hyperlinks are functional. Upgrades to the various software components are being managed by Daniel Michaels of Keypoppy Christian Resources.

  8. Chair's Report.  Ruth Langer congratulated Philip Cunningham and Adam Gregerman for the dedication at Saint Joseph's University of the sculpture "Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time" and for its blessing by Pope Francis during his visit to Philadelphia. She thanked all officers and members for their hard work in the past year.

  9. Old Business:  Ruth Langer announced that the proposed revision to the By-Laws to enable all categories of members to serve on the Board (with the exception of the Chair) was successfully approved by electronic vote. The online By-Laws will reflect this revision.

  10. New Business:  A question was raised about recording CCJR meetings and making them available online. The possibility for doing so depends greatly on the technical resources of the host institution. Every effort will be made to record at least plenary sessions of the 2016 meeting.

  11. Adjournment. The business meeting adjourned at 12:10 p.m.

The annual meeting continued with two panels:

"Implications of Current Research on Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity for Christian-Jewish Relations Today." The panelists were Angela Kim Harkins (Boston College), Adele Reinhartz (University of University of Ottowa, currently the Corcoran Visiting Professor at the BC Center for Christian-Jewish Learning), and Thomas Stegman (Boston College). It was moderated by Arthur Urbano (Providence College).

"Creating Intersections between Christian-Jewish Relations, Theologies of Religious Pluralism, and Comparative Theology." The panelists were Alan Brill (Seton Hall University), Francis X. Clooney (Harvard Divinity School), and Bethany Slater (Boston College). The moderator was Adam Gregerman (Saint Joseph's University).

The annual meeting then concluded with the Council's thanks extended to our hosts at the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning: James Bernauer, Ruth Langer, and Camille Markey.