Report on the Twenty-First Annual Meeting

Report on the Twenty-First Annual Meeting

Jewish-Christian Studies Program at Gratz College

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Sunday, October 23 - Monday, October 24, 2022


 The Twenty-First Annual Meeting of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations was hosted by the Jewish-Christian Studies Program at Gratz College on Sunday, October 23 and Monday, October 24, 2022. 




Welcome  (2 p.m.) 

  • Rev. Dr. Kevin P. Spicer, CSC, CCJR Chair (Stonehill College)

Session 1:  Contemporary Trends in Episcopalian-Jewish Relations: Liturgy and Israel (2:10-3:40 p.m.)

In the last few decades, American Jews and Episcopalians have largely had positive and constructive relations. In particular, the Episcopalian Church has tried to reform theology and teaching in light of the contemporary shift away from a critical, traditional stance toward Jews and Judaism. Recently, there have been trends in the Church that impact the relationship, especially regarding liturgy and the state of Israel. We will consider these developments and situate them in the larger context of Jewish-Christian relations.

  • Moderator: Dr. Adam Gregerman, CCJR Vice Chair (Saint Joseph's University)
  • Speaker: Rev. Dr. Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, (Boston College)


Public Keynote Address and Shevet Achim Award (4:15-5:30 p.m.) 

  • Honoree and Keynoter: Rabbi Dr. Burton Visotzky (Jewish Theological Seminary)
  • Presenter of Sheveet Achim Award to Rabbi Dr. Burton Visotzky: Kevin P. Spicer, C.S.C.[Due to COVID, Prof. Visotzky appeared virtually. Benjamin Kamine received the award on his behalf.]  
    • Testimonials: Dr. Mary Boys, S.N.J.M. (Union Theological Seminary) and Adam Gregerman

Keynote: "The Mitzvah of Interreligious Dialogue," Burton Visotzky. 

Reception and Dinner (6-8:30 p.m.) 


Monday, October 24, 2022


Session 2: The Oberammergau Passion Play: The Journey Away from Anti-Judaism and Antisemitism: Are We There Yet? (9-10:30 a.m.) 

Even in the first decades after the Shoah and Nostra Aetate, the world’s most (in)famous Passion Play could still be described as “unmistakably antisemitic.” Now under the directorship of Christian Stuckl, a transformed vision for the play has removed nearly all vestiges of anti-Jewish tropes and images. How did the transformation happen? What is left to be done? What obstacles are inherent in the genre?

  • Moderator:  Kevin P. Spicer, CSC
  • Presenters: Rabbi Noam E. Marans (AJC Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations) and Rev. Dr. Peter Pettit (Teaching Pastor, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Davenport, IA)



CCJR Business Meeting (10:45 a.m.-12 p.m.) 

  1. Welcome: CCJR Chair, Kevin P. Spicer, C.S.C. welcomed those present to the meeting.

  2. Roll Call of Regular Members present (constituting a quorum):
  • Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Center, Catholic Theological Union, Malka Simkovich
  • Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, Xavier University, William Madges
  • Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, Saint Leo University, Matthew Tapie and David Maayan
  • Catholic-Jewish Dialogue, Stonehill College, Kevin P. Spicer
  • Center for Christian-Jewish Learning, Boston College, Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, Ruth Langer
  • Christian Jewish Relations & Encounter, Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, Celia Deutsch, Cecelia Martin
  • Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding, College of the Holy Cross, Thomas Landy
  • Committee on Ethics, Religion, & the Holocaust, USHMM, Rebecca Carter-Chand, Julia Liden
  • Foundation for Judeo-Christian Studies, Seton Hall University, Rachel Slutsky
  • Certificate in Jewish-Christian Studies, Gratz College, Ruth Sandberg
  • Hartford International University for Religion & Peace, Joel Lohr
  • Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations, Saint Joseph’s University, Philip Cunningham, Adam Gregerman
  • Driscoll Professorship in Jewish-Catholic Studies, Iona College, Elena Procario-Foley
  • Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, Bonnie Shafrin
  • Milstein Center for Interreligious Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary, Benjamin Kamine
  • Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, Judith Banki
  1. Elections:

Kevin Spicer conducted the election for the one open position on the CCJR Board of Directors:

Election of Secretary/Treasurer Nomination: Bonnie Shafrin (Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology) 

No other nominations were brought to the floor. Bonnie Shafrin was re-elected to serve a second three-year term (to 2025). 

  1. New Membership Applications:

Kevin Spicer led a discussion concerning one new application for regular membership from Assumption University (a Catholic institute of higher learning in Windsor, Ontario, Canada) from Dr. John Cappucci, Principal/Vice-Chancellor, and Stephen A. Jarislowsky, Chair in Religion and Conflict.

A concern was voiced that Assumption University may not have established a clearly defined center dedicated to interreligious relations/dialogue and whether by granting membership the CCJR was setting a precedent. Elena Procario-Foley observed that the endowed chair at Assumption followed a model like Iona College by which a chaired professor oversaw programming and study opportunities in interreligious relations and dialogue. Other CCJR members supported accepting the application with a note that Assumption University be encouraged to give their program a name and to work toward developing a center with a specific program of study that relates to Christian-Jewish or interreligious relations/dialogue. CCJR would be happy to serve as a mentor/resource.

Assumption University’s application for regular membership was unanimously approved.

  1. CCJR Treasurer’s Report:

CCJR Secretary/Treasurer Bonnie Shafrin presented the 2021-2022 Treasurer’s Report (attached) Bonnie first emphasized that the financial reporting year was from October 1-September 30.

  • The main revenues for CCJR continue to be the membership dues, meeting registration fees, and the royalties generated by the SCJR journal.
  • Bonnie thanked the centers, regular, affiliate, and liaison, for submitting their dues in a timely manner and for their continuing support. A special thanks was extended to those center that contribute above the minimum $300 membership dues.
  • As of September 30, 2022, the bank account shows a $16,000 balance. This large balance is misleading as several expenses will be paid after October 1, 2022.
  • The report was received unanimously. 

The 2022-2023 proposed budget was presented to the membership. The budget was passed unanimously.

  1. Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations (SCJR) Report:

Co-editor Ruth Langer (Boston College) presented a report on the Council's journal, Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations. The Editorial Board met in September and discussed two ideas for the 2023 journal edition:

  • A book forum section that could include pieces by the author and respondents and would generate more interest in the journal relating to increased readership and submissions. Suggested forums could focus on David Kertzer’s The Pope at War (2022) or Charles Gallagher’s Nazis of Copley Square: The Forgotten Story of the Christian Front (2021).
  • A Special Topic focus on the 25th anniversary of the Vatican document “We Remember.”
  • There will be a call for papers and Ruth asked for suggestions on how to get more submissions to the journal. Suggestions included:
    • Speak to scholars and theologians who were involved with the creation of primary documents.
    • Offer to do a book panel or presentation at the AAR (American Academy of Religion) or SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) meetings. It may be more advantageous to schedule a special session separately during these meetings.
  1. International Council of Christians and Jews Report:

Anette Adelmann, ICCJ General Secretary, was a guest at the 2022 CCJR Annual Meeting and reported as follows:

  • ICCJ is a 38-member worldwide organization and serves as an umbrella for Christian-Jewish centers throughout the world with most members in Europe. CCJR and the CCJ-UK are noted as very important networks for the ICCJ.
  • An extraordinary meeting of representatives from the ICCJ membership was held in June 2022 in Frankfurt, Germany. CCJR members Philip Cunningham (Saint Joseph's University) and CCJR Board Member Rebecca Carter-Chand (US Holocaust Memorial Musuem) participated, as did David Maayran (Saint Leo University), recipient of a 2022 Michael SIgner scholarship. 
  • This year several papers that focused on the 1947 Seelisberg Conference were submitted and posted on the ICCJ website. Several CCJR members submitted papers. Amy-Jill Levine (2019 Shevet Achim honoree) was awarded the first annual Seelisberg Prize, honoring her work in Christian-Jewish dialogue. This new award is jointly given by the ICCJ and the University of Salzburg. 
  • The 2024 Conference will be held in Salzburg.
  • Since 2012 the German Evangelical Church has held an annual workshop that is regularly attended by 1-2 ICCJ delegates. Last November’s workshop included Palestinian Christians in this Jewish-Christian event.
  • In 2022, the ICCJ and the CCJR collaborated in hosting on their websites a series of Lenten educational videos prepared by the Christian Scholars Group on Christian-Jewish Relations, entitled "Presenting the Passion ... without blaming 'the Jews.'"
  1. 2023 ICCJ Annual Meeting/CCJR Annual Meeting

Location: Boston College, June 18-21, 2023

The 2023 and twenty-second annual CCJR meeting will be held concurrently with the ICCJ annual meeting. Kevin Spicer invited anyone with ideas for CCJR panels to please contact him.

  1. Future CCJR Meetings:

Kevin Spicer led a discussion about future CCJR meeting sites. The 2024 meeting will be hosted by Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL. Kevin invited centers that may be interested in hosting future meetings to contact Bonnie or him.

  1. Additional Business:

Rebecca Cohen (US Bishops Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs) read a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops statement on Rabbi James Rudin’s bestowal of Knighthood by Pope Francis.

  1. Adjournment 

The Chair adjourned the annual business meeting at 12 noon. 



Session 3: New Voices in Jewish-Christian Relations: A Discussion with and Review of Research by Early Career Scholars (1-2:30 p.m.) 

  • Moderator:  Dr. Ruth Sandberg, CCJR Board Member (Gratz College)
  • Presenters: 
    • Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Zuckier (Research Associate, Institute for Advanced Study); 
    • Rabbi David Maayan (Cohen Visiting Chair, Saint Leo University); 
    • Shannon Quigley (Ph.D candidate, University of Haifa)


Session 4: Jews and Evangelicals: Prophecies, Proselytism, and Advocacy (3-4:15 p.m.) 

This session will look at Evangelicals—both past and present—and their views of Judaism and relations with Jews. Topics to be considered include prophecy, missions to Jews, advocacy (especially about Israel), and current challenges.

  • Moderator: Dr. Rebecca Carter Chand, CCJR Board Member (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)
  • Presenter:  Rev. Dr. John E. Phelan, Jr. (North Park Theological Seminary)


Concluding Remarks 

  • Adam Gregerman, CCJR Vice-Chair (4:15 p.m.)