Prominent Christian leaders and scholars from across North America gathered in Tampa, Florida, January 30-February 1, 2015, for the second Christian Leadership Initiative (CLI) Alumni Study Symposium. The Symposium’s theme was "Land and Jewish Identity in Israel and North America."
Participating fellows are alumni of CLI, representing diverse Christian denominations, seminaries, universities, and congregations. Now in its eighth year and co-sponsored by the Shalom Hartman Institute and AJC, CLI introduces prominent Christian leaders and change agents from North America to the central ideas of Jewish ethics and faith, the diverse ideologies and practices of contemporary Jewry, the meaning of Israel for world Jewry, foundations of religious pluralism, and interreligious study.
The intensive, 13-month CLI educational program begins and ends with 10-day seminars at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. During the initial fellowship year, the scholars participate in distance learning to continue their studies of Judaism and modern Israel while working in their home communities.
The Alumni Symposium explored the role of the Land of Israel in the formation of Jewish identity in Israel and North America, and will continue the ongoing CLI discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Symposium aims to better equip CLI alumni to engage more deeply with Jewish communities in Israel and North America and enrich the dialogues around Israeli-Palestinian issues in which CLI alumni engage.
"CLI gathers a unique core group of now 60 Christian scholars and introduces them to classical Jewish text study in the context of modern Israel," said Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC’s Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations. "The Alumni Study Symposium is another step toward realizing our dream of a multi-cohort CLI community that will have an indelible positive impact on Christian-Jewish relations."
"The push and pull of the havruta (peer-study) experience allows us to learn from each other," said Dr. Marcie Lenk, Shalom Hartman Institute Co-Director of New Paths: Christians Engaging Israel, "We each bring our own expertise, but we rely on each other to expand our own thinking."
The CLI Alumni Study Retreat is generously supported by Berkman Family philanthropic funds.
The following CLI alumni attended the symposium:
About AJC: AJC (American Jewish Committee) is the global Jewish advocacy organization, with headquarters in New York, 22 regional offices across the United States, and 10 offices around the world, including one in Jerusalem. Founded in 1906, AJC’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world.