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US Christian Leaders in Israel to Begin Yearlong Study of Judaism

American Jewish Committee and Hartman Institute brings group to Israel to study Judaism

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) and Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI), co-sponsors of the 13-month Christian Leadership Initiative (CLI), last week welcomed a cohort of prominent American Christian leaders to the Shalom Hartman Institute in Israel for an opportunity to gain a more profound understanding of Judaism and the Jewish people. The Israel portion of the Christian Leadership Initiative, developed together by SHI and AJC and taught by leading Shalom Hartman faculty, focuses on the central ideas of Jewish ethics and faith, the diverse ideologies and practices of contemporary world Jewry, and the foundations of religious pluralism.
“CLI is an essential and unique program advancing interreligious relations,” said Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC’s director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations. “It provides an open space for Christian leadership to experience and study Judaism and Israel from a Jewish perspective.”
The 16 American Christian leaders currently participating in CLI have begun their studies in Israel on this summer’s theme, “God and Judaism.” After returning to the U.S. next week they will engage in monthly distance-learning sessions, studying classical Jewish texts with leading Israeli scholars. Finally, back in Israel in July 2013 for the concluding segment, they will spend an additional 10 days with Hartman Institute and AJC experts studying Jewish texts, focusing on Jewish concepts of community.
"Together AJC and the Hartman Institute have the unique capacity to reach and teach a wide spectrum of Christian leaders. Most Christian leaders rarely if ever have the opportunity to engage in sustained, intensive sacred text study taught by Jewish scholars with the goal of deepening their understanding of the Jewish people and the State of Israel," said Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, vice president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and director of Rabbinic Leadership Programs.
With generous support from the Allen H. & Selma W. Berkman Charitable Trust, CLI, a partnership of SHI and AJC, has been training top leadership of Christian seminaries, denominations and theological schools since 2008.
The CLI fellows in the 2012-2013 cohort are:  
  • Dr. Paul Alexander, Professor of Christian Ethics and Public Policy, Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Rev. Dr. Thomas A. Baima, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Professor of Systematic Theology, University of St. Mary of the Lakes/Mundelein Seminary, Mundelein, IL.
  • Rev. Dr. Radu Bordeianu, Associate Professor, Department of Theology, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Rev. Bill Borror, Senior Pastor, Media Presbyterian Church, Media, PA.
  • Dr. Lynn Cohick, Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.
  • Rev. Dr. Lincoln Galloway, K. Morgan Edwards Associate Professor of Homiletics, Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA.
  • Rev. Dr. David P. Gushee, Professor of Christian Ethics, McAfee School of Theology, and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life, Mercer University, Atlanta, GA.
  • Dr. Angela Kim Harkins, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies and Center for Judaic Studies, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT.
  • Dr. Robert A. Hunt, Director of Global Theological Education and Professor of Christian Mission and Interreligous Relations, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX.
  • Rev. Dr. Hak Joon Lee, Professor of Theology and Ethics, Fuller Theological School, Pasadena, CA.
  • The Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, Ph.D., Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church; Executive Director, The Middle Project, Inc., New York, NY.
  • Rev. Dr. Molly T. Marshall, President and Professor of Theology and Spiritual Formation,  Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Shawnee, KS.
  • Rev. Dr. Gregory Mobley, Professor of Christian Bible, Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Centre, MA.
  • Rev. Dr. Martha Moore-Keish, Associate Professor of Theology, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA.
  • Rev. Dr. Robert Nash, Associate Dean for Doctor of Ministry Studies and Professor of Missions and World Religions, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University, Atlanta, GA.
  • Dr. Michael R. Trice, Assistant Dean for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue and Assistant Professor of Practical Theology, Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, Seattle, WA.

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