CCJS Supporting Faculty Scholarship

The CCJS is excited to help two of our faculty members further their abilities in the service of interfaith dialogue and cooperation. Dr. Eugene J. Fisher, the distinguished professor of Catholic-Jewish studies at Saint Leo University, and formerly the specialist in Catholic-Jewish relations at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, will represent the CCJS at the October national conference of the Council of Centers and Jewish-Christian Relations. The conference is gathering at the Jesuits’ Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL, this year, and will be considering such topics as “Pope Francis and the Future of the Dialogue” and “Beyond Intolerance and Hate: Interreligious Relationships in the South.”

A former cirector of the CCJS, Father Michael Cooper, S.J., will be building on the relationship begun in June as he attends a training seminar given by Yahad-In Unum, the organization founded by French priest Father Patrick Desbois to investigate the lost stories of those Jews and Roma mass-murdered in the Eastern European countryside by the Nazis, before the death camps had come into operation. After our initial contact with Father Desbois this summer, the CCJS was invited to attend this seminar, largely directed toward European teachers of history, in order to train teachers how better to examine this awful episode of the 20th century. Returning to France (where he did his doctoral studies), Father Cooper will also use this opportunity to help the CCJS continue to forge ties with Yahad-In Unum.

Marcia and Rabbi A. James Rudin as Visiting Scholars

Marcia and Rabbi James Rudin – himself a co-founder of the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies – spent the first month of the 2014-2015 academic year as visiting scholars in residence at Saint Leo University, after determining that they had an unusually open space in their busy schedules. Both gave guest lectures in a number of classes (Marcia Rudin was formerly a professor of Philosophy) and team-taught a session in Professor Randall Woodard’s course on the Theological, Moral, and Spiritual Aspects of Marriage and Sexuality. Both gave public lectures (linked below) and made themselves available for other activities, including colloquia for both religion majors and faculty, and Rabbi Rudin’s team-teaching Professor Novak’s graduate course on the Hebrew Scriptures for the deacon-candidates of the Diocese of Orlando.

Marcia Rudin’s public lecture, “When Religion Goes Bad: Cultic Spiritual Abuse.”

Rabbi James Rudin’s public lecture, “Building the Bridge: Nostra Aetate, Catholics, and Jews.”

A Dinner for Father Patrick Desbois and Staff of Yahad-In Unum

In June, Professor Novak and a small group of faculty and staff were privileged to host a dinner for Father Patrick Desbois, a French Roman Catholic priest, who was speaking in St. Petersburg at the conference for the Association of Holocaust Organizations, along with two of his American staff. His organization, Yahad-In Unum (Hebrew and Latin for “together” and “in one”) has been instrumental in tracking down the mass graves of Jews and Roma murdered by the Nazis in Eastern Europe, painstakingly interviewing people across the region in hopes of finding eyewitnesses to the murders who can help piece together this hidden history. Along with representing this less-known dimension of the history of the Shoah, this group’s work has come to be valuable for the investigators of contemporary genocide, too, as others come to them to learn their techniques.