The Saint Leo University Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies has organized an interfaith dialogue event, open to the public, and to be hosted by Congregation Schaarai Zedek, 3303 W. Swann Ave., Tampa, on Thursday, November 4, at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but guests are asked to register and to wear masks.

The gathering is formally known as the center's Eternal Light Award Event, as part of the evening's purpose is to honor an individual who has made substantial contributions to the field of Catholic-Jewish Studies. The award directly reflects the purpose of the center, which is to build bridges of mutual understanding and respect between Catholics and Jews, and among all people of good will. By bringing public attention to the work of individuals who have devoted years of effort to interfaith endeavors, the center promotes respectful, interfaith discussions to a broad audience.

This year's honoree is the University of Toronto's Rabbi Dr. David Novak. The rabbi, now 80, is an American-born scholar who has combined his knowledge of Judaism and Jewish-Christian relations with inquiries into Jewish law, ethics including bioethics, and political theory over several decades. He has focused extensively on beliefs about natural law—the general notion that standards of morality come from human nature and the nature of the world—and its influences upon political thought and individual beliefs.

Novak will deliver a lecture: "Is There a Universal Moral Law? Natural Law in the Catholic and Jewish Traditions."

To explore the topic even further, a second guest speaker, Dr. Vincent Lloyd, will follow Novak's address and the two will share some reflections. Lloyd is an author, theologian, and director of the Africana Studies Program at Villanova University. He has written about natural law from an African-American perspective.

"The Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies (CCJS) is honored to host both Rabbi Novak and Dr. Lloyd, and to celebrate Rabbi's Novak's decades of contributions," said Dr. Matthew Tapie, CCJS director and associate professor of theology at Saint Leo. "These wonderful scholars have profound ethical insights that could help all of us navigate these times of distrust and division in our democracy. That is one of the gifts of interfaith dialogue, and we hope many will join us."

The center has three co-sponsoring organizations that helped to bring the event to Tampa: Congregation Schaari Zedek, the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, and the Tampa Jewish Community Centers & Federation.

To attend, please reserve seats at An option to view the program virtually is also offered on the same site.