April 3, 2023 | 12 Nisan 5783
Spring Possibilities: Celebrating Pluralism
By Rabbi Or Rose, Founding Director of the Miller Center
It is no accident that many of the world’s religions have long-established spring holidays and holy seasons. This is a time of transition when creation itself seems to call to us to emerge from our winter hibernations and engage life anew. As the ancient author of the Song of Songs (traditionally chanted during Passover) writes, “See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the singing season has come—the doves’ cooing is heard in our land” (2:11-12). This year not only will Passover and Easter be celebrated within days of each other, but they will also overlap with Ramadan.
This instance of calendrical alignment offers us the opportunity to reflect on the urgent need for the development of an ethos of pluralism. By pluralism, I mean a philosophical or theological worldview in which we hold the realities of our particularity and our universality, honoring both dimensions of our identities. Jews, Christians, and Muslims are different and similar. For example, we each celebrate different holidays this spring, and at the same time we all do so in relationship with the earth and the seasons of the year. Further, each community needs to apply the best of its spiritual and ethical teachings to the grand project of healing our interconnected and interdependent planet. Taking a cue from our natural habitat, let us recommit ourselves this spring to proudly embodying our distinct sacred traditions and engaging with others in enhancing life as a whole.
Ramadan Reflections: Celene Ibrahim
By Celene Ibrahim, Scholar of Religious Studies & Member of the Miller Center Advisory Council
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is believed to be the month in which the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
From the window-seat of the plane, I have a stunning view of the pinkened sky as the sun dips into the horizon, ushering out the month of Sha’ban and giving way to the first blessed night of Ramadan. Next to me, I later learn, dozes a technician who travels the world from the Philippines to St. Lucius ensuring that “retorts” for humans and pets are in proper working condition...
Beacons of Hope: Our Interreligious S/Heroes
By Rev. Tom Reid, Associate Director of the Miller Center
Every month, we honor an individual (or group) who inspires the bridge-building efforts of the Miller Center. Each honoree uniquely embodies the values of inclusivity, justice, and compassion. Rev. Vernon K. Walker, a Boston-based environmental justice activist, is our Beacon of Hope for the month of April.
Rev. Walker first came across my radar screen through his work with Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW), where he is currently serving as Program Director. Since then, I have seen this tireless activist and educator pop up here, there and everywhere: on TV, at the JFK Presidential Library, and in parlor meetings on climate awareness and action. Rev. Walker was also a valuable member of the 2021-2022 Boston Bridges Fellowship cohort for emerging religious and cultural leaders. He is currently a student in the Master of Public Policy program at Tufts University.
Thank you, Rev. Walker, for your steadfast efforts in support of those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and to helping us all develop the habits of head, heart, and hands to live more conscious and sustainable lives. The world needs your leadership now more than ever.
“Preparing Our Hearts for Passover & Easter” — Sixth Annual Event
Thank you to all who were able to join us for the sixth annual “Preparing our Hearts for Passover and Easter” event on March 24th at Temple Zion in Brookline, MA. The morning was filled with song, study, and conversation, as we explored our theological, ritual, and vocational commonalities and differences.
The special event was co-sponsored by Hebrew College, Harvard Divinity School, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Boston University School of Theology, and the Boston Theological Interreligious Consortium (BTI).
Miller Center to Co-Host International Interreligious Conference
The Miller Center is honored to co-host with Boston College the annual conference of the International Council of Christians and Jews, June 18-21, 2023. This year’s theme is “Negotiating Multiple Identities: Implications for Interreligious Relations.” During the convening, we will engage in learning and fellowship with approximately 150 participants from around the world. We look forward to welcoming conference participants to our new communal campus in Newton, MA and to the city of Boston.
Members of the Miller Center staff and Hebrew College community are involved in all aspects of the planning and implementation of this unique international gathering. Rabbi Or Rose, Founding Director of the Miller Center, is the co-chair of the conference along with Dr. Daniel Josyln-Siemiatkoski, Director of Boston College’s Center for Christian-Jewish Learning.
Speakers and teachers include:
- Dr. Andrew Davis, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry
Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond, Bethel A.M.E Church, Boston
- Rabbi David Jaffe, Kirva Institute
- Dr. G. Sujin Pak, Boston University School of Theology
Elinor Pierce, The Pluralism Project, Harvard University
- Dr. Judith Rosenbaum, Jewish Women’s Archive
- Dr. Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University
Rev. Dr. Shively Smith, Boston University School of Theology
To learn more about how you can participate in this exciting event, please click here.
Embodied Kabbalah: Jewish Mysticism for All People with Rabbi Matthew Ponak
Experience the transformative teachings of Jewish mysticism in Rabbi Ponak's class "Embodied Kabbalah: Jewish Mysticism for All People," based on his new book which draws from nearly 1000 years of Jewish spiritual sources. Delve into kabbalistic, Hasidic, and body-based approaches that articulate the balance between spiritual depth and everyday living.
When? 4/19, 4/26, 5/3, 5/10, 5/17, 5/24, 5/31, 6/7, (Eight Wednesdays) from 8:15-9:45 p.m. EST
Where? Online via Zoom.
Learn more & register
Abraham Joshua Heschel: Spirituality & Social Justice with Rabbi Or Rose
When? 4/20, 4/27, 5/4, 5/11 & 5/18 (Five Thursdays) from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. EST
Where? Hybrid. Hebrew College in person with Zoom option.
Learn more & register
Lag B’Omer Community Education Online Event with Rabbi Natan Margalit
Disagreements with All Due Respect: Lessons found in Nature and the Talmud
When? 5/9 | 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Where? Online via Zoom
Learn more & register
International Council of Christians and Jews (Boston, 2023)
“Negotiating Multiple Identities: Implications for Interreligious Relations”
When? June 18 to 21, 2023
Where? Hebrew College, Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground at Boston University, Simmons College, & Boston College
Learn more & register
About the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center of Hebrew College
The Miller Center was established in 2016 in honor of Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller (of blessed memory), MAJS’05. Our mission is to provide current and future religious and ethical leaders with the knowledge and skills to serve in a religiously diverse society.
Please consider supporting this important work with a financial gift. Thank you!
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