American Jewish Committee, Saint Leo University To Honor Military Chaplaincy at Catholic-Jewish Conference

March 1, 2002

March 1, 2002 -  NEW YORK -- The Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, a collaboration of the American Jewish Committee and Saint Leo University, will honor all U.S. military chaplains during the Center’s fifth annual conference.
Lt. Col. V.P. Travis, the chaplain for the U.S. Central Command, based in Tampa, Florida, will accept the citation honoring 200 years of the military chaplaincy. AJC’s national intereligious affairs director, Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff, who recently retired as the highest-ranking Jewish chaplain in the U.S. Navy, will be among those presenting the honor.

The AJC-Saint Leo conference, “Divergence and Convergence in the Jewish-Catholic Encounter,” will take place on March 3 and 4, at Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida.

“The Conference deals with those themes and values that Christians and Jews share, while at the same time fully affirming and celebrating the unique beliefs and traditions of each faith community,” said Rabbi A. James Rudin, AJC’s senior interreligious advisor and a founder of the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Saint Leo University.

“As the only interreligious center south of Baltimore, the AJC-Saint Leo University enterprise takes on increasing importance when viewed against the explosive population growth of Catholics and Jews in southwest Florida,” said Rabbi Rudin, also a former military chaplain.

Keynote speakers include Dr. Mary C. Boys, Skinner and McAlpin Professor of Practical Theology, Union of Theological Seminary, New York; Dr. Sarah Tanzer, professor of theology at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago; Dr. Philip Cunningham, executive director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning and adjunct professor of theology at Boston College; and, Dr. Howard Greenstein, director of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University.

"For more than two centuries, in peace and in war, chaplains of all faiths have provided spiritual leadership for the unique needs of the men and women of America's armed forces,” states the citation honoring U.S. military chaplains. “Compassion, commitment and courage have been hallmarks of our military chaplains who have admirably represented our nation's long tradition of religious liberty and freedom of conscience.”

The Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies was established in 1998 as collaboration between the American Jewish Committee and Saint Leo University. Both organizations are firmly committed to developing mutual respect and understanding between Catholics and Jews. The Center has already become an important intellectual and spiritual resource for both clergy and lay people. Father Michael Cooper is director of the Center.

The American Jewish Committee, founded in 1906, builds bridges of understanding across ethnic, national, racial and religious lines in America and around the world. AJC chapters in Sarasota, Boca Raton and Miami have been involved in the partnership with Saint Leo University.

Chartered in 1889, Saint Leo University is a four-year Catholic, liberal arts based university located just north of Tampa, Florida. Saint Leo became a university on August 24, 1999.

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Contact: Kenneth Bandler (212) 891-6771 PR@ajc.org

        Lisa Fingeret Roth (212) 891-1385 rothl@ajc.org

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