U.S. Christian Leaders in Israel to Begin Yearlong Study of Judaism

July 18, 2012 – Jerusalem – Prominent American Christian leaders are currently in Israel for the first stage of the Christian Leadership Initiative (CLI), an intensive 13-month educational program on Judaism, co-sponsored by AJC and the Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI).

"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 ten 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 text study 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

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, California

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>

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

Date: 7/18/2012 12:00:00 AM