AJC, Shalom Hartman Institute Host Christian Scholars Retreat

February 6, 2013 – Los Angeles – Prominent Christian scholars from diverse seminaries, universities, denominations, and congregations across North America are gathering in Los Angeles, February 8-10, for the inaugural Christian Leadership Initiative (CLI) Alumni Study Retreat. The event is sponsored by American Jewish Committee (AJC) and Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI), which together host the annual CLI program.

“CLI gathers a unique core group of Christian scholars and introduces them to classical Jewish text study in the context of modern Israel,” said Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC’s director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations. “The Alumni Study Retreat is another step toward realizing our dream of a multi-cohort CLI community that will have an indelible positive impact on Christian-Jewish relations.”

“The unique nature of CLI and its success have already begun changing the tenor of the conversation among Christian and Jewish scholars,” explains Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit Halachmi, Shalom Hartman Institute director of CLI. "It is a profound and new model of what religious thought-leadership can achieve. The enthusiasm of CLI alumni and participants and their involvement in every aspect of the Retreat is indicative of the impact that the AJC-Hartman program is having. Many CLI alumni have already integrated CLI teachings and study program methodologies into their work in universities and seminaries. The trust realized through our joint learning now enables us to engage with the challenges of the Israeli and Palestinian future. This will in turn ultimately impact positively on discussions about Israel throughout the Christian community."

CLI, now in its sixth year, is an intensive 13-month educational program beginning and ending with 10-day seminars at SHI in Jerusalem. Monthly distance learning enables participants to continue their studies while working in their home communities. The Alumni Study Retreat will focus on joint Jewish-Christian learning about the Holy Land, building on CLI foundational immersion in the themes of God, ethics, and community in Judaism. During the retreat, SHI scholars will introduce New Paths: Christians Engaging Israel, an innovative curriculum on Israel, which invites North American Christians to experience a sustained engagement with Israel in its contemporary reality and its complex challenges.

The CLI Alumni Study Retreat is generously supported by the Allen H. and Selma W. Berkman Charitable Trust and the Levine Institute for Building Interethnic and Interreligious Partnerships.

Participating alumni–28 of the 41 CLI participants will be attending-- include seminary presidents, deans, professors, denominational officers and pastors:

Dr. Paul Alexander, Palmer Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Thomas Baima, Dean, Graduate School of Theology, University of St. Mary of the Lake Mundelein Seminary
Rev. Dr. Radu Bordeianu, Duquesne University
Rev. Dr. William Borror, Senior Pastor, Media Presbyterian Church
Dr. James Buchanan, Director, Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, Xavier University
Rev. Dr. James Butler, Fuller Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Cynthia Campbell, Past President, McCormick Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Jerry D. Campbell, President, Claremont School of Theology
Rev. Dr. Robert Cathey, McCormick Theological Seminary
Dr. Lynn Cohick, Wheaton College
Rev. Dr. R. Alan Culpepper, Dean, McAfee School of Theology
Rev. Dr. John Deckenback, Conference Minister, United Church of Christ
Rev. Dr. Lincoln Galloway, Claremont School of Theology
Dr. Angela Kim Harkins, Fairfield University
Rev. Dr. J. Frederick Holper, McCormick Theological Seminary
Dr. Robert Hunt, Director, Global Theological Education, Perkins School of Theology
Dr. Tony Kireopoulos, Associate General Secretary, National Council of Churches
Rev. Dr. Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook, Claremont School of Theology
Rev. Dr. Hak Joon Lee, Fuller Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Lewis, Senior Pastor, Middle Collegiate Church
Dr. William Madges, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, St. Joseph's University
Rev. Dr. Molly Marshall, President, Central Baptist Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Esther Menn, Lutheran School of Theology
Rev. Dr. Robert N. Nash, Jr., Associate Dean, Doctor of Ministry Program, McAfee School of Theology
Dr. Elena Procario-Foley, Iona College
Dr. Love Sechrest, Fuller Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Siker, Loyola Marymount University
Dr. Michael Trice, Assistant Dean, Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue, Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry

For more information and to arrange interviews with program leaders and participants, contact:
Hartman Institute, www.hartman.org.il
Laura Gilinski, Chief Development and Public Relations Officer

AJC
Kenneth Bandler, Director of Media Relations