Thering Fund celebrates Jewish-Catholic relations

As part of Seton Hall’s year-long celebration of Building Bridges: 60 Years of Jewish-Christian Dialogue, the Sister Rose Thering Fund held its annual Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf lecture on Sunday featuring opinions on Nostra Aetate and its effects on Jewish-Catholic relations.

Keynote lecturers included Dr. Michael Berenbaum, former director of the United States Holocaust Research Institute and the Rev. John Pawlikowski, author and editor of more than 15 books and professor of social ethics at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where he is director of its Jewish-Catholic Studies Program.

David Bossman, executive director of the SRTF, expressed his gratitude to the lecturers.

“We are especially delighted to bring two great minds, two great achievers together today to speak from very distinctive points of view in Judaism and Christianity,” Bossman said.

Berenbaum touched on Catholic-Jewish relations and building a beneficial relationship between Jews and Muslims. He spoke of a transitional time for the church and the necessity of expanding Jewish-Christian dialogue for future generations in an effort to keep the youth informed on matters such as the Holocaust.

“We are the last generation to live in the presence of survivors,” Berenbaum said. “If you can come 60 years after the Holocaust, then there are astounding things the human spirit can achieve.”

Berenbaum said he prides Seton Hall on its’ dedication to Judeo-Christian studies, citing the university’s efforts as being some of the most important and some of the holiest work that can be done.

Pawlikowski also commented on Jewish-Christian relations regarding Muslims, and spoke of the discourse between Jews and Muslims.

“The University has decided to use Nostra Aetate as a framework for the core curriculum, and I don’t know of any other university that has made that kind of commitment,” Pawlikowski said. “I certainly regard Seton Hall as sacred ground in terms of the history of Catholic-Jewish relations.”

Robbins-Wilf, for whom the lecture is named as a result of her personal endowment, gathered insight from the lecturers.

“The event was more than I expected,” Robbins-Wilf said. “I love what Berenbaum was talking about, the past relationship between the Muslims and the Jews and how productive it was. I think that there will be a new thrust and possibly something will come out of the Muslims, Jews and Christians.”

The Sister Rose Thering Fund will continue with a series of events this year as part of the Building Bridges initiative.

For more information on the SRTF and its programming, visit

Matthew Fantau can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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