Photo, “Morning in Richmond,” by Richard Fisher, via Flickr.
We open this issue of JIRS with an essay by Rabbi Or Rose of Hebrew College about the need for interreligious education in Rabbinical Schools. In arguing his case, Rose discusses the pedagogic foundations of this work and offers several brief curricular suggestions. In response to Rose’s essay, his co-directors at the Center for Interreligious and Communal Leadership Education (CIRCLE, a joint venture of HC and Andover Newton Theological School), Dr. Jennifer Howe Peace and Celene Ibrahim-Lizzio, offer reflections on related dimensions of interreligious leadership in general, and for the Christian and Muslim communities specifically.
In an effort to extend the conversation about rabbinic education specifically, Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College shares her thoughts on Rose’s piece, anchoring it in her many years of pioneering work implementing such programming at the RRC. Rounding out this forum is a response co-written by Rabbi Yehuda Sarna and Yael Shy about how the pedagogic elements discussed by Rose relate to their experience working on interreligious leadership education with undergraduates at New York University’s Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership.
In crafting this special section, we hope to engender further conversation about the nature of interreligious leadership as it emerges as a distinct vocational path and a subject of scholarly discussion.
This pedagogical dialogue is then followed by work from Mary C. Boys, who revisits questions and themes from her recent scholarship in “Christianity’s Complicity in the Shoah: Continuities and Discontinuities.” Elena Dini brings a voice of praxis from the field in her “Processing Experiences Within an Academic Framework: A Challenge for Interfaith Education,” and Jeannine Hill Fletcher reflects on the intersectionalities of multiplicities of identity in this field in “Constructing Religious Identity in a Cosmopolitan World: The Theo-Politics of Interfaith Work.” Ruben L. F. Habito shares a reflective voice as inter-religious practice in “When Victim Meets Perpetrator: The Question of Atonement and Forgiveness: Buddhist and Christian Reflections.”
In “Between the Heart and the Spring: Nahman of Bratslav, Paul Tillich, and the Theology of Anxiety,” Benjamin Resnick connects mystical reflection with theologies of despair. Michael Shire and Robert W. Pazmiño provide another snapshot of interfaith teaching and learning in their “A Curriculum for Interfaith Study and Teaching.” In “The Mason Jar Mentality: Conservative Protestantism & Interfaith Cooperation in the American South,” Terry Shoemaker, James Marcus Hughes, Farrin Marlow, Megan Maddern, and Emily Potter share their research from documenting interfaith work and pluralism in Kentucky. Finally, Scott Steinkerchner connects the work of Meister Eckhart as applied to the Lotus Sutra in “Meister Eckhart and the Lotus Sutra on Unleashing Skillful Means,” and Justin S. Whitaker examines ethics through a comparative lens in “Reflecting on Meditation’s Ethics: Ignatian ‘Spiritual Exercises’ and Buddhist ‘Mettā-Bhāvanā.’” We are honored to share these perspectives and scholarship with you.