The Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding (IJCU) of Muhlenberg College will celebrate its 25th anniversary of service on Sunday, Sept. 14, with a free lecture and anniversary reception as well as a festive dinner.
Founded in 1989 under the leadership of Dr. Darrell Jodock, professor of religion at the college, the institute has become well-known in the Lehigh Valley for its prejudice reduction program with local schools, its monthly topical forum series “First Friday,” its regular Day of Dialogue program, and its leadership in working with the Jewish and Christian communities in times of stress and crisis. The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley has been a strong partner of the IJCU from its early days, providing both financial support and programmatic cooperation.
The observance on Sept. 14 will begin at 3 p.m. in the Baker Theatre of Trexler Pavilion with the 30th Annual Wallenberg Tribute lecture. Dr. Ruth Langer of Boston College and Dr. Mary Boys of Union Theological Seminary will jointly present on “Overhearing Our Own Prayers: Jewish and Christian Worship in an Age of Religious Pluralism.” Dr. Langer is an expert on Jewish liturgy and currently chairs the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR) and co-edits the Council’s online journal, Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations. Dr. Boys is academic dean of Union Theological Seminary in New York City and the author of two seminal works in Jewish-Christian relations, “Has God Only One Blessing?” and “Redeeming Our Sacred Story.” She formerly chaired the CCJR and, with Dr. Sara Lee of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles, created the “Educating for Religious Particularity and Pluralism” project.
The Wallenberg tribute lecture will be followed by an anniversary reception at 4:15 p.m. in the Butz Lobby of Trexler Pavilion, which will feature a display of photos and memorabilia from the Institute’s first 25 years. Both events are free and open to the public.
An anniversary dinner will take place beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Great Room of Seegers Union. It will include recognition of the 2014 Jeanette Eichenwald Interfaith Understanding award, Mira Biller ’14; a scene from the play “Face Forward,” that anchors the IJCU’s prejudice reduction conference for high school students; reminiscences of those who were involved in founding the Institute; and a look forward to the Institute’s coming years and plans. Paid reservations at $50 per person are required by Sept. 5 and can be made by contacting the IJCU at 484-664-3470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.