Jewish, Muslim Interfaith Activists From Jerusalem to Speak Here Oct. 1

Rabbi Ron Kronish and Kadi (a Muslim judge) Iyad Zahalka, prominent interreligious dialogue activists from Jerusalem, will speak Oct. 1 and 2 in three St. Paul venues: the University of St. Thomas, Hamline University and Mount Zion Temple.

The principal sponsor for the programs, which are free and open to the public, is the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, a joint enterprise of St. Thomas and St. John’s University, Collegeville.

The program at St. Thomas, “Muslims and Jews Seeking Peace in Jerusalem,” will be at noon Tuesday, Oct. 1, in Woulfe Alumni Hall on the third floor of Anderson Student Center. Coffee, tea, soft drinks and cookies will be provided compliments of the Jay Phillips Center; guests are welcome to bring their own lunch.

The Dispute Resolution Institute at Hamline University School of Law and the Conflict Studies Program at Hamline University join the Jay Phillips Center in sponsoring “The Other Peace Process: Interreligious Dialogue in the Service of Peace” at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, in Hamline’s Anderson Center, Room 305-06.

The third program, “Building a Bridge Over Shifting Sands: Muslims and Jews Seeking Peace in Jerusalem” will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, at Mount Zion Temple, 1300 Summit Ave. Mount Zion Temple is the main co-sponsor for this event.

Kronish is the founding director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel, which he has represented at the Vatican and at many international conferences. A noted author and lecturer living in Jerusalem, he holds a doctorate in education from Harvard University. He is frequently consulted by media representatives for background information on interfaith relations in Israel.

Zahalka is head of the Sharia Court in Jerusalem. An accomplished judge and lecturer, he earned his master of arts summa cum laude from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he is now completing his Ph.D. thesis on the Muslim minority jurisprudence doctrine.

Kronish and Zahalka will discuss how they and other Jewish and Muslim religious leaders work together to create relationships between their peoples, how interreligious dialogue helps in that process, and how all people can harness the positive power of religion for making peace.

The programs have been coordinated by Rabbi Amy Eilberg, the Jay Phillips Center’s special consultant for interfaith conversations, who will introduce Kronish and Zahalka. According to John Merkle, the center’s director, “Rabbi Eilberg is the ideal person to facilitate these events because she, herself, is a leading expert and activist in interfaith dialogue and peacemaking.”

According to Eilberg, “Rabbi Kronish and Kadi Zahalka are among the most active and effective interreligious peacemakers in their war-torn area, demonstrating – counter to popular belief – what a powerful role religions and religious leaders can play in the pursuit of peace.”

Other co-sponsors for these programs are: Adath Jeshurun Congregation, Beth Jacob Congregation, Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Minnesota, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Bruce Goodman, Islamic Center of Minnesota, Jewish Community Center of Greater St. Paul, Rabbi Michael Latz of Shir Tikvah Congregation, Macalester Plymouth United Church Peacemakers, Minnesota Rabbinical Association, Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center at the University of St. Thomas, Muslim Student Association at Hamline University, Pilgrims for Just Peace of Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Reconciliation Studies Program at Bethel University, SPIN (St. Paul Interfaith Network), St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, Temple Israel (Minneapolis), Wesley Center at Hamline University and United Theological Seminary.