Rabbi Norman Cohen, senior rabbi of Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka, will present the lecture “Jews and Christians: Rejecting Stereotypes, Forging New Relationships” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, in Woulfe Alumni Hall in the Anderson Student Center on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.
The lecture, sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, is free and open to the public. The center is a joint enterprise of St. Thomas and St. John’s University, Collegeville.
Susan Stabile, professor of law and faculty fellow for spiritual life at St. Thomas, will present a formal response to Cohen’s lecture.
“Relationships between Jews and Christians have improved significantly in recent decades,” Cohen said, “but too few Jews and Christians have engaged in serious study and dialogue about each other’s tradition.
“The time has come to move into theological and substantive learning, but standing in the way are the stereotypes and misconceptions that each community harbors about the other’s beliefs and practices.”
In his lecture, Cohen will suggest what to do about these stereotypes and misconceptions and how to promote better understanding between Jews and Christians about each other’s religion.
Cohen’s engagement in interfaith learning with Christians goes back to his college years at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass., where he graduated with honors in 1972. He earned his master’s degree from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati in 1975 and was awarded an honorary doctorate of divinity there in 2001.
Cohen returns to Holy Cross College every year to serve as chaplain and advisor to Jewish students and faculty and he also visits Hebrew Union College as a teacher in practical rabbinics.
The author of numerous published articles and the book Jewish Bible Personages in the New Testament, Cohen has been an adjunct faculty member at several colleges and universities, including St. Catherine University and St. Olaf College, and also at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.
Stabile earned a B.A. at Georgetown University and a J.D. at New York University School of Law. Among her many publications on both legal and spiritual topics is her book Growing in Love and Wisdom: Tibetan Buddhist Sources for Christian Meditation.