Religious Leaders, Scholars, Professionals to Discuss 'Women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam' on Thursday

“Women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,” a panel discussion by five noted religious leaders, scholars and professionals, will be held Thursday, Oct. 7, on the University of St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus.

Sponsored by the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center of St. Thomas’ College of Arts and Sciences, panelist will include: Rabbi Amy Eilberg, the first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America; Gail Anderson, director of unity and relationships, Minnesota Council of Churches, where she directs interfaith and ecumenical programming; Dr. Fatma Reda, a consulting physician who has spoken widely on Islam and the role of women in Islam; Honaida Al-Mottahar, an American of Yemeni descent and a prolific speaker and expert on matters of faith and cultural matters; Dr. Elaine MacMillan, a speaker on women in Christianity in both Canada and the United States and an adjunct professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas since fall 2008.

This event is free and open to the public. The discussion will be held from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium.

More about the panelists

Rabbi Amy Eilberg
After many years of work in pastoral care, hospice and spiritual direction, Eilberg now directs the Interfaith Conversations Project at the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning. Deeply engaged in peace and reconciliation efforts in connection with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she serves as chair of J Street Minnesota. She is at work on a book on Judaism and Peace-building.

Gail Anderson
With the Muslim American Society, Anderson organizes Taking Heart, a program designed to bring Muslim and Christian neighbors together. She was a 2009 recipient of a Building Bridges Award from the Islamic Resource Group in Minnesota. Her newest program is called Taking Root, a program designed to create interfaith understanding as well as welcome to Minnesota refugees who arrive with no connection to the community. Anderson earned a master’s degree in theology from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. She also has been an award-winning television producer and president of a corporate communications company.

Dr. Fatma Reda
Reda studied medicine at Oxford University and the University of Minnesota medical school (psychiatry, psychopharmacology) and also has a Ph.D. in comparative religious studies from the University of Canterbury (Kent, U.K.). She has been active for decades in interfaith dialogue in the Twin Cities area with both Jewish and Christian organizations. She is also a third-level Mureedah (female seeker) in the Naqshabandi Sufi order.

Honaida Al-Mottahar
Al-Mottahar is an active member of Minnesota faith communities and a strong advocate of interreligious dialogue. She is completing her postgraduate studies with a major in education.

Dr. Elaine MacMillan
MacMillan received the STL (systematic theology) from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada, and her Ph.D. (systematic theology) from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, Canada. She has a longstanding professional interest in issues affecting the lives of women. This interest developed while she was a social worker with a large caseload of impoverished rural women in northern Canada. She brought this background to her theological studies and the courses she has taught. She was a resident scholar at the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research (2008-2009) and completed a “Semester at Sea” in summer 2010 with the University of Virginia.

The panel discussion will be introduced and moderated by Dr. Marisa Kelly, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Co-sponsors are: the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, the Luann Dummer Center for Women at the University of St. Thomas, and the Minnesota Council of Churches.

For more information, contact the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center, (651) 962-5650.