Edlavitch DCJCC

Religious Diversity & Human Dignity

Sunday, February 12, 2017
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Edlavitch DCJCC
1529 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

Religious Diversity & Human Dignity: The Possibilities and Challenges of Interreligious Engagement

We live in one of the most religiously diverse societies in the history of humankind. Everyday people with different beliefs and practices encounter one another in supermarkets, soccer fields, classrooms, and around family tables. How do we create an ethos of respectful engagement and mutual enrichment, acknowledging both our similarities and differences? What are the values that support such an effort? What are some practical ways to actualize our best intentions? Join our team of scholar-practitioners from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions as we explore these and other vital questions relating to the intersection of personal identity, communal formation, and civic life.


1:30-2:00 pm: Doors Open and Registration
2:00-2:05 pm: Welcome and Introduction
2:05-3:05 pm: Session I: Jewish Theology & Interreligious Engagement with Rabbi Or Rose
3:05-3:15 pm: Break
3:15-4:15 pm: Session II: Interreligious Dilemmas: A Case Studies Approach with Dr. Heather Miller Rubens, Rabbi Or Rose and Dr. Homayra Ziad
4:15-5:00 pm: Session III: Sustaining Our Efforts: Personal Practices for Renewed Interreligious Engagement with Dr. Heather Miller Rubens, Rabbi Or Rose and Dr. Homayra Ziad 

Session I: Jewish Theology & Interreligious Engagement (Rabbi Or Rose)

In this session we will explore various Jewish sources—ancient and modern—that might serve as a textual foundation for interreligious engagement. How do we understand such classical Jewish theological categories as “revelation” or “chosenness” in the context of discussions of religious diversity and human dignity? How have other Jewish thinkers and leaders addressed these issues across the generations?

Session II: Interreligious Dilemmas: A Case Studies Approach (Dr. Heather Miller Rubens, Rabbi Or Rose, Dr. Homayra Ziad)

Over the last decade, the Pluralism Project at Harvard University has pioneered the use of case studies to explore the subject of religion and public life. In this session, our panelists will share brief cases from their work and other related contexts, inviting participants to explore with them these thorny situations and possible solutions. In unpacking these dilemmas, we will seek to understand the values and ideals that inform our decision-making processes. 

Session III: Sustaining Our Efforts: Personal Practices for Renewed Interreligious Engagement (Dr. Heather Miller Rubens, Rabbi Or Rose, Dr. Homayra Ziad)

In this closing session, our facilitators will share some of the practices that they use to sustain and renew their bridge-building efforts. This will include chant, meditation, study, and creative writing. In exploring these techniques, we will learn about the similarities and differences in the spiritual paths of each of the presenters, and how this informs their daily work in their shared fields of education and activism. 

General Admission: $18
Student Admission: $10
Cost should not be a barrier for participation in this program. Please be in touch if the cost of this program would prevent your attendance. 



Rabbi Or Rose is the Director of the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership at Hebrew College in Boston, MA. A graduate of Yeshiva University (BA), he also studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as a visiting graduate student, and is completing a doctorate in Jewish Thought at Brandeis University. Rabbi Rose is co-editor of the award-winning anthology, My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation. With Dr. Homayra Ziad and Rev. Soren Hessler, he is currently editing From Text to Life: Religious Resoures for Interreligious Engagement (both by Orbis Books).


Heather Miller Rubens is the Executive Director and Roman Catholic Scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies. Dr. Rubens holds degrees from Georgetown University (B.A.), the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (G.Dip.), and the University of Chicago (A.M. and Ph.D.). In her research she explores how religious minority communities navigate their political, legal, and cultural space in light of the experience of other minority communities. Dr. Rubens is a member of the Committee on Ethics, Religion and the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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Dr. Homayra Ziad is the Scholar of Islam at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies (ICJS) in Baltimore, and formerly Assistant Professor of Religion at Trinity College. She received her Ph.D in Islamic Studies at Yale. At ICJS, she and her colleagues work with diverse groups of change-makers: clergy, scholars, entrepreneurs, high school educators, and community activists. Dr. Ziad is co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Group. Her academic research has focused on Islamic spiritual traditions, religion and the arts, humor, and ideas of vocation. She has been published in both academic and popular venues, and her writing and opinions have appeared in The Huffington Post, WYPR, the Baltimore Sun, AltMuslimah, and other venues. Dr. Ziad is also on the board of the ACLU of Maryland. 

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