PREAMBLE

 

The year 1995 was the fiftieth anniversary of the liberation of Europe and the public revelation of the horrors of the death and concentration camps.  The same year marked the thirtieth anniversary of Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate.  That document was the first doctrinally binding pronouncement in the Roman Catholic Church’s two millennia  to accept Judaism and the persistence of the Jewish people to the present. It “recalls the spiritual bond linking the people of the New Covenant with Abraham’s stock . . . [and] deplores the hatred, persecutions, and displays of Antisemitism directed against the Jews at any time and from any source.” Accordingly, “this sacred Synod wishes to foster and recommend that mutual understanding which is the fruit above all of biblical and theological studies, and of brotherly dialogues.”  Since 1965, many good things have occurred including the Guidelines of 1974 and 1985 for implementing Nostra Aetate, which extend it both in letter and in spirit, the meeting of Pope John Paul II and Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff in the central synagogue of Rome in 1986, the pope’s visit to Auschwitz; the inauguration of Vatican-Israel diplomatic relations, the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, "Notes on the Correct Way to Present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church," issued in July 1985, and 1998’s “We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah.”  Pope John Paul II’s elocution before the congregation and Rabbi Toaff expressed the bond between the Church and Judaism: “The Jewish religion is not ‘extrinsic’ to us, but in a certain way is ‘intrinsic’ to our own religion.  With Judaism, therefore, we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers, and in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.” Since then the Vatican has vigorously condemned anti-Semitism as a sin against God and humanity, and has called upon the Church to repent of the anti-Semitism found in past Catholic thought and conduct. 

 

 Center's Mission

 

    

     The Center’s mission is to promote Jewish-Catholic-Muslim “discussion and collaboration” as urged in 1965 by the Vatican’s Nostra Aetate (In Our Time) and seconded in subsequent Papal actions and declarations. “Since Christians and Jews have such a common spiritual heritage, this sacred Council wishes to encourage and further mutual understanding and appreciation.” Nostra Aetate also states that the Church “regards with esteem also the Muslim,” and it urges all “to work sincerely for mutual understanding.”

 

    As befits Manhattan College, an institution of higher education, the Center’s principal sphere is education. Founded in 1996 as the Holocaust Resource Center, the Center expanded its Mission in 2011 and was renamed the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center. This reflects the spirit of the Center’s Mission and the vision that all the foci are interconnected and are part of the educational outreach of the Center. The Center is committed to understanding and respecting differences and similarities between people of all religions, races, ethnicities and nationalities.

 

     The Center educates people about the Holocaust, which is essential to current and future generations, in order to combat prejudice, genocidal ideologies, apathy and Holocaust denial. To this end, the Center remains committed to the lessons of the Holocaust, which are essential to educating current and future generations in order to combat prejudice, genocidal ideologies, apathy, and Holocaust denial. To this end, the Center is committed to educating people about the Holocaust and genocide while exphasizing the contemporary significance of these events. The primary audiences are the College community, the local region and teachers but the Center also seeks to affect a broader arena. Through education about human suffering in the absence of tolerance, the Center aims to foster acceptance and understanding among religions, cultures, and communities.

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"My Dear Boy” Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)

Joanie Holzer Schirm is a retired CEO who, in many ways, represents the new face of retirement. She’s still learning, still growing, still active in her community, and still working. Only these days, Joanie is working on a passion project and winning awards like the Global Ebook Award for Best Biography and Book Trailer (for her first book, Adventurers Against Their Will). At the heart of her book series, including My Dear Boy, which was named a finalist in a Book of the Year contest, is a collection of WWII letters, documents, and objects that serve as witnesses to history. Known as the Holzer Collection for which Joanie serves as an archivist, the secret treasure trove preserved by her father, Dr. Oswald Holzer, tells a refugee story with powerful relevance for today. Classrooms across America and Europe feature lesson plans that accompany her books. Public exhibitions have highlighted Holzer Collection objects in Orlando, Frankfurt, and Prague. “My father gave me a lot throughout my life, but this unexpected gift is the most important—the gift of memory—the gift that became his legacy. His story empowered me to become a driving force for change – changing the world to appreciate the richness we gain from our diversity and to understand the perils of remaining silent when our neighbors are in trouble. From a place of profound sadness to a sanctuary of bright hope, I’ve learned that if we understand the past, it can guide us forward to a better world.” Please register and join us via zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZclcOiqqTgrHtGwzTBcsL16gbfGtvhP4LwG

Opening the Qur’an: Exploring Muslim Devotional Life

The first seven lines of the Qur’an, known as al-Fatiha, are possibly the most frequently recited verses of the Qur’an. This talk explores the importance of these lines in the lives of Muslims, incorporating calligraphy, theology, music, and theology. Prophet Muhammad said that all of the knowledge of the Qur’an is found in these verses. The ways in which Muslims have explored the depths of al-Fatiha allows us to have a glimpse at the breadth of Muslim devotional life. 

Hussein Rashid, PhD is a freelance academic, currently affiliated with several universities in New York City. He is a scholar of religion, focusing on Muslims and US popular culture. He is also the founder of islamicate, L3C, a consultancy focusing on religious literacy and cultural competency. He co-edited a book on Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel called Ms. Marvel’s America. He is currently co-editing a volume on Islam and Popular Culture, and another volume on Islam in North America. He is also co-authoring a cultural history of Muslims in America. His current projects include an independent film, a documentary, and a museum project on religion and jazz. He worked with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan as a content expert on their exhibit “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far.” You can find out more at http://www.husseinrashid.com

Please register and join us via zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAqceGtrjooEtezb56W-_LCfS1nqqYuSfb6

A Conversation: White Nationalism, Antisemitism, and Racism

A conversation with Claudia Setzer, Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies, and Eric Ward, Executive Director of Western States Center about White Nationalism, Antisemitism, and Racism.

Please register for the event and join us via zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYrc-uqqDkrEtxA4ghg5zx2WqCg3c0RJGik

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