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Emerging Religious Leaders Intensive (ERLI)

An interreligious experience for Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious leaders in training

June 4–8, 2023 | Pearlstone Center, Reisterstown MD

Introducing the Emerging Religious Leaders Intensive (ERLI), a week-long residential interreligious experience for Christian, Jewish and Muslim students training for leadership roles that has been a decade in the making.

Since 2013, the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies hosted this one-week residential encounter, first with Jewish rabbinical students and for the first time in 2022, with Muslim emerging leaders. Beginning in 2023, this academic course will be offered to designated Jewish and Muslim theological schools, and Christian seminaries in the U.S. accredited with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).

Previous students have described the intensive as a transformative experience. “My experience in this ERL Muslim/Christian intensive was revelatory,” said Kevin Compton of United Lutheran Seminary. “The information was deep and compelling. The class experiences interacting with Muslim students and people from other Christian denominations was challenging, but always expanding both mentally and spiritually.”

The program equips seminarians, rabbinical students and Muslim leaders-in-training with relationships, skills, and knowledge to build bridges between the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities in the U.S. Preserving the integrity of their own faith commitments to their respective religious tradition, these early-career religious leaders will experience learning about Islam, Judaism, and Christianity directly from peers and faculty who inhabit those traditions. They will be exposed to the diversity, debates, and inner dynamics of  religious communities that are not their own. They will embark on an intellectual and spiritual journey, actively studying each other’s texts and traditions as they dialogue together. 

The 2023 session of ERLI will be held from June 4–8 at the Pearlstone Center, a retreat and conference facility on 180 acres of picturesque grounds in Reisterstown, MD, about 25 miles northeast of Baltimore.

How to Participate

ICJS has identified partner institutions who will select students to attend. Please contact ICJS at for more information or to inquire if your school can participate. 


Program Directors

Benjamin E. Sax, Ph.D.

ICJS Jewish Scholar 

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Zeyneb SayilganZeyneb Sayilgan, Ph.D.

ICJS Muslim Scholar

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Matthew D. Taylor, Ph.D.

ICJS Protestant Scholar

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What is ERLI?

Participants and leaders from ERLI 2022 describe the experience

ERLI 2022: A Groundbreaking Experience for Muslim & Christian Emerging Religious Leaders

Over five days of mutual learning, challenging discussion, and blossoming friendships, a group of more than two dozen emerging Muslim and Christian religious leaders gathered in early June 2022 for the Emerging Religious Leaders course, the first time the intensive encounter in interreligious dialogue included Muslim students. The program was structured to encourage honest, open, and at times, difficult conversations between Muslim and Christian students.


ERL goes out of its way to foster an environment that tackles very real differences between faiths in meaningful ways with a gaze towards actionable change in our faith communities.

Naseer Muhammad

Tayseer Seminary

Emerging Religious Leaders Course 2013–2019

From 2013 through 2019, ICJS hosted the Emerging Religious Leaders Course for Jewish and Christian students.