25th Anniversary

Celebrating 25 years of asking unsettling questions and challenging truths

In the beginning … it all looked straightforward. An interfaith coalition of corporate, community, and religious leaders from Baltimore had just hosted 1,200 people for The 9th National Workshop on Christian-Jewish Relations, and their spirits were soaring. Hadn’t they just tackled some of the most vexing issues on the planet? In their collective euphoria, they devised a plan. They would capture the momentum from the Workshop, create a temporary institute to educate local clergy, and then—after three years, mission completed—they would disband.

“We had such grand and lofty and noble intentions,” recalls ICJS Executive Director Christopher Leighton, “but we didn’t thoroughly grasp the complexity of what we were facing. When the mission is as daunting and as ambitious as overcoming a legacy of 2,000 years of misunderstandings, distortions, and hostility, it requires a fair amount of chutzpah to take on a challenge of this magnitude. The kind of naïveté required to say, ‘Well, we’ll change the religious climate in three years,’ even though it took us thousands of years to get into this pickle, is a source of some humor for us.”

Now, 25 years after the 1987 plan was conceived, a strong, vibrant Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies is still educating; still asking the tough, often unanswerable questions; still illuminating the exhilarating, treacherous, necessary path forward.

Speaker Series


ICJS 25th Anniversary Speaker Series

Three acclaimed scholars explored the conflicts that arise in a religiously plural world and how these conflicts demand the attention of Christians, Muslims, and Jews. 

A Muslim Perspective

Presented on Thursday, October 3, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.
Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Rd., Baltimore, MD 21204

Click here to watch Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's lecture,  A Muslim Perspective on Interreligious Dialogue

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
Founder of the Cordoba Initiative and the author of What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America: A New Vision for Muslims and the WestImam Feisal Abdul Rauf has recently published Moving the Mountain: Beyond Ground Zero to a New Vision of Islam in America in which he delivers an open and honest clarion call, inviting readers to a deeper understanding of the role of moderate Muslims in America and in the world, triggering an entirely new conversation about Islam.


A Jewish Perspective

Presented on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
Beth El Congregation, 8101 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore, MD 21208

Click here to watch Rabbi Rosen's lecture,  From Religious Intolerance to Creative Engagement.

Rabbi David Rosen
International Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish
Committee and Director of its Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland


A Christian Perspective

Presented on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
at Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21210

Click here to watch Dr. Gillis' lecture,  A Christian Perspective on Interreligious Dialogue: Regression, Stagnation, Progress.

Chester L. Gillis, Ph.D.
Dean of the College and Professor in the Department of Theology at Georgetown University, Director of the Program on the Church and Interreligious Dialogue in the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University