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Past Events and Courses

ICJS presents regular public programs online featuring authors, scholars, teachers, activists, or congregational leaders. Today these recordings form a rich library of resources to increase your religious literacy and understanding.

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Advocating for democracy: a Jewish grassroots approach

Sept. 14, 2022

Faith-based organizations have a long history of involvement and achievement in grassroots community organizing. From the historic struggle for civil rights in the U.S. to present-day efforts to work toward racial equity, fair housing and clean elections, religious voices have been at the forefront. Laura Wallace, Maryland Organizing Director for Jews United for Justice, discussed how Jewish values inform their work promoting democracy and striving for social and economic equity.

On Being Muslim

June 8, 2022

Islam is a religion that nourishes body, heart, mind and soul. The word Islam literally means peace, surrender and submission. A Muslim is one who has made a conscious decision to freely surrender and submit to the one and only God, the creator of every thing and every being. In this online event, ICJS Muslim Scholar Zeyneb Sayilgan explained how Muslims try to embody these ideals in everyday life.


Muslim Prayer in America: Its Meaning and Practice

May 4-May 18, 2022

Salat, the ritual prayer performed by Muslims five times each day, is the centerpiece of Islamic spiritual practice. What is the significance of prayer in the daily life of Muslims? How does it encapsulate the whole of Islamic tradition? What is its content, structure, and meaning? ICJS Muslim Scholar Zeyneb Sayilgan, Ph.D., led an exploration of these questions through the study of Islamic texts: the Qur’an and Hadith.

Martin Buber: A Life of Faith and Dissent — A Conversation with Biographer Paul Mendes-Flohr

April 26, 2022

Following up on his recent course, ICJS Jewish Scholar Benjamin Sax led a conversation with Paul Mendes-Flohr, his friend and mentor, on his seminal biography, Martin Buber: A Life of Faith and Dissent.

Martin Buber and the Life of Dialogue

February 28-April 4, 2022

Martin Buber is one the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. This course explored his notion of dialogue as expressed in his corpus of writing, ranging from comparative mysticism to biblical commentary, existentialism to poetry, philosophy to cultural Zionism, and psychology to diplomacy. 

An Interreligious Listening Session: In partnership with the Catholic Synod

March 31, 2022

As part of the process to prepare for the Roman Catholic Church’s 2023 Synod in Rome, the Archdiocese of Baltimore invited ICJS to offer insights on interreligious dialogue and our efforts to help build an interreligious society. As one of the few non-Catholic organizations invited to participate in this global listening project, ICJS was proud to host an online listening session for our learning community to share their experiences in interreligious dialogue. The responses were compiled into a report to the Archdiocese of Baltimore, as well as the U.S. Conference for Catholic Bishops and the Vatican.

Recovered Voices 101: A Conversation with BSO Artistic Advisor James Conlon

March 10, 2022

Maestro James Conlon has devoted more than three decades to reviving and performing works of composers silenced by the Third Reich. In this event, Mr. Conlon explored these works and explained why he believes they deserve to be heard.

Economic Justice: Interreligious Reflections on Fairness and Dignity

February 3 – 24, 2022

This course drew upon Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions to explore how discrepancies in wealth and status affect our religious communities and impact broader society.

Walking the Justice Talk: How Four Baltimore Leaders Put Principles into Practice

February 22, 2022

In this panel, which is a companion to the ICJS course on Economic Justice, four Baltimore activists and nonprofit leaders discussed how their religious identities ground their motivation for doing their work to improve the Baltimore community and why thinking interreligiously matters. All four panel members were members of the 2021 ICJS Justice Leaders Fellowship.

Confronting Religious Hate in our Neighborhoods with Zeke Cohen

January 18, 2022

Baltimore City Council Member and former city schools teacher Zeke Cohen had a wide-ranging discussion with ICJS Executive Director Heather Miller Rubens, touching on his Jewish heritage as the grandson of Holocaust survivors, his experiences in the classroom and his response to antisemitic vandalism in his district. “It is deeply personal to me when I see swastikas appear in my district, or when I see acts of anti-Muslim bias or acts of racism,” he said.

The Roots and Realities of Christian Nationalism: Course

November 2 and 9, 2021

Using the lens of history, sociology, and theology, Matt Taylor presents Christian nationalism today.

Building Delight Muscles: Ross Gay’s “The Book of Delights”

October 21, 2021

Book Discussion on Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights

In partnership with the Maryland Humanities Council’s One Book One Maryland

Is Religion Still Relevant Today?

September 24, 2021

Interview and Conversation with Megan Goodwin and Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst

As academics, podcasters, authors, and commentators, Megan Goodwin and Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst frequently focus their irreverent eye on how and where religion intersects with modern life. Join ICJS Scholar Matt Taylor in his conversation with Goodwin and Morgenstein Fuerst as they consider the importance of religion in public life and the breakdown of support for religious studies in both public education and universities.

9/11: Twenty Years Later, Discussion with ICJS Scholars

September 14, 2021

The world changed on 9/11. As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the day that left the U.S. and the world reeling, it is worth reflecting upon how 9/11 and its aftermath impacted the religious and interreligious landscape of our society.

Panelists: Matt Taylor (moderator), Heather Miller Rubens, Zeyneb Sayilgan, and Ben Sax

Dabru Emet (Speak Truth): 20 Years Later Roundtable

June 17, 2021

Panel discussion with contributing scholars to the Dabru Emet Online Forum

Participants: Halla Attallah, Georgetown University; Mary C. Boys, Union Theological Seminary; Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College; Laura Levitt, Temple University; Malka Z. Simkovich, Catholic Theological Union; Heather Miller Rubens, ICJS

Religion in the Public Square: Teachers Talk Religion

May 25, 2021

ICJS Teacher Fellows participate in a panel discussion.

Participants: Jill Aizenstein, Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community High School; Brendan Bailey, Loyola Blakefield ; Kenya Beard, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute; Patrice Frasier, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.

Moderated by Christine Gallagher, ICJS Program Director, Teachers

Joshua Heschel Story (Film Discussion)

April 28, 2021

Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and ICJS Trustee Emeritus, and Benjamin Sax, ICJS Jewish Scholar, discuss the life and legacy of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel in advance of a new documentary in which both are featured

What’s Going on Here? Making Sense of Religions Amidst Insurrection

March 29, 2021

From crosses to nooses, shamans to shofars, it can be hard to make sense of the wild mix of religious, civic, and conspiracy-theory images and symbolism that came together in Jericho Marches protesting the election results and culminating at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. ICJS Scholars discuss what they saw.

Stranger/Sister: Film Discussion with Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom

February 19, 2021

Sheryl Olitzky and Atiya Aftab, co-founders of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, discuss their journey to build a movement connecting Jewish and Muslim women.

Our Politics Our Religions

January 22, 2021

In this post-Inauguration program, ICJS Fellows reflected on what religious and / or scriptural grounding brings them to take particular civic actions.

Panel participants: Pat Shannon Jones, Scott Adams, Josh Headley, Tracie Guy-Decker, Terrell Williams, Ben Sax, and Alisha Tatem

Dangerous Religious Ideas: Book Discussion with Rabbi Dr. Rachel S. Mikva

November 11, 2020

Dangerous Religious Ideas: The Deep Roots of Self-Critical Faith in Judaism, Christianity, and (Beacon, 2020) reveals how faith traditions have always passed down tools for self-examination and debate, because all religious ideas—not just extremist ones—can cause harm, even as they also embody important moral teachings.

Rabbi Dr. Mikva speaks with Ben Sax, ICJS Jewish Scholar