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Heather Miller Rubens, Ph.D.

Executive Director and Roman Catholic Scholar

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Heather Miller Rubens is the Executive Director and Roman Catholic Scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies (ICJS). She is responsible for advancing the organization’s vision to build an interreligious society in which dialogue replaces division, friendship overcomes fear, and education eradicates ignorance. Rubens is an experienced teacher, public speaker, facilitator, and practitioner of interreligious learning and dialogue. She develops educational initiatives that foster interreligious learning and conversation for the public in the Baltimore-Washington corridor and online. Rubens is a member of the Committee on Ethics, Religion and the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and is an invited member of the Christian Scholars Group. She has served in leadership positions with the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations and the Catholic Theological Society of America. She is a member of the 2019 Class of The Baltimore Leadership. 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 and writing Rubens creatively focuses on the theoretical, theological, ethical, and political implications of affirming religious diversity and building an interreligious society.

EXPERTISE
  • Interreligious Dialogue in History & Practice
  • Roman Catholicism & Interreligious Relations
  • Jewish-Christian Relations
  • Religion, Law & the Courts
  • Religion in the Public Square
  • Women & Interreligious Leadership
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS
Service to the Field

Journal of Interreligious Studies
Board of Advisors (September 2021 – present)

 

Committee on Ethics, Religion and the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Committee Member (August 2014 – present)

 

Christian Scholars Group hosted the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR)
Invited Member (March 2015 – present)

 

Articles

The casual, but dangerous antisemitism in Harrison Butker’s commencement speech, article in the National Catholic Reporter (May 29, 2024).

 

Scholarly Publications

Developing Theologies of Encounter: Eva Fleischner, Fratelli Tutti, and the Unfolding Legacy of Nostra Aetate,” in Pluralizing Dialogue: Insights, Actions and Implications in Eva Fleischner’s “Judaism in German Christian Theology Since 1945,”  Carol Rittner, John K. Roth, eds., National Center for Holocaust Education, Seton Hall University (2024).

 

Interreligious Origin Stories: To Begin, and to Begin Again,” in With the Best of Intentions: Interreligious Missteps and Mistakes, Lucinda Mosher, Elinor J. Pierce, Or N. Rose, eds. Orbis Books (2023).

 

Essay, “To Remember & To Avoid, Ten Lessons for Today,” in Seelisberg@75, the 75th Anniversary of the Seelisberg Conference, International Council of Christians and Jews, (2022).

 

Essay, Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) – Christology & Dangerous Interreligious Questions”  Digital archive project of Indiana University Bloomington’s Center for Religion & the Human. (October 2021)

 

Going up to the Mountain of the Lord: A Call for Intersectional Interreligious Justice” (online forum) American Religion

 

“Toward an Interreligious City: A Case Study” in Interreligious / Interfaith Studies: Defining a New Field, Eboo Patel, Jennifer Howe Peace and Noah J. Silverman, eds. Beacon Press (2018).

 

“Rebellious Jews on the Edge of Empire: The Judæo-Irish Home Rule Association” in Irish Questions and Jewish Questions, Aiden Beatty and Dan O’Brien, eds. Syracuse University Press (2018).

 

‘Something has Gone Wrong’: The JFS Case and Defining Jewish Identity in the CourtroomMaryland Journal of International Law 29 (2014) p. 366-418.

 

“Interreligious Dialogue in a Post-Nostra Aetate Church: The Tension between Mutuality and Evangelization” in Visions of Hope: Emerging Theologians Envision the Future of the Church: 50 Years After Vatican II, Kevin Ahern, ed. (Orbis Books, 2013).

 

The JFS Case: The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and Jewish Identity – A Case Study” for Politics of Religious Freedom: Contested Norms & Local Practices based at the University of California, Berkeley and Northwestern University.

 

A ‘Judeo-Christian’ Myth of Disestablishment: The Legacy of McGowan v. MarylandRelegere: Studies in Religion and Reception 2, no. 2 (2012): 305-18.

 

Who is Jewish Enough for Anglo-Jewish Schools?Sightings (June 17, 2010)

SELECTED PRESENTATIONS

“Catholic and Protestant Responses to the Pandemic” (online; Oct 1, 2021) The Global Lehrhaus Institute​​ roundtable discussion

 

“Thinking Interreligiously on Civic Challenges: Water Justice and the Abrahamic Traditions” (online; June 22, 2021) International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) annual meeting

 

“Anti-Black Racism, Antisemitism & Islamophobia Today – Interrogating the Role of Supersessionism in White Supremacy” (online; June 11, 2021) Catholic Theological Society of America Annual Meeting, Christianity & Judaism Consultation

 

“The Importance of Public-facing Religious Scholarship” (February 2021) St. Louis University, Department of Theological Studies, Graduate Student series

 

“Religion & Law” Invited Guest Lecturer (February 2021) Indiana University Bloomington

 

“Illiberal Religion and the Question of Community” Roundtable (online; December 10, 2020) Law, Religion & Culture Unit; American Academy of Religion (AAR) annual meeting

 

“American Antisemitism in Historical Perspective” (online; October 26, 2020) Council of Centers for Christian-Jewish Relations Annual Meeting; invited respondent

Dabru Emet: 20 Years After Historic Jewish Statement on Christianity

2021-06-16

Six scholars who participated in the Dabru Emet: 20 Years Later Forum shared a panel discussion: Halla Attallah; (Georgetown University), Mary C. Boys(Union Theological Seminary); Susannah Heschel (Dartmouth College); Laura Levitt (Temple University), and Malka Z. Simkovich (Catholic Theological Union). Heather Miller Rubens of ICJS moderated. Discussion covered how issues of race, gender, power, and authority impact interreligious dialogue and statements. Panelists also considered how the context for dialogue has changed in 20 years, and considered the broader possibilities—both academically and socially—available today.

Confronting Religious Hate in our Neighborhoods with Zeke Cohen

2022-01-18

Zeke Cohen, a Baltimore councilmember and former city schools teacher, has never hesitated to call out bias and bigotry, whatever its source. The grandchild of Holocaust survivors, he has been a leading voice in denouncing acts of religious hate in our community. After swastikas were painted on light posts in his community last year, he took to Facebook to celebrate a spontaneous community action to cover them up by painting rainbow hearts. Zeke has also been at the forefront of a movement to heal trauma in our communities, sponsoring legislation that resulted in the Elijah Cummings Healing City Act, making Baltimore the first city in the country to comprehensively legislate trauma-responsive care. In this session, Zeke will talk with ICJS executive director Heather Miller Rubens about confronting religious hate and how that is linked to promoting healing from trauma.

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Select Publications and Presentations

Developing Theologies of Encounter: Eva Fleischner, Fratelli Tutti, and the Unfolding Legacy of Nostra Aetate

Chapter in the book: Pluralizing Dialogue: Insights, Actions, and Implications in Eva Fleischner’s “Judaism in German Christian Theology Since 1945.”

READ MORE

The casual, but dangerous antisemitism in Harrison Butker’s commencement speech

Opinion article in the National Catholic Reporter.

READ MORE

We need more religion-talk to safeguard our democracy

At ICJS we believe that a multireligious democracy is not only possible, but absolutely necessary. That means more religion-talk.

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