Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations


...  deepening understanding between the Jewish and Catholic peoples since 1967.

The Story of the Institute

The Institute came into being after a major transformation in Catholic teaching about Jews at the Second Vatican Council in 1965. Its declaration, Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”), called for Catholics and Jews to collaborate in “biblical and theological inquiry … and friendly discussions.” Almost at once the Jesuit community at what was then Saint Joseph’s College founded the Institute – the first such response to the Second Vatican Council by an American Catholic institution of higher learning. They believed that rapprochement between Jews and Catholics was integral to the Catholic and Jesuit identity of Saint Joseph's, and defined the mission of the Institute as seeking to increase knowledge and deepen understanding between the Jewish and Catholic peoples, thereby building shalom (or "right relationship") between the two communities.

IJCR graphic

Today, the Institute's professors offer courses on Christian-Jewish relations in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. They partner nationally and globally to research Jewish and Christian reconciliation and reform. They promote opportunities for Christians and Jews to be study partners, teaching and learning about themselves and each other by studying and experiencing together texts, rituals, events, and places.

In 2015, this vision was enshrined in a sculpture created by artist Joshua Koffman to celebrate the golden jubilee of Nostra Aetate and the mission of the Institute. The longtime friend of Pope Francis, fellow Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka, was the keynote speaker at the dedication of “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time” at the Chapel of Saint Joseph on September 25th. Two days later, Pope Francis himself came to the campus [video]. Embracing his friend, Rabbi Skorka observed of the female figures that symbolize Synagogue and Church: "They are you and I – Pope and Rabbi learning from one another." Then the Holy Father blessed the sculpture and the Institute's mission in service of what he has called the Catholic and Jewish "journey of friendship." [more >>]

Pope Francis and Rabbi Abraham Skorka

Upcoming Programs 

Msgr. George Higgins and Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum

Dennis McManus

A. James Rudin

"A Genuine Gift of God"

50th Anniversary of the Institute's Very First Program!

Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 7-9 p.m.  

On March 5, 1967 Saint Joseph's College held its 1st annual "Catholic-Jewish Institute." Arranged with the help of the American Jewish Committee, it was the birth of what became today's Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of SJU.

The featured speakers were Msgr. George G. Higgins of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' social action department and Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum, director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee. Join us as two renowned experts in Catholic-Jewish relations, today's counterparts of Rabbi Tanenbaum and Msgr. Higgins, come to SJU to commemorate that first Institute program exactly one half-century later. Rev. Dr. Dennis McManus serves as Consultant for Jewish Affairs at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Rabbi A. James Rudin is Senior Interreligious Advisor for the American Jewish Committee. They will survey the developments over the five decades of the Institute's existence and look ahead to future progress and challenges.

Click here for up-to-date information!

Seder plate

The Passover Seder at SJU

Jews and Christians Experiencing Exodus Together

The Passover Seder at SJU is a full catered kosher meal. Participants will join in the prayers, songs, and celebration in as close to a traditionally Jewish form as possible.  A limited number of seats are available for a roughly equal number of Christians and Jews — first come, first served. This is an extremely popular event with over 100 participants, so  register as soon as possible!



Videos of Recent Programs  

Dr. Joshua Teplitsky

"Jewish-Christian Relations in a Time of Plague"

Dr. Joshua Teplitsky [HERE]

Dr. Robert Cathey and Dr. Jean-Pierre Ruiz

"Where We Live, What We Believe: Thinking Contextually about Israel, Palestine, and the Churches"

Rev. Dr. Robert Cathey and Rev. Dr. Jean-Pierre Ruiz    [HERE]

Rabbi Ron Kronish and Mayor Issa Jabber

"The Other Peace Process: Interreligious Dialogue in Service of Peace in Israel"

Rabbi Ronald Kronish and Mayor Issa Jabber    [HERE]

ICCJ-CCJR 2016 Annual Meetings

Streaming videos of the plenary sessions of the combined annual conferences of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) and of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR), hosted at the University by the Institute on July 10-13, 2016 are accessible HERE.


The Institute is a founding member of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations:

Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations

The Institute cosponsors with the CCJR a major online library of resources in Christian-Jewish Relations called Dialogika ("items of dialogue"):

Dialogika banner

A memorial endowment has been established in memory of the Institute's longtime director, Rev. Donald Clifford, S.J.  Details available HERE.

Consortium of Holocaust Educators of Greater PhiladephiaDonald Clifford, SJ


Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph's University
Philip A. Cunningham, Ph.D. 610-660-1863 |
Adam Gregerman, Ph.D. 610-660-1878 |
Dori Pappas, Administrative Assistant 610-660-1593 |