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New center to focus on Judaic education

Nov. 11, 1999

By CHRISTIE SMITH

Reporter

In affiliation with the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies, Baylor has established the Center for American and Jewish Studies to further the knowledge of contemporary Judaism and its relation to contemporary Christianity.

According to Dr. Marc Ellis, university professor of American and Jewish studies and director of the center, there are two primary goals for the center.

'First, we want to create a leading forum for the discussion of religion and political life in America and on the international scene,' Ellis said.

'Second, we want to establish the leading center for the study of Judaism and Jewish life among Christian-identified institutions of higher learning.'

The center will offer conferences and lecture series, provide travel opportunities to important sites of Jewish history, will create a library of Judaica and will co-sponsor various events at Baylor.

The lecture series will deal with religion and public life in America, Jewish social and religious thought, Jewish-Christian relations in the 21st century, and African-American culture, religion and politics.

'I hope to bring to Baylor elements of American and Jewish contemporary life that will help students learn more about the world and interact with some of the issues that they will face in their adult years,' Ellis said.

The new center will have some connection to the institute of church-state studies according to Dr. Derek Davis, associate professor and director of the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies.

'The center will focus on Judaism in American life and the relation between Judaism and Christianity as well as other religions,' Davis said.

'These are issues that are at the heart of what the Dawson Institute wants to do, so we will be working well together.

'We see this as a way to expose students at Baylor to other religious dimensions that they may not think about.'

The center is planning its opening in November of 2000, and will focus on 'Beginning a Millennium of Hope and Possibility.'