Inaugural Jewish Studies Conference To Look At World Religion's Future

Oct. 30, 2000

With the current crisis in the Middle East, what is the future for Judaism, Christianity and Islam? Eminent scholars from diverse traditions will take an in-depth look at this question during "The Next Fifty Years: Beginning a Millennium of Hope and Possibility." Sponsored by Baylor University's Center for American and Jewish Studies, this inaugural conference will run Wednesday through Friday, Nov. 1-3, on the Baylor campus.

"During the conference, we hope to address vital issues for the future of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as well as the future of religion and public policy in America and the world," said Dr. Marc Ellis, University Professor and director of the Center. "The next 50 years are crucial to the entire global community."

The conference will open at 4 p.m. Wednesday with a lecture by Dr. Richard Rubenstein, president emeritus and distinguished professor of religion at the University of Bridgeport. The prominent Jewish theologian will speak on "Auschwitz and the Future of Jewish Life" on the third floor of Carroll Library. He also will deliver the conference's keynote address, "Auschwitz and the 21st Century," at a banquet at 6:30 p.m. at Harrington House.

The conference will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday with a lecture on "The Holocaust and Jewish Life" by Dr. Oren Stier, assistant professor of religious studies at Florida International University. At 10:30 a.m., Rabbi Steven Jacobs, Temple B'nai Shalom, will discuss "Judaism and Jewish Life," followed by a brown bag luncheon at noon with the topic "Jerusalem and the Future of Israel and Palestine." Guest lecturer will be Khalil Jahshan, director of the American Committee on the Future of Jerusalem.

The afternoon sessions will be devoted to the topic of Christianity and Christian life. The Rev. Dr. Lawrence Carter Sr., dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel and professor of religion and philosophy at Morehouse College, will discuss "The Challenges of Christian Life in the 21st Century" at 4 p.m. in Kayser Auditorium in the Cashion Academic Center.

A dinner at 6 p.m. at Seventh and James Baptist Church and held in conjunction with the Baptist Women in Ministry Conference, will feature Dr. Rosemary Ruether, The Georgia Harkness Professor of Applied Theology at the Garrett Theological Seminary, and Dr. Heidi Unruh, coordinator of the Congregations, Communities and Leadership Development Project at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, who will address "Women, Faith and Public Policy in the 21st Century."

At 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 3, Dr. Maysam Faruqi, visiting assistant professor of theology at Georgetown University, will discuss the future of Islam. The future of religion and public policy will be the topic at 10:45 a.m. with Dr. Ram Cnaan, associate professor of social work at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a luncheon with speaker Dr. Harold Dean Trulear of Faith-Based Initiatives.

The conference will conclude with a Shabbat reception and open house at 6 p.m. at Ellis' home.

The conference is open to Baylor students, faculty and staff. Except for the Wednesday night banquet, sessions are free, but seating is limited and reservations are required. All conference sessions with the exception of the keynote address and Carter's lecture will take place on the third floor of Carroll Library. For a complete conference schedule, visit or call (254) 710-1510. For reservations, call Janice Losak at (254) 710-1510.

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