In 2003 Hartford Seminary established a Jewish professorship in interfaith relations meant to augment its program in Abrahamic religions. This position was a clear sign of the commitment to Christian-Muslim-Jewish cooperation at the heart of the school's mission and was filled by Yehezkel Landau, a dual Israeli-American citizen, interfaith educator, and religious peace activist. His monograph, 'Healing the Holy Land', written for the US Institute of Peace is available at http://www.usip.org/pubs/peaceworks/pwks51.html
In 2004 Professor Landau launched the Building Abrahamic Partnerships (BAP) training program as a resource for Jews, Christians and Muslims seeking a solid foundation in interfaith ministry. The program serves as a resource on interfaith relations for clergy, religious educators and seminarians. The intensive course combines academic input with experiential learning that includes weekend worship in a mosque, synagogue and church. The BAP program has grown from a simple pilot to a cutting-edge training program that is recognized by other seminaries as a resource for their students, and participants testify that the program has been a transformative experience applying insights from the course in their own interfaith activities.
With the program and professorship endowed over the next five years as a result of this commitment, BAP will become a permanent feature of the Seminary's curriculum. Measures of success will include:
- Maintenance of current enrollment goals of thirty participants in the basic BAP course drawn equally from the three faith traditions
- Enrollment of at least eighteen participants in an advanced summer course
- Ease of student recruitment from word of mouth endorsements
- Replication among other institutions
- Creation of an advanced BAP training program
Increased activity among the following will also be positive program indicators:
- On-going involvement of participants in interfaith endeavors after each course ends
- The number of articles or reports on BAP in the print and electronic media
- Invitations from other seminaries to demonstrate this educational model
This commitment will establish an Abrahamic Partnerships endowment that will secure a Jewish professorship focused on Jewish tradition and Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations and an enduring Building Abrahamic Partnerships (BAP) program at Hartford Seminary. This program trains a new kind of religious leadership by a) promoting deeper understanding of the beliefs and practices of the three faith traditions, b) providing an innovative educational opportunity that prepares clergy and lay leaders to address issues of religious diversity, c) demonstrating how seminarians, clergy and religious educators can forge mutually beneficial relationships across communal boundaries, and d) helping participants develop skills necessary for interfaith ministry.
An additional $400,000 sought to complete $1.5 million Abrahamic Partnerships Endowment
Funding partners sought for BAP scholarships ($10,000 per annum or additional scholarship endowment funds)
Theological institutions could invite orientation teams to their own campuses to run similar programs or send students to Hartford Seminary for the intensive course.
For more information, please contact Professor Yehezkel Landau, Faculty Associate in Interfaith Relations, Hartford Seminary, www.hartsem.edu.