Buchanan, Ingber and Madges honored for outstanding contributions to dialogue

They have been named 2008 Eternal Light Award winners by the Center for Catholic Jewish Studies | March 3, 2008

James Buchanan, Rabbi Abie Ingber and William Madges, who worked together to develop the exhibit, "A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People," have been named 2008 Eternal Light Award winners by the Center for Catholic Jewish Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla. The award is presented annually to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the cause of Catholic-Jewish dialogue. The Ninth Annual Eternal Light Award Dinner takes place at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club on March 9. 

Buchanan is director for the Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier. Ingber is the executive director of Hillel organizations at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier. Madges was chair of Xavier’s theology department until he became dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Saint Joseph's University in 2006. The three worked with visiting professor and Holocaust survivor Yaffa Eliach to create the exhibit. The title of the exhibit came from the pope’s 1993 commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. On that date, he said, “As Christians and Jews, following the example of the faith of Abraham, we are called to be a blessing to the world. This is the common task awaiting us. It is therefore necessary for us, Christians and Jews, to be first a blessing to one another.”

 “We never thought that the 'Blessing' exhibit would have the impact it has had around the country," Ingber says. “Our little labor of love seems to have touched so very many hearts. The Eternal Light Award is a very rare moment of reflection on how many wonderful people are committed passionately to genuine dialogue and encounter. That is perhaps the greatest blessing of all.”

"'A Blessing to One Another' has taken on a life of its own, one that far exceeds those of us who were privileged to be part of its creation,” Buchanan says. “The true reward of the exhibit is its continuing success to draw people to the role model Pope John Paul II represents in the vitally critical issue of interfaith dialogue and particularly Jewish-Christian relations. We feel very honored to be recognized for our contribution and hope that the award will serve to bring more people to the exhibit and to its message." Buchanan says the exhibit has been received so well in its travels around the country that it is booked through 2010, and the possibility of building a second exhibit to tour Europe is under consideration.