Office for Interfaith Community Engagement to become a Center

November 13, 2012

Xavier University’s “Office” of Interfaith Community Engagement is becoming the “Center” for Interfaith Community Engagement at Xavier University. Founding director of the office, Rabbi Abie Ingber, will stay on as the executive director, effective immediately.

Associate provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School, Steven Herbert, says moving the program under Academic Affairs and elevating it from an office to a Center allows it to take on a more academic focus, positioning it to better serve the academic mission of Xavier by engaging students intellectually, morally, and spiritually on issues concerning interfaith relations.

The mission of the Center for Interfaith Community Engagement is to create community and enhance understanding among people of different faiths, particularly students at Xavier. It also aims to extend Xavier’s reach by engaging local, national, and international communities in interfaith dialogue.

“Part of our mission as a Jesuit Catholic university is to stand in solidarity with people of other faiths so that we may better serve God and all his people,” said Michael J. Graham, SJ, president of Xavier University. “The perspective Abie has brought to the office for Interfaith Community Engagement over the past four years has enriched Xavier as a University as well our students, faculty, staff and the larger community. We look forward to Rabbi Ingber building upon his past work at Xavier to expand its reach and depth in the future.”

“Simply put, this Center will further Xavier’s efforts to help young people figure out who they are and help them discover who the person next to them is as well,” Ingber said.

Ingber’s relationship with Xavier goes back to 2005. He is co-creator of “A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People,” an exhibit sponsored by Xavier which is now in its last U.S. appearance at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion before touring Europe. For that project, Ingber was part of a Xavier team that received the 2008 Eternal Light Award from the Center for Catholic Jewish Studies. It is presented to those who have made outstanding contributions to the cause of Catholic-Jewish dialogue.

Before joining Xavier in 2008, Ingber retired after more than 30 years as the executive director of the Hillel Jewish Student Center of Cincinnati. For more on Ingber’s work visit www.xavier.edu/interfaith/about-rabbi-ingber.cfm

Interfaith dialogue is a goal of the Catholic Jesuit order. Former superior general Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., said: “Religious diversity and cultural values are interdependent and overlapping—not independent—dimensions of our lives. Indeed, interreligious dialogue is one of the most powerful responses to the global cultural malaise. It will take the cooperation of the world’s religions to address adequately dehumanizing cultural forces.”