Xavier and Hebrew Union College announce an historic interfaith studies partnership

It's the first of its kind between a Jesuit, Catholic university and a reform Jewish seminary | December 2, 2008

Xavier University and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion are creating the Jewish and Interfaith Studies Program to be offered to students at both institutions. This is the first partnership of its kind between a Jesuit, Catholic university and a reform Jewish rabbinic seminary.

The transformational partnership between Xavier and Hebrew Union College, celebrated during the Institute’s 26th Annual Tribute Dinner on Sunday, Nov. 23, is consistent with and furthers the missions of both institutions.

Xavier is creating the largest and most comprehensive undergraduate Jewish Studies program in any Catholic institution of higher learning in the world. In addition, Xavier students have full access to the unparalleled academic resources of Hebrew Union College’s Klau Library and American Jewish Archives.

The Jewish Institute of Religion’s Rabbinical School offers students new learning opportunities in such areas as: Catholic-Jewish Dialogue; History of the Catholic Church; Comparative Ethics; and Comparative Theology. The Institute’s School of Graduate Studies is expanding to offer a new area of academic concentration in Christian Studies.

The first phase of this collaborative effort allows the Institute’s faculty to teach undergraduate courses in Jewish Studies, which allows Xavier to pursue the establishment of a minor in Jewish Studies. Many courses will be interdisciplinary in nature and some team-taught by Xavier and Hebrew Union College faculty. During the second phase, faculty from both schools are establishing guidelines for Xavier faculty who teach courses in the Rabbinical School and School of Graduate Studies and serve on graduate dissertation panels at the School of Graduate Studies.

A steering committee consisting of Xavier and Jewish Institute of Religion faculty and administrators is determining annual course offerings at both institutions. The committee is also overseeing assessment of courses and instructors consistent with the assessment policies and procedures at both institutions.

When completed, this new joint venture, combined with other collaborative academic efforts and the world-renowned HUC resources such as the Klau Library and the Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, positions Cincinnati as one of the most prestigious and competitive centers of Jewish and interfaith studies in the country.