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Center for Jewish, Christian, & Islamic Studies
Spring 2015 Calendar of Events

Gleaning food

The new semester is upon us, and our Center for Jewish, Christian and Islamic Studies (JCIS) is offering some exceptional programs this Fall. Please join us if you are able. Given the broader developments across the world, our vision and work together is more vital than ever.

Tuesday, September 23, 2015 - 5:45 pm - 8:00 pm
Interfaith Solidarity Break-the-Fast Celebration
Most faith traditions see the exercise of fasting as a catalyst for spiritual work and community transformation. In Jewish tradition, the most significant period of introspection, repentance and renewal begins with the month of Elul, kicks into high gear with Rosh haShanah and culminates in the full day fast (evening to evening) of Yom Kippur. Jews around the world spend the day in synagogue, doing this spiritual and ethical work together.

This year, Yom Kippur begins on the evening of September 22 – and it will either be the same day or the day after Yom al-Arafah on the Muslim calendar.

Yom al-Arafah commemorates the prophet Muhammad's final sermon, in which it is announced, Today I have perfected your religion for you and completed My blessing upon you and I am pleased with Islam as the religion for you (al-Maida, 5:3). It is the second day of the hajj, and it is the custom for those not on pilgrimage to fast and focus a day of repentance. Both traditions emphasize the abundant mercy of God, and the fast days are followed with food and celebration. We invite our non-Jewish and non-Muslim friends to fast with us in solidarity, and then to celebrate and reflect together with us on the experience.

We expect the evening to go something like this:

5:45 p.m.     Join KAM-Isaiah Israel for the closing service
6:30 p.m.     Food and friendship
7:00 p.m.    Spiritual Reflections and facilitated table conversations about fasting in our diverse traditions, personal experience, and also fasting as a tool of social protest.


September 27 - October 4, 2015
Sukkat Shalom and Justice Week
Sukkot is a Jewish festival of harvest, with themes of thanksgiving, hospitality, Divine care, peace, justice and the interconnectedness of all the earth.  This year, we will be building the sukkah out front, so it becomes a more integral part of our community rhythms, and embodies hospitality to a greater degree.

JCIS will be hosting several events throughout the week, including:

Sunday, Sept. 27: Build our sukkah, worship and celebration

  • 3:00 p.m. Come help build our beautiful geodesic dome sukkah 
  • 6:30 p.m. Join in prayer and song 
  • 7:00 p.m. Dinner and celebration

Tuesday, Sept. 29: City Creatures: Animals, Religion & Ethics in the Chicago Wilderness”
            with Gavin vanHorn, David Aftandilian, Lea Schweitz, Mike Hogue

  • 5-7 p.m.  Dinner and Program
    Who are the animals with whom we share this city habitat, and how do we impact each other?  What are their gifts to us and our responsibilities toward them?

Wednesday, Sept. 30:  Take Action: Chicago social justice projects YOU can get involved in

5-6:30 p.m. Dinner, plus an opportunity to learn about and sign up for social justice actions in our area

Thursday, Oct. 1: Rooks Society presents
       Rev. Alton B. Pollard III, Life in the Valley of the Shadow of Death: A Parable for 21st-Century Black America

  • 5:15 p.m. Reception
  • 6:30 p.m. Lecture

Friday, Oct. 2: Hunger Van—feeding the community

  • 4-6 p.m.  Joining with the Hyde Park Muslim Family Circle, we will assemble hundreds of meals to be distributed around the area.  
    A special invitation to CTS staff to meet the families that are running around on Friday afternoons; you get release time at 4pm if you can join us.

Sunday, Oct. 4: Community Garden gleaning project with KAM Isaiah Israel Synagogue

  • 2-4 p.m.  Share the bounty the way commanded in the Bible!  Come gleaning in the community gardens and take the produce to local soup kitchens and food pantries.  We’ll have a little time for shared text study and reflection in the middle.


October 15 - 19, 2015 - Parliament of the World’s Religions, Salt Lake City 
A number of our students will be traveling to participate in the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and one is presenting!  Rami Nashashibi, Lisa Seiwert and Rachel Mikva are also presenting, including a workshop on interreligious conflicts that arise even among people of good will.  
Over 7000 people from all over the world and every imaginable religious tradition will be there; do you want to join us?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - Author Event with André LaCocque: Jesus the Central Jew, 5-7 p.m.
The CTS community celebrates the continuing scholarship and insight of our eminent professor emeritus, Dr. André LaCocque.  His most recent book, Jesus, the Central Jew addresses the centrality of Judaism in the identity and reform agenda of Jesus as he sought to inaugurate the kingdom of God on earth.

Sunday, November 15, 2015 - Workshop in Conflict Transformation, 2-5 p.m.
Pari Karim of Chicago’s Center for Conflict Resolution will introduce tools to negotiate with others to create more durable and meaningful resolutions, and how to communicate in ways that can defuse disputes before they begin. Explore the impact of unresolved conflict, learn different approaches and identify your own intuitive style. What causes conflict? How might interest-based bargaining lead to more durable resolution? How can we understand conflict and frame difficult conversations in constructive ways? 
         (There will be approximately 12 spaces available beyond the students required to participate. Let Rabbi Mikva know if you are interested.)

Saturday, November 21, 2015 - American Academy of Religion Interfaith-Interreligious Studies
Gathering of scholars and others around the nation who are creating the fabric of interreligious engagement; with Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), Pluralism Project, KAICIID, CIRCLE, Institute for Jewish and Christian Studies (ICJS).  JCIS is emerging as a leader among seminaries and community groups. We are co-hosting the gathering at AAR to deepen the network of efforts so we may all benefit from best practices, etc.

January 9 - 24, 2015 - Study Tour to Israel and Palestine
Students frequently speak about this journey as their most transformative seminary experience.  Drs. Rachel Mikva, Rami Nashashibi and Susan Thistlethwaite guide the group through the rich biblical heritage, vitality of the modern State of Israel, and challenges of pursuing justice and peace for Palestinians and Israelis.  We meet partners working on gender and sexuality, coexistence, sustainability, worker justice, anti-racism, and interreligious engagement

Watch for details about our programs still "in the works"-- 

  • Imam Suheib Webb, Creating New Spaces for Vibrant Religious Life, Feb 19-20
  • Earth Day: Religious Diversity in Creation
  • CTS Spring Conference:  Facing Islam, April 15-16
  • ECOmmunity Cohort Video & Discussion: Return of the Mecccca: The Art of Islam & Hip-Hop

We hope to see you soon, and that you can help spread the word!

If you want to support our work financially as well, please Donate Now (choose “other” under the donation recipient, and write in JCIS), or send your check to the address below, with JCIS written in the memo line. Thank you again for all that you do in our communities.

5:45 p.m.        Join KAM-Isaiah Israel for the closing service

            6:30 p.m.        Food and friendship

7:00 p.m.        Spiritual Reflections and

Facilitated table conversations about fasting in our diverse

                                    traditions, personal experience, and also fasting as a tool of

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