Feb 82024


CHICAGO (February 8, 2024) – The InterReligious Institute at Chicago Theological Seminary is proud to announce the awarding of the 2024 Herman E. Schaalman Interreligious Award to Mr. Gabriel Weiss to be presented at the annual André LaCocque Lecture on March 14.

Mr. Weiss lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter (and a second daughter due in April), working as a community support case manager in an integrative clinic in Massachusetts. He has a B.A. in Sustainability from Goddard College and is in his fourth year at CTS in the MDiv program, with a concentration in interreligious engagement. Gabriel identifies as an Inter-spiritual Buddhist and is passionate about dialogue between people from all walks of life as a means for saving the world. He loves God, books, waffles, basketball, gardening, and solitude.

Mr. Weiss’s winning submission includes building an interspiritual, inter-path community garden in his home state of Vermont.

“One value this project aspires to is a model for peaceful and resilient community building that fearlessly embraces cultural and conceptual diversity. Various formal means of encounter and exchange could be coordinated by the ‘council.’ Still, the primary method is simply to live and work together and support each other in accomplishing a fulfilling life of dignity. The basic practice emphasized and uplifted is the capacity and approach of sincere dialogue, as a model for every aspect of a relationship, not just how we speak to each other,” Mr. Weiss explains.

As the Schaalman Award winner, Gabriel receives a $1,000 honorarium, with an additional $500 awarded to cover project expenses.  In addition, this year, two Honorable Mentions are being awarded to Sherouk Ahmed and David Alderman. The awards will be presented at the Annual André LaCocque Lecture on March 14, 2024.

The Schaalman Award is named for Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman, born in 1916 in Munich, Germany. As a child, Schaalman endured instances of antisemitism, intolerance, and exclusion. In 1935, he managed to evade the advance of the Nazis and the Holocaust by enrolling in Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, from which he was ordained in 1941. He completed his B.A. and M.A. at the University of Cincinnati in 1937, attending both schools concurrently. His ministry took him to Cedar Rapids, IA, and, later, Chicago, where he would spend the rest of his life. In 1956, Schaalman was named Senior Rabbi of Emanuel Congregation of Chicago, a position he held for more than thirty years, after which he remained Rabbi Emeritus until his death.

Schaalman is widely known for his interreligious activism. He advocated for constructive dialogue, believing interreligious friendships could improve and heal the world. He had a close relationship with Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Bernadin of Chicago, for whom he performed a memorial service after Bernadin died in 1996. The Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman Interreligious Leadership Award was established in his honor in 2000.


About CTS
Since its inception, CTS has lived on the edge – literally and figuratively. Established in the boomtown of Chicago in 1855, the Seminary’s first mission was to train church leaders on what was then America’s western boundary. Throughout our history CTS has been a leader in theological education, social justice, and societal transformation. Learn more at www.ctschicago.edu.

Press Contact: Brendan Diamond, Director of Communications

e: [email protected] | p: (312) 619-1733