Rabbi Abie Ingber, executive director of the Center for Interfaith Community Engagment at Xavier University, will give a lecture titled “From Tolerance to Celebration: Confessions of a Jewish Bridge Builder” on Thursday, March 14 at 4:30 p.m. in the Rehm Library, Smith Hall, at the College of the Holy Cross. The lecture, supported by the Kraft-Hiatt Fund for Jewish Christian Understanding, is free and open to the public.
Recognized for his work advancing Catholic-Jewish dialogue, Ingber will share with the Holy Cross community possibilities for interfaith collaboration and celebration across all religions.
At Xavier University, a fellow Jesuit institution, Ingber is directing the school’s participation in the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, which calls on colleges and universities across the nation to commit to a year of interfaith cooperation and community service. He has taken more than 40 pre-med students to serve among the poor in Jamaica and Guatemala and to pray with the patients afterward. He has held an annual remembrance for Kristallnacht, the violent wave of Nazi attacks that became a turning point in the persecution of Jews. When a pastor in Florida threatened to burn the Koran, Ingber encouraged students of all faiths to read the Koran aloud in the center of their campus. He also staged an interfaith “wedding” representing Islam, Hindu, and Catholic faiths, and he invited immigrant restaurant owners to share their food and stories with Xavier students.
“Living in solidarity with others is not just an option in this global, pluralistic society, and especially not as part of a community that worships a God of all people,” Ingber said. “To bless and celebrate the other is a moral, intellectual and spiritual imperative and an essential part of being true to our mission as a university, a Jesuit Catholic university.”
The son of Polish Holocaust survivors who relocated after the war to Canada, Ingber has advocated for immigrants around the world. In 2009, he traveled to Darfur with the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society to experience refugees’ situation and to share his message of hope. In 2010, HIAS work took him to Uganda and Kenya. In 2012, he was an eyewitness in Ethiopia to the repatriation of Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Prior to his work at Xavier, Ingber served as executive director of the Hillel Jewish Student Center in Cincinnati for over 30 years.
To learn more about this event and find lectures online, visit www.holycross.edu/mcfarlandcenter.
About the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture:
Established in 2001 and housed in Smith Hall, the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture provides resources for faculty and course development, sponsors conferences and college-wide teaching events, hosts visiting fellows, and coordinates a number of campus lecture series. Rooted in the College’s commitment to invite conversation about basic human questions, the Center welcomes persons of all faiths and seeks to foster dialogue that acknowledges and respects differences, providing a forum for intellectual exchange that is interreligious, interdisciplinary, intercultural, and international in scope. The Center also brings members of the Holy Cross community into conversation with the Greater Worcester community, the academic community, and the wider world to examine the role of faith and inquiry in higher education and in the larger culture.