The Sister Rose Thering Fund for Education in Jewish-Christian Studies Fostering understanding and cooperation among Jews, Christians and people of other religious traditions through advocacy and education.
Vo lu me X X I V • S u m me r 2 018
S e ton H a l l Un i ve r s it y
Extraordinary Year Marks 25th Anniversary of the
Sister Rose Thering Fund
Extraordinary things can happen when ordinary people believe in a dream. They can move mountains, or at least climb them.
community who share our common vision.
Through the articles and stories in this newsletter, we hope to share the many happy and Twenty-five years ago, proud moments that a Dominican sister from began in October 2017 Racine, Wisconsin, who with a campus-wide imagined a world withscreening of the film out religious prejudice, Sister Rose’s Passion planted the seeds of and culminated with that dream in South our 25th Annual Orange, New Jersey. Guests at the 25th Annual Evening of Roses were invited to review selected Evening of Roses Gala Her passion for making significant awards and other memorabilia from Sister Rose Thering’s vast personal on June 5. In between collection, which gave testament to the widespread recognition she received this dream a reality was from various institutions and organizations for her life’s work and dedication to these bookend events, contagious, and attract- the cause of Jewish-Christian relations. we sponsored the ed Jews and Christians Seventh Annual Dr. alike to join her on the Marcia Robbins Wilf journey of making a difference by stampLecture in November; the Ninth Annual ing out religious prejudice through the Essay Competition for high school stupower of teachers. Remarkably, extraordents based on the film Sister Rose’s dinary things have been happening ever Passion and an interreligious commemosince, and during the 2017-18 academic rative prayer service at the end of April year the Sister Rose Thering Fund for in remembrance of Sister Rose’s Yahrzeit, Education in Jewish-Christian Studies celfollowed by our spring Celebration of ebrated this milestone in grand fashion. Education Reception to recognize our SRTF Scholarship recipients as well as the Standing on the pinnacle of a quarterwinners of the Essay Competition. Edmund Hillary century of success, 25th Anniversary Co-Chairs Melinda Hanlon and Susan Our photo galleries of these events reflect Feinstein planned a variety of programs the story of a busy and wonderful year. importantly, the design of the year’s activiand events to highlight the rich history Some of those pictures appear on the ties also looked ahead to the next 25 years and accomplishments of the Fund, named following pages, with the entire album by re-energizing both the mission and the in honor of the woman with the dream, message of SRTF, and by reaching out to continued on page 10 Sister Rose Thering, O.P., Ph.D. More new friends and supporters in the larger
“People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.”
A Message From Our
Executive Director David M. Bossman, Ph.D.
This year was a very special opportunity for the Sister Rose Thering Fund (SRTF). The 25th anniversary Evening of Roses gala featured diverse honorees, a keynote address by Newark Archbishop, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., and engagement with new communities for partnership in the interreligious educational mission of the SRTF. Our mission of inclusivity and cooperation for building a better world shone through in our observance of our 25th anniversary. Cardinal Tobin spoke about the personality of Sister Rose, whose stubborn determination he likened to Pope Francis’ in its insistence on seeing the faces of real persons rather than the masks of stereotypes. Pope Francis today is determined to recognize the human faces of desperate migrant peoples. Rose was determined to recognize the human faces of persecuted Jews. Both advocated for marginalized people. As the Evening of Roses drew to a close, Rabbi Clifford M. Kulwin of Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston NJ, returned to Cardinal Tobin’s characterization of Sister Rose’s tenacity. He noted that the clarity of her vision was being realized in this celebration, where “we are gathered in a moment of wondrous, delightful, palpable unity.” The Evening of Roses was the high point of a yearlong observance of how the vision of Sister Rose continues to guide us even 12 years after her passing. The SRTF is a capstone for her tenure at Seton Hall, which began in the 1960s with educational workshops for the Institute of Judaeo-Christian Studies under the inspiration of Monsignor John M. Oesterreicher. Sister Rose subsequently advocated for the SRTF to support the graduate education of teachers in Jewish-Christian Studies. Today the SRTF recruits and funds teachers who help shape youth in the ways of mutual respect and cooperation as a counter-point to a history of anti-Semitism leading to the Holocaust. The clarity of her vision for shaping an inclusive society continues in the classrooms of teachers guided by the State of New Jersey’s Mandate for Holocaust and Genocide Education to displace racism, hate, prejudice, xenophobia, and violence by building a respectful and cooperative pluralistic society. Early in the academic year, the Dr. Marcia Robbins Wilf Lecture brought us an illuminating afternoon with Ambassador Dennis Ross, a former special assistant to President Barack Obama, and currently the counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute. As the year progressed, SRTF sponsored its Ninth Annual Essay Competition for middle and high school students. Based on viewing Sister Rose’s Passion, the 2004 documentary on the work of Sister Rose, more than 150 students submitted essays on ways of being upstanders in fighting racism and prejudice today. 2
On April 29, at its Celebration of Education, the Fund presented the awards ceremony for Essay Competition winners and the annual teacher-scholar recognition event to acknowledge educators enrolled in Seton Hall’s Jewish-Christian Studies program who receive scholarship assistance from the Sister Rose Thering Fund. We were also pleased to welcome a special group of SRTF donors who generously fund named scholarships for teacher-scholars. Immediately preceding the Celebration of Education, we gathered at the Rose Garden on campus to honor Sister Rose’s memory. The educational outreach of the SRTF proceeds from the vision of Sister Rose, and continues today through the dedication of those who knew and were inspired by her mission. We are particularly proud to carry on Sister Rose’s legacy through the work of Rabbi Alan Brill, Associate Professor in the Graduate Program of JewishChristian Studies, who holds an endowed chair made possible in 2007 by Leon and Toby Cooperman and Eric Ross in recognition of Sister Rose’s life-time service in education and advocacy. Many today who never met Sister Rose are inspired by Sister Rose’s Passion, as well as by those, who as SRTF Board trustees and donors, carry forward the torch of her vision. In this yearlong milestone anniversary year, as we come together in unity of purpose, we continue her work to empower teachers to educate children in the pluralistic values she lived. Sister Rose stated very simply what it is that teachers need to teach their students: “We have to care about one another.” For twenty-five years and ongoing, the SRTF tenaciously follows the light of her vision.
David M. Bossman, Ph.D. Professor, Jewish-Christian Studies Executive Director, The Sister Rose Thering Fund for Education in Jewish-Christian Studies
IN MEMORIAM Marilyn L. Zirl March 16, 1933 - April 22, 2018 The Board of Trustees and the entire SRTF community of friends and supporters mourn the loss of Marilyn Zirl, former Administrator of the Sister Rose Thering Fund, who died this past spring on April 22, 2018. For sixteen years, Marilyn served as one of the pillars of the Fund and its operations before retiring in June 2016.
A Message From Our
New Chair of the Board Melinda Hanlon
It is a pleasure to greet you as I begin my new role as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Sister Rose Thering Fund (SRTF). For the past year we have been celebrating the 25th anniversary of the SRTF, focusing on the power of education as we honored the legacy of Sister Rose. In these pages you will read about the achievements of our teacher-scholars, the generosity of our friends and donors and the culminating event of the last year – our 25th Anniversary Evening of Roses. Our Evening of Roses celebration in June marked a significant milestone for the Fund — 25 years of providing support to our teacher-scholars in the Jewish Christian Studies Program here at Seton Hall University. We were honored to welcome Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., as our keynote speaker along with Dr. Mary Meehan, Interim President of Seton Hall and Sister Kathy Slesar, O.P., from the Racine Dominicans both of whom offered warm words of welcome to all in attendance. The evening was a wonderful celebration of education as we celebrated the accomplishments of two individuals who both exemplify the power education has to change our world. Marilyn Rosenbaum, founding SRTF Board member, has devoted her energies and philanthropic efforts to support the vision of Sister Rose to transform our world through education. Marilyn received the Sister Rose Thering Lifetime Achievement Award. Darrell K. Terry, Sr., President and CEO of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey has dedicated his career to healthcare advocacy, community leadership and humanitarian efforts. Mr. Terry, an alumnus of SHU, is the first recipient of The Reverend Ron Christian Award for Community Leadership. An extraordinary feeling of unity and collaboration marked the evening. I am indebted to my Co-Chair, Susan Feinstein, and our Program Manager, Clare Giangreco, along with the Dinner
Marilyn was a model of dedication to the mission of the Fund, a generous personal supporter in its fund-raising efforts, and a warm and engaging face of the Fund for educators and supporters alike. We build upon her foundational work, and with difficulty, we say Rest in Peace to this talented and loyal professional. Anyone wishing to pay tribute to Marilyn Zirl can make a donation in her memory to the Sister Rose Thering Fund, 400 South Orange Avenue, South Orange, NJ 07079.
Co-Chairs Marilyn Rosenbaum and Ann Burgmeyer for their tireless work to make the evening such an extraordinary success in all ways. Many thanks to all in attendance and our supporters whose presence and contributions allow our board to continue our commitment to the vision of Sister Rose and provide scholarship support to our teacher-scholars. When we fund a teacher, we impact a generation. As we look ahead to the coming year, I am blessed to have the support of our executive committee members - Susan Feinstein, Vice-Chair, Alan Silberstein, Treasurer and Ruth Loew Schildiner, Secretary along with our Executive Director, David Bossman and our Program Manager, Clare Giangreco. We look forward to your presence and support for our SRTF events and fundraising initiatives. In particular, I would like to invite you to our annual Wilf Lecture to be held at the university on Sunday, November 4, 2018. This lecture provides an excellent opportunity for all of us to share our mission and purpose with friends and potential supporters beyond our Board community. Information about this and other calendar events is included in this newsletter. I would like to thank our outgoing Board Chair, Deborah Lerner Duane, for her tireless dedication to the Sister Rose Thering Fund Board. Deborah’s professionalism and incredible energy have brought a new level of organization to Board efforts and an increased awareness of our program and work to the University community and beyond. Deborah is a true Upstander, an individual who sees injustice and takes action. I can only hope she knows the depth of the Board’s appreciation and gratitude for all she has done as Chair for the last five years. Our 25th anniversary celebration has been a time to reflect on the vision of Sister Rose Thering and to celebrate the accomplishments of the last quarter century. We must now look forward to the next 25 years and beyond as we work to secure the future of the Fund that bears her name. My husband Wayne and I were drawn to the Sister Rose Thering Fund because of the Board’s work to fight prejudice and foster understanding among people of different religious traditions through advocacy and education. Together we can pay it forward as we support our teacherscholars and promote Sister Rose’s commitment to transform the world through education. This is truly how we will achieve “Tikkun olam” and repair our world. Sincerely,
Melinda A. Hanlon Chair, Board of Trustees
Celebration of Education Recognizes Upstanders, Present and Future The future leaders of our world have already begun to think about how they will change it for the better. On Sunday, April 29, the Sister Rose Thering Fund for Education in JewishChristian Studies closed out its Ninth Annual high school Essay Competition with a Celebration of Education Reception. The theme of this year’s competition, which was open to all high schools in New Jersey, was “Be an Upstander, Not a Bystander.” Students were shown the Oscar-nominated film Sister Rose’s Passion and were then asked to submit a 500word essay about how Sister Rose Thering stood up for the Jewish community to eradicate anti-Semitism; how she inspires them to be upstanders themselves; and how they may act, or even perhaps have acted, as an upstander in their own lives.
2018 Essay Winners GRADE 9 Casey Heitmann (Tied for First Place) Morris Knolls High School
Alyssa Rozario (Tied for First Place) Bayonne High School
GRADE 10 Joseph Sapone (Tied for First Place) Immaculata HS
Amy Wahba (Tied for First Place) Bayonne HS
GRADE 11 Emily Kern (First Place) Randolph HS
(Tied for Honorable Mention) Bayonne HS
(Tied for Honorable Mention) Mother Seton Regional HS
GRADE 12 James Hong (First Place) Pascack Hills HS
Mirembe Fisher (Honorable Mention) Lacordaire Academy
“Considering part of the mission of the Fund envisions a world without religious prejudice by advocating to value differences, demonstrating change and inspiring the next generation, we thought it would be inspirational if these high schoolers could apply Ruth Loew Schildiner, Essay Competition Chair (left), along with these ideas to what Dr. David Bossman, Executive Director, and Deborah Lerner Duane, is happening in the Immediate Past Chairman (right), congratulate the 2018 high school United States right essay winners at the Celebration of Education Reception. now and how it is affecting them in their daily living,” says of bias, prejudice and bigotry, includRuth Loew Schildiner, Sister Rose Thering ing bullying through the teaching of the Fund trustee and Essay Competition Chair. Holocaust and genocide, shall be includ“It’s even more likely given the daily news, ed for all children in grades K-12. Twitter, Facebook and other social media These competition objectives have rethey are constantly exposed to.” mained in place since 2010, when the Essays from 147 students from 14 differcompetition first launched – but its roots ent high schools were submitted by their go back a bit further. According to David teachers, and the first place winners and Bossman, founding Executive Director honorable mentions – separated by high of the Fund, Massachusetts native David school grade level – were in attendance Ganz was so moved by Sister Rose’s Passion with their families, teachers and friends as that when it first became available on they were honored for their outstanding DVD, he purchased copies of the film to work. (See sidebar for full list of this year’s be distributed through the New Jersey winners.) A panel of nine judges had the Holocaust Commission to all New Jersey difficult task of reading and evaluating the public schools. In order to obtain feedback essays to identify the best of the submison how the film was inspiring students, sions. First place winners read their essays the annual Essay Competition was born as part of the day’s program. A copy of and participation has been growing ever the booklet containing all of the winning since. Now, a new generation of upstandessays is available through the Sister Rose ers is already making their mark in their Thering Office by contacting 973-761schools and on the world. 9006 or firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to these young upstanders, a In light of the Fund’s 25th anniversary, group of eight teacher-scholars, recipiboth the film and the essay competition ents of 15 full tuition scholarships from provide a great opportunity to engage the Sister Rose Thering Fund for the students in a meaningful dialogue about 2017/2018 academic year, was also recogimagining a world without prejudice. It nized at the April 29 reception making the also offers an opportunity to provide event a true celebration of upstanders of education in keeping with the New Jersey both the present and the future. Cherelle Mandate for Genocide and Holocaust Tolor, Esq., Fund trustee and Co-Chair of Education, which indicates that issues the Scholarship Committee, announced
all the scholarship awards and recipients. Many of the generous donors who sponsored and named the scholarships given were on hand to present the scholarship award certificates to the teacher-scholars who truly appreciated the opportunity to thank them in person. Guest speaker Karen Walsh, MA ’02, one of the first group of graduate students who received the SRTF scholarship after it was established, shared her own story of becoming an upstander. A child of a Jewish mother and Catholic father, Karen’s interest in the Holocaust began after reading the Diary of Anne Frank in middle school. Just like the essay winners, Karen noted that it was likely in high school that she found her voice. Years later, moved by a talk she heard by Sister Rose Thering, her desire to learn all she could about the Holocaust lead her to Seton Hall and a Master’s in Jewish-Christian Studies. More importantly, she continued in her advocacy work in a number of social justice areas and played a large role on behalf of her synagogue in partnership with the local Presbyterian Church to Teacher-Scholar Franklin Stebbins, Social Studies Teacher, Arthur L. Johnson High School, Clark, NJ reflects on how his graduate coursework in Jewish-Christian Studies is helping him impact the next generation: “The Jewish-Christian Foundations for Social Service Learning course has been inspirational in every possible way. The resources have not only caused me to become much more proactive in service learning, but has also focused my teaching of the Future Educators class I teach designed for high school seniors interested in the teaching profession. Thematically, this year has focused on the value of viewing one’s future students as people and recognizing the fact that a teacher is someone who delivers much more than content. To change and improve the values of future generations, education needs to change the language that is spoken. Because of this course, I dedicate more of my time to providing students with experiences that allow them to expand their scope from the small suburban community we live in to a more global perspective.
co-sponsor a family of six refugees from Darfur who moved right next door! Often asked why she, as a Jew, would help a family of Muslims, her answer was simple “we remember the Holocaust; why not?” Inspired after reading all the winning essays, Karen summed up her message this way, “It is the willingness to do the work, to embrace the challenges, to seek social justice that inspires the upstander. They don’t ask what is in it for me, or how much time and effort will this involve, they live, N’ase v’nishma (the response of the Israelites as in the midrash on the Torah, “we will do, and we will listen.”) Luna Kaufman, Chairman Emeritus, addressed the group and touched on her experience as a Holocaust survivor making the message very real and personal. She presented each of the essay winners with a signed copy of her book, Luna’s Life. New to this year’s celebration was the recognition of Sister Rose Thering Fund donors who became members of Seton Hall’s Hazard Zet Forward Society for those who have made gifts for 15 years or more. Evi Meinhardt was on hand to receive her certificate and pin at the event. Other members inducted this year but not present include Dr. Michael Och, Eva Samo, Ernestine Turkel and Marilyn Zirl (posthumously).
Emily Kern, Grade 11, Randolph High School
“Sister Rose inspired me to believe that any individual can make a monumental difference, no matter where he or she comes from or what the world is like at the time. Sister Rose came from humble beginnings and yet she was able to defy all roadblocks set up and persevered out of her strong sense of right and wrong. Sister Rose was an Upstander for a religious group that has been historically persecuted and welcomed an advocate. She faced every issue and never let up.” Alyssa Rozario, Grade 9, Bayonne High School
“Even after Sister Rose accomplished her mission of improving JewishCatholic relations, her message wasn’t completely conveyed. She spent the rest of her life teaching students about Jewish-Catholic dialogue and educating them about the Holocaust. The remarkable story of Sister Rose Thering’s life is one that should be celebrated and honored because her life can motivate anyone to become an active member of the world no matter what ethnicity, gender or religion you are.”
In bringing together all the different groups of high school students, teacherscholars, donors, SRTF trustees and other friends and guests at this Celebration of After the awards presentations, all guests Education, the true value of the mission were invited to enjoy a delicious dessert of SRTF came to life. Hearing the young reception Chaired by Susan Feinstein. upstanders speak about how Sister Rose Thering, the epitome of an upstander, inspires them even today to stand up against prejudice is living proof of how funding a teacher can, and does, impact a generation! That is why the Board continues to dedicate its efforts to keep the legacy of Sister Rose, who strongly believed in the “power of teachers”, alive for the next 25 years. A proud moment with 2017-2018 Scholarship Recipients (l to r) Daniel Excellent, Heather Mecka, Marissa Calfayan, Franklin Stebbins, Jackie Delatour, Maria Zuffanti, Dr. David Bossman, Lori Chelborg Ramos, Rob Rubinson and Reverend Lawrence Frizzell. 5
2018 Evening of Roses:
A tough act to follow. Many would say this is the perfect description of the late Sister Rose Thering, a deeply passionate upstander who devoted her life to the fight against antiSemitism within the Catholic church. Fittingly, this same phrase could also describe the inspirational presenters and performers – representing the Jewish, Catholic and Baptist communities – who
participated in the Sister Rose Thering Fund’s 25th annual Evening of Roses on Tuesday, June 5. The Fund’s major fundraising vehicle, this year’s event recognized Darrell Terry, Sr., president and CEO of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey, as well as an alumnus of the University’s Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program. Also recognized at the event was Marilyn Rosenbaum, a SRTF founding trustee, former vice chair and longtime champion of our mission. Melinda Hanlon, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and 25th Anniversary CoChair, served as master of ceremonies for the evening’s program. In welcoming the 180 guests to this milestone event, Melinda, speaking on her own behalf as well as that of Co-Chair Susan Feinstein, captured the essence of what the
“Tonight we celebrate our 25th anniversary but what we really are celebrating is the vison and legacy of Sister Rose. She believed in the transformative power of education and the presence and support of our board, donors and friends here tonight allows us to continue to provide scholarship support for our teacher scholars in the Jewish Christian studies program here at SHU. We both believe that when we fund a teacher, we impact a generation. Together we can achieve “Tikkun olam” and repair our world.” 6
evening was all about in her introductory remarks. Following opening remarks from University Interim President Mary Meehan, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R. of the Archdiocese of Newark delivered a moving keynote address in which he compared Sister Rose to Pope Francis. “Both allowed themselves to be enlightened by God to see people’s faces and, in those faces, recognize common humanity,” he said. “But she could also see how elements of our church had disfigured the faces of the Jewish people.” He then drew parallels between religious conflict during the days of Sister Rose and that of today, using alarming statistics to illustrate that “the Fund is needed now more than ever.” He concluded by prompting the audience to consider “What will be your role in extending the reach of the Fund’s mission over the next 25 years?” The room then filled with excitement and lively conversation as guests enjoyed a delicious dinner held in the newly opened Bethany Hall Welcome Center building on the campus of Seton Hall. Highlighting the interfaith dimension of the evening, after dinner the program continued with a moving rendition of the Jewish song Evening of Roses (Erev shel Shoshanim) sung by Ms. Ali Reede of Long Island.
The musical program reflected the interfaith spirit of the evening. Ali Reede, inset above, sings the Jewish song Erev shel Shoshanim (Evening of Roses). Below, the choir from Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington, directed by Donald Barnes, brought guests to their feet with their inspiring performance.
After a brief video presentation, reflecting on the history of the Fund, a choir from Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington of which Darrell Terry is a member, under the direction of Donald Barnes, treated the audience to a truly
A Joyful Celebration of Leadership, Service and Interreligious Harmony
Members of the Sister Rose Thering Fund Board of Trustees gather with Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R. to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Fund at the June 5 Evening of Roses Gala at Seton Hall.
inspiring musical performance. The spirited performance brought the crowd to its feet and served as the perfect introduction to the main event: the celebration of the night’s two honorees. Monsignor Anthony Ziccardi, SRTF trustee and Vice President of Mission and Ministry at Seton Hall had the honor of introducing and presenting Marilyn Rosenbaum with the Sister Rose Thering Fund Lifetime Achievement Award. Mrs. Rosenbaum recounted how she first met Sister Rose, and how they, together with a group of Sister Rose’s friends, formed the Board that ultimately created the Sister Rose Thering Fund at Seton Hall. She then echoed Cardinal Tobin’s sentiments about how critical the mission of the Fund is to this day. “Most survivors of the Holocaust aren’t here anymore to tell their story,” she said. “That’s why what we do is so important. We’re telling their story.” Mrs. Rosenbaum, who also served as the Dinner Co-Chair with Ann Burgmeyer, summed up her reaction to the evening’s
festivities, “We were so delighted to be part of the wonderful celebration.” Being presented with this prestigious award made this 25th anniversary evening particularly meaningful for Mrs. Rosenbaum. She added, “I was very moved and excited to be honored on this beautiful night. It was a very special moment that I will long cherish.” Reverend Alfreddy Fletcher, on behalf of Christian Love Baptist Church, presented the Reverend Ron Christian Award for Community Leadership, to Darrell Terry. Before the award presentation, Michael K. Williams, actor and good friend of Mr. Terry, introduced him recounting some
accomplishments of the guest of honor. Then guests watched a short video about the life of Reverend Ron bringing some who had known him personally to tears. Reverend Ron’s energetic style and compassionate approach to ministry helped transform the Christian Love Baptist Church into one of the Newark area’s most vibrant houses of worship. Reverend Ron was, and still is, a mentor to Mr. Terry, who has pioneered award-winning initiatives to improve the overall health and wellness of the communities served by Newark Beth Israel. Mr. Terry considers the award “the most meaningful I have ever received. Both Sister Rose and Reverend Ron shared similar qualities: they were passionate human beings, they were leaders and they were visionaries. I believe Reverend Ron is still working through me and through many others from heaven,” he said. He then thanked his family, Newark Beth Israel, Christian Love Baptist Church, and Seton Hall MHA professors Anne Hewitt and Susan Garrubbo for their support. Mr. Terry’s speech put an exclamation point on a truly memorable evening – a fitting tribute to a Fund and its eponym, both dedicated to fostering understanding and cooperation among Jews, Christians and people of other religious traditions through advocacy and education. A tough act to follow, indeed.
Evening of Roses guests of honor, Marilyn Rosenbaum, left, Sister Rose Thering Lifetime Achievement Award and Darrell K. Terry, Sr., right, Reverend Ron Christian Award for Community Leadership share a moment with Cardinal Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R., center, Archbishop of Newark. 7
Annual Fall Lecture Explores Jerusalem Peace Prospects “The Peace Process and the Fate of Jerusalem’s Jews, Christians, and Muslims” was the topic of the Seventh Annual Dr. Marcia Robbins Wilf Lecture on November 12, 2017 in the Jubilee Hall Auditorium at Seton Hall. Ambassador Dennis Ross, William Davidson Distinguished Fellow and Counselor at The Washington Institute of Near East Policy was the guest speaker. As part of the 25th anniversary year celebration of the Sister Rose Thering Fund (SRTF), both the topic and the speaker provided a fitting commemoration of the legacy of Sister Rose who dedicated her life’s work to improving interreligious understanding. Dr. Marcia Robbins Wilf, whose generous endowment supports the annual lectures, introduced Ambassador Ross. A well-respected analyst, policymaker, negotiator, historian, and diplomat, Ambassador Ross served directly under five U.S. Presidents, seven Israeli Prime Ministers, and two PLO Presidents. For more than twelve years, he played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and dealt directly with the parties in negotiations. He was instrumental in assisting Israelis and Palestinians in reaching the 1995 Interim Agreement; he also successfully brokered the 1997 Hebron Accord, facilitated the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, and intensively worked to bring Israel and Syria together. Ambassador Ross began his presentation by asking the audience of about 140 guests if they felt that religion played a role in the Middle East conflict. When most raised their hands, he explained that addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a religious perspective was new territory for him. “If you look at the precepts of the great religious faiths,” he noted, “they have common themes: love your neighbor, accept the stranger, and do not kill. In the Jewish tradition, to be a seeker of peace, is the highest call. In the Jewish liturgy, to 8
save a life is to save the world. In the Quran, you can find the exact same formulation. Why have we not seen religious leaders address the commonality of their respective faiths? Why have they not played this role? What we have, unfortunately, is a legacy of extremist religious leaders who had helped to perpetuate the conflict. They have not helped in any way to try to resolve it.” The basic problem he sees is not abstract but rather a struggle for identity. People on both sides know people who have died because of the conflict. The conflict is not something that occurs outside of the lives of the people it impacts, but rather is a part of their daily lives. On both sides there are not only profound grievances in reaction to each other’s actions, but also profound existential rights. The competition for self-determination that underlies the conflict makes members on both sides feel that the future of their identity is perpetually at stake. As an example illustrating the complexity of a religious issue that is a part of the historic conflict for which parties have been trying to find a solution, Ambassador Ross spoke about the 1995 Interim Agreement with which he was personally involved. In that agreement, the parties had to negotiate access to all religious sites that were significant to both, Israelis and Palestinians. Because Muslims, Jews and Christians all valued these religious sites, the parties had to agree to provide free and safe
Drs. Marcia Robbins Wilf (left) and Perry Robins (right) welcome Ambassador Dennis Ross (center) to the November 12 lecture.
access to them to all people, regardless of their faith. Administrative, political and religious dimensions of this issue needed to be addressed. When no sides could reach agreement, Ambassador Ross suggested that the sovereignty of those sites should belong to God instead of a certain state. While not agreed to at the time, the idea must have resonated with the negotiators, both of whom shared with the Ambassador, years later, that it was “not a bad idea.” A multi-faceted and notably complex issue, Ambassador Ross welcomed questions from the audience after his presentation to expound further on various aspects of the peace process. Prior to the formal lecture, the Sister Rose Thering Fund (SRTF) hosted an informal discussion with the Ambassador for students and faculty from the School of Diplomacy. Open to any questions, topics discussed included negotiating principles, opinions regarding the two-state solution and the current situation in Saudi Arabia. After the stimulating lecture and discussion, guests met and mingled with Ambassador Ross and continued the dialogue at a plentiful dessert reception sponsored by the Wilf Endowment. Compiled by Ann Burgmeyer based on an article that originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of The Diplomatic Envoy
Ambassador Ross welcomed questions and discussion from students and guests during the Q & A session following the lecture.
Sister Rose Remembered at Yahrzeit Service “The human soul is a light from God.” So began the words of a prayer as a Yahrzeit candle was lit to remember Sister Rose Thering, a light that had surely touched the lives of all who gathered on a fittingly bright and sunny but winter-coat chilly Sunday afternoon in late April to remember the woman, her passion and her dream. Whether they knew her personally or through the legacy that still burns brightly today, faithful friends of Sister Rose as well as Board trustees and teacher-scholars who are benefitting from the scholarships that bear her name, came together to commemorate her 12th Yahrzeit, the anniversary of someone’s death in the Jewish tradition. Sister Rose passed away on May 6, 2006. The group of about 25 assembled on April 29 around the memorial plaque for Sister Rose that hangs on a brick wall in an outdoor rose garden near the center of the Seton Hall campus. Cantor Riki Lippitz from Oheb Shalom Congregation in South Orange, the congregation that had welcomed Sister Rose as part of their community for many years, sang the beautiful Erev shel Shoshanim (Evening of Roses) at the beginning of the brief service, which was followed by a scripture reading from the Book of Wisdom. As is customary in Jewish funeral services, many Trustees Msgr. Robert Coleamong those present then man and Alan Silberstein place shared stories and fond memostones during the Yahrzeit comries of Sister Rose after the memoration at the site of Sister lighting of the Yahrzeit candle. Rose’s plaque. Alan Silberstein, current Board treasurer, recalled, “when I spoke to her more than 15 years ago about a project to build Christian Jewish understanding in Poland, she encouraged me enthusiastically, expanded my vision, and set me on a path committed to interreligious dialogue all these years. More specifically, she said, “You MUST do this project! And, when you have completed showing the exhibition in Poland, I want you to bring it here to Seton Hall.” And that is what we did.”
will always be remembered for her courage, vision and lasting legacy. Her light shines on like a torch passing the flame to future generations through the power of the teachers she loved and to the young minds they shape. Just as stones never die, neither will our memories of Sister Rose Thering or her dream. So echoed Sylvia Orenstein. “I greatly admired Sister Rose. More than that, I loved her; she was my friend and teacher. I will never forget her and I doubt that I will ever meet her like again.”
Cantor Riki Lippitz of Oheb Shalom Congregation in South Orange opens the Yahrzeit prayer service singing Evening of Roses.
“May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life for us and all Israel. Amen.” — From Mourner’s Kaddish
When Sylvia Orenstein, longtime friend of Sister Rose, former trustee and current Advisory Council member, was growing up, she recalled her fascination with a Reader’s Digest article called The Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met. For Sylvia, Sister Rose was among them as she reflected on what made her so unforgettable. “It was her extraordinary strength – not physical strength but strength of conviction. She believed in what she did and did it brilliantly and with amazing courage. And she demanded that level of commitment from others. I once quipped that if I missed a Board meeting, she would send the Pope after me. I was only partly kidding!” In pondering the source of such strength, Sylvia concluded, “I think I found it in the remarkable story of her journey from childhood…to her role as a fierce advocate for tolerance. It was her innate sense of justice; of what is right and what is wrong.”
Finally, in keeping with Jewish ritual, the traditional Mourner’s Kaddish, a prayer of praise to God, was recited by all present followed by each person invited to place a stone in front of the plaque. This ancient tradition symbolizes how the permanence of stone – rather than flowers – keeps the legacy of a deceased loved one in the hearts of his or her survivors. What a fitting tribute, indeed, in this year of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Sister Rose Thering Fund, for a woman who
Sylvia Orenstein shares some memories of her longtime friend, Sister Rose, at the Yahrzeit commemoration service on April 29. 9
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available on our website www.shu.edu/go/sisterrose. The Virtual Media Library section of our website provides video footage of our major anniversary events including the June 5 Evening of Roses Gala at which Cardinal Joseph Tobin, C.S.s.R. was our special guest speaker. We cross the threshold of the next 25 years with great hope and confidence in building upon the remarkable achievements of those who paved the way to this moment. We are grateful to our friends and supporters who help us keep Sister Rose’s dream alive, and look forward to sharing the next part of our journey with you. Together, we will sustain Sister Rose’s passion for a world without religious prejudice.
SRTF Sponsored Scholarship Recipients FALL 2017 Marissa Calfayan
Lessons from the Holocaust Curt C. and Else Silberman Scholarship
Jewish-Christian Foundations for Social Service Curt C. and Else Silberman Scholarship
Lori Chelborg Ramos Christian-Jewish Encounter Reverend Lawrence Frizzell Scholarship
The Sister Rose Thering Fund Board of Trustees 2018-2019 Officers Melinda Hanlon, Chair • Susan Feinstein, Vice Chair Ruth Loew Schildiner, Secretary • Alan Silberstein, Treasurer Board of Trustees
Paula Becker Alexander, Ph.D. Christine Aromando Gail Barry Andrea Bartoli, Ph.D. Rabbi Alan Brill, Ph.D. Ann Burgmeyer Ki Joo Choi, Ph.D. Monsignor Robert Coleman *Deborah Lerner Duane** Piotr Dudek** Michal (Miki) Fine** Reverend Lawrence Frizzell, D. Phil. *Paul Gibbons Sister Mary Gomolka, RSM Wayne Hanlon Louis Izzi** *Luna Kaufman Reverend John F. Morley, Ph.D Karan Oleckna *Kenneth Oleckna, Esq. Marilyn Rosenbaum Cherelle Tolor, Esq. Jason Tramm, D.M.A Bob Werbel, Esq. Marcia Robbins Wilf, Ed.D. Robert Woog Monsignor Anthony Ziccardi
Shirley Aidekman-Kaye Julia Altholz Jacqueline Berke Concetta Donvito, Ed.D. Judith & Steven Elbaum Eugene Fisher, Ph.D. Kenneth Gaines Monsignor John J. Gilchrist Rita Horowitz Allan Janoff Michael Kogan, Ph.D. Murray Laulicht, Esq. Pearl Randall Lehrhoff Jacqueline & Howard Levine Przemyslaw Murczkiewicz** Robin Neuman Sylvia Orenstein, Esq. Teri & Ed Rosen Emmanuel Ruranga Anthony Sciglitano, Ph.D. Hattie Segal Joseph Volker, Ph.D. Jane Wallerstein Michael Zeiger
Christian-Jewish Encounter Dr. Marcia Robbins Wilf Scholarship
Daniel Excellent Lessons from the Holocaust Curt C. and Else Silberman Scholarship
Heather Mecka Lessons from the Holocaust Curt C. and Else Silberman Scholarship
Robert Rubinson Christian-Jewish Encounter Carol and Alan Silberstein Scholarship
Franklin Stebbins Christian-Jewish Encounter Deborah Lerner Duane and Daniel J. Duane Scholarship
Maria Zuffanti Christian-Jewish Encounter Eleanor Siegler Scholarship
Lori Chelborg Ramos Hebrews and Catholic Epistles Hattie & Arnold Segal Endowed Scholarship
Jacqueline Delatour Jewish-Christian Foundations for Social Service Scholarship in Memory of Sister Rose Thering by Allan Janoff and Scholarship in Memory of Howard Feinstein by Susan Feinstein
Daniel Excellent Cross-Cultural Analysis for Jewish-Christian Studies Curt C. and Else Silberman Scholarship
Heather Mecka Jewish-Christian Foundations for Social Service Curt C. and Else Silberman Scholarship
Robert Rubinson Jewish-Christian Foundations for Social Service Scholarship in Honor of Hattie Segal donated by Patricia and Stephen Segal
Franklin Stebbins Jewish-Christian Foundations for Social Service Curt C. and Else Silberman Scholarship
* Chairmen emeriti ** Graduate in Jewish-Christian Studies Staff
David M. Bossman, Ph.D., Executive Director Clare Giangreco, Program Manager 10
Applications for scholarships are available on our website, www.shu.edu/go/sisterrose
News & Notes The 25th Anniversary year brought some well-deserved recognition for several members of the SRTF community. Congratulations to all! We are very proud of you and the good work you are doing to spread the message of SRTF. The New Jersey Commission for Holocaust Education held its annual awards luncheon on June 5. Dr. David Bossman (right), Executive Director of the SRTF, was presented with the Sister Rose Thering Award from Larry Glaser, Executive Director of the Commission. Pictured to the left of Dr. Bossman is Franklin Stebbins, a current SRTF Scholarship Recipient and student in Dr. Bossman’s spring 2018 course. Mr. Stebbins was presented with the Gina Lanceter Power of One Award by Mr. Glaser at the same luncheon. Heather Mecka, SRTF Scholarship Recipient and Language Arts teacher at Hackensack Middle School, received the Sister Rose Thering Award at the annual South Orange – Maplewood Interfaith Holocaust Remembrance service on April 15 at Congregation Beth El in Livingston. Ms. Mecka (center) is joined by her children at the service. Luna Kaufman, SRTF Chairman Emeritus, recently published a second edition of her book entitled Luna’s Life Continues. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to SRTF. In the picture right, Luna presents a copy of the new edition of her book to Cardinal Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R. at the 25th Annual Evening of Roses on June 5. In May, David Bossman and Clare Giangreco paid a visit to Hattie Segal, seen here on right, to present her with the sponsored scholarship certificate for the Hattie and Arnold Segal Endowed Scholarship given
to teacher-scholar Lori Chelborg Ramos at the Celebration of Education Reception in April. Hattie, former SRTF trustee and current Advisory Council Member, will celebrate her 102nd birthday in October! Kibwe Miller, MA ’18 SRTF Scholarship recipient, who went on for his Master’s degree in Jewish-Christian Studies, enjoys graduation day in May. Przemyslaw Murczkiewicz, MA ‘13, SRTF Scholarship recipient, has been appointed as the first principal of the East Light Academy Charter School in Charleston, SC. Shem is a former SRTF trustee and is currently on the Advisory Council. In February 2018, SRTF Board Treasurer Alan Silberstein was invited to be a guest speaker at a conference in Vienna, Austria that was co-sponsored by NYU, Vienna and Tel Aviv universities. The conference topic was The End of Anti-Semitism, and Alan made a presentation on Sister Rose Thering and the effect she had on the change in the Church’s policy on Jews. In preparation for his talk, Alan did three months of academic study on Sister Rose, consulting various resources, including the SHU archives, to compile his information. Approximately 150 people attended the conference.
SAVE THE DATE! SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2018 EIGHTH ANNUAL DR. MARCIA ROBBINS WILF LECTURE 2:00 PM • Seton Hall University • Bethany Hall
The Next Generation: Will the Story Survive? Plan to join us! More details to follow soon on our website www.shu.edu/go/sisterrose 11
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Issue Highlights: Celebrating 25 years........................................1
We warmly welcome our newest trustees… Ruth Loew Schildiner Ruth currently has her own private practice and works as a nutritionist and eating disorder therapist. She was an assistant professor at Montclair State University for 17 years and continues to teach at medical schools and universities in specialty topics, twice a year. She also works bi-weekly as the nutrition director at the South Orange JESPY House. Ruth has always had a passion for helping those in need, which her lifelong work in community service reflects. Having served and directed soup kitchens, been a literacy volunteer and a current member of the Rotary Club in Livingston, she naturally jumped right in to Chair the SRTF Essay Competition this past spring. Excited about the prospect of helping teachers educate students in combatting prejudice and advancing religious understanding, Ruth will be a great asset to the Board.
Piotr Dudek, MA ’15 Piotr is currently a Regulatory Affairs Specialist at SarkliRepechage Ltd., a skincare company. He completed both his B.A. in Hebrew and a Juris Doctor from universities in Poland and is a 2015 graduate of the Master’s program in Jewish-Christian Studies. As co-chair of the Scholarship and chair of the newly formed Alumni Committees, Piotr’s goal is “to reach out to and reconnect with all SRTF scholarship recipients and spark an interest in Sister Rose’s mission among younger students.” Piotr has traveled internationally to eight countries. He speaks five languages including native Polish, Hebrew and Yiddish. Piotr also sits on the Board of Advisors for The Center for Global Responsibility, a position he has held since July of 2015. Being tech savvy, Piotr has already helped bring a social media presence for SRTF on Facebook.
Celebration of Education...........................4-5 Evening of Roses...........................................6-7 Wilf Lecture........................................................8 Yahrzeit................................................................9 Scholarship Recipients................................ 10 News & Notes...................................................11
SRTF NEWSLETTER Melinda Hanlon Chair David M. Bossman, Ph.D. Executive Director Clare Giangreco Program Manager 400 South Orange Avenue South Orange, N.J. 07079 (973)761-9006 Fax: (973) 275-2333 e-mail: email@example.com
View the Summer 2018 edition of the Sister Rose Thering Fund Newsletter, Volume XXIV.