By GALINA NATENZON
With the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the recent political upheaval in the Arab world, and Europe grappling with virulent anti-Muslim sentiment, interfaith dialogue has taken a back seat on the world stage. But Burton L. Visotzky--rabbi, raconteur, author and bridge-builder--will shed light on this complicated picture, when he serves as Adath Shalom’s scholar-in-residence Friday and Saturday, Nov. 18 and 19, at the synagogue, 841 Mountain Way, Morris Plains.
Rabbi Mark Biller, the spiritual leader of Adath Shalom, will welcome the scholar-in-residence. “Rabbi Visotzky was one of my most wonderful teachers at the Jewish Theological Seminary,” Rabbi Biller said. “He mixes humor with deep insight to teach history, Jewish midrash, and politics.”
Rabbi Visotzky has a wide-ranging background in interfaith relations. He has spoken with the president, the pope, and the Saudi king. He consults with the State Department and has met with imams the world over. This lively, engaging and entertaining speaker has made a career out of promoting understanding between the faiths, a specialty that won him recognition in a recent issue of Newsweek.
A professor of rabbinic literature and interreligious studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Visotzky will educate and update participants on the current state of Muslim-Jewish and Christian-Jewish relationships. He will also offer historical and religious insights into the current state of interfaith relations.
Rabbi Visotzky will lead several discussions as Adath Shalom’s scholar-in-residence. On Friday evening, Nov. 18, at a sponsor dinner, he will give a short talk based on his new book, Sage Tales: Wisdom and Wonder from the Rabbis of the Talmud (Jewish Lights Publishing). During Friday night Shabbat services, he will focus on Jewish relations with the Vatican. Rabbi Visotzky, who has spent much of his career trading insights with high-ranking Catholic, Protestant and Muslim clergy, has served as visiting professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
On Saturday morning, Nov. 19, he will give a sermon titled “Isaac Unbound: Three Religions Read the Akedah (the binding of Isaac),” examining how each of the three Abrahamic faiths views this biblical story. At a Kiddush luncheon following Saturday services, the scholar-in-residence will discuss “From Cairo to Qatar: Recent Developments in Jewish-Muslim Dialogue.”
To register for the scholar-in-residence program, contact email@example.com; 973-539-4440, or visit www.adathshalom.net.
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