Symposium on Religious Perceptions of Poverty and Welfare Policy at HUC-JIR's Ethics Center, Cincinnati May 7-9

Friday, April 1, 2005

View the Symposium's program (pdf format) 

CINCINNATI - Hebrew Union College-University of Cincinnati Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems (HUC-UC Ethics Center) and Union Institute & University will hold a two-day symposium beginning with a welcome reception at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 7, 2005, at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), 3101 Clifton Avenue. 

The "Symposium on Religious Perceptions of Poverty and Welfare Policy" will explore the issue of religious perceptions of poverty and how such perceptions influenced the institution and administration of welfare policies throughout history. There will be four sessions, each of which will address a different historical era. The medieval period, the renaissance, the modern period (late 19th and early 20th centuries), and contemporary issues (the 1990s and early 21st century) are the time frames examined by this symposium, which seeks to evaluate religious reflections of the poor and their proper treatment throughout a millennium. 

The discussions themselves begin with a buffet lunch at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, May 8. The first session, "Poverty and the Genesis of Welfare Policy: The Medieval Period," begins at 12:15 p.m. and will be led by Dr. Jonathan Cohen, of HUC-JIR, Dr. James Brodman, of the University of Central Arkansas and Dr. Adam Sabra, of Western Michigan University. The second session, at 3 p.m., is entitled "Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish Welfare Institutions in the Renaissance" and features Dr. David D'Andrea, of Oklahoma State University, Dr. Alyssa Gray, of HUC-JIR and Dr. Timothy Fehler, of Furman University. "Religion and Welfare in the Modern Nation State" is Sunday's final discussion, which begins at 6:30 p.m. The presenters at this session are Dr. John E. Tropman, of the University of Michigan, Dr. Kenneth D. Wald, of the University of Florida and Dr. Cornelia Wilhelm, of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany. 

Monday's series will begin at 8 a.m. with breakfast followed by "Poverty, Welfare, and Religion: Contemporary Issues" at 8:30 a.m. Presiding on this panel are Dr. Christopher M. Duncan, of the University of Dayton, Ms. Alice Skirtz, of Union Institute & University and Dr. Andrew D. Walsh, of Culver-Stockton College. 

The symposium will conclude with a discussion of the future of these issues and ways society and religion will address them. An esteemed panel, including Rabbi David Ellenson, president of HUC-JIR, Dr. Roger Sublett, president of Union Institute & University, Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Peter Edelman of Georgetown University, former Counselor to the Clinton administration, will lead this final discussion at 11 a.m., Monday, May 9. 

The influence of religious thought on welfare policies in the Western world has been the subject of considerable scholarly work. However, there is no single volume dedicated to examining this issue from multi-religious perspectives. The subject is of great contemporary significance, and the planned symposium has already generated the interest of prominent and emerging scholars of poverty, social work and welfare policy and legislation. 

Additional support for this program comes from the Ohio Humanities Council and the Donald J. and Dr. Norma K. Stone Ethics Lecture Fellowship. The proceedings of the symposium will be published in the Journal of Poverty. The symposium will also offer continuing education credit opportunities for social workers. For fees and additional information contact HUC-UC Ethics Center at 513-221-1875 x3367 or email ethics@huc.edu .


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu