Understanding Islam: A Webinar Series for Future Jewish Clergy

Monday, March 6, 2017

Sponsors: Hebrew Union College-Institute of Jewish Religion; Hebrew College; The Jewish Theological Seminary; Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (list in formation)

This educational initiative is designed to provide students with an informed introduction to Islam by leading experts in the field. Participants will learn via video conference from outstanding scholars of Islam and Muslim community leaders, as well as with their Jewish peers from different schools (see details below). This effort is spurred, in part, by the recent rise in hate crimes against Muslims in the United States and Canada, and the recent proposed travel ban by President Trump against travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. Given the highly polarized nature of the public discourse on Islam and Muslims, it is crucial for Jewish leaders to gain a greater understanding of the history, ideals, sacred texts and practices of Islam, as well as the contemporary Muslim experience in the US and elsewhere around the world. It is our hope that this webinar series will help students begin this journey.

Thursday, March 9, 1:10-2:00 PM (EST)
Session I: “The Rise of Islam & the Figure of Muhammad”
Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles

Tuesday, March 21, 1:10-2:00 PM (EST)
Session II: “Sharia & Contemporary Life”
Celene Ibrahim, M.Div., Hebrew College & Andover Newton Theological School, Boston

Thursday, March 30, 1:10-2:00 PM (EST)
Session III: “Islam & Other Religions”
Dr. Homayra Ziad, Institute of Islamic, Christian, Jewish Studies, Washington, DC

  • Each session will include a brief introduction, a 30-35-minute presentation by the instructor, and a 15-minute question-and-answer period
  • Short readings will be distributed several days before each presentation (suggested, not required)
  • Students, faculty, staff, and alumni may participate in the sessions individually or may wish to do so in groups
  • Presentations will be recorded and available to view for several weeks after the series concludes
  • More Information on the webinar platform forthcoming

If you have any questions, please contact the Webinar Series Coordinators: 
Rabbi Or Rose, Hebrew College, orose@hebrewcollege.edu
Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay, The Jewish Theological Seminary, struskay@jtsa.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