Rabbi Michael Marmur '92, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Jewish Theology at HUC-JIR's Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem, participated in a meeting of the Abrahamic Faiths Initiative, which brought together 25 senior global religious leaders -- Jews, Christians, and Muslims -- from around the world for a two-day working dialogue at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. One of the conveners of the forum is Rabbi David Saperstein '73, who served as U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom between 2015-2017, and is currently the President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. The meeting included the formulation of a statement, and an audience with Pope Francis.
"I was honored and delighted to participate in this meeting," stated Rabbi Marmur. "To encounter some of the leading exponents of Abrahamic faiths from around the world and to share our differences and similarities was fascinating. The Pope encouraged us to consider how remarkable it is that people from such diverse religious backgrounds could meet together in solidarity and in a constructive spirit. It was the case in the past that many exponents of Abrahamic religions stayed away from interreligious connection because of the existential fear that our religion would be weakened as a result. In 2020, we are motivated by a new awareness: that if we feel to meet each other in meaningful ways, respecting difference and advancing solidarity, the prospects for all of us are bleak."
The Abrahamic Faiths Initiative Statement says, in part, "We commit to challenge ourselves and our faith communities, to seek to serve those of other faiths and of no faith. Now is the time for those who embrace these Abrahamic ideals to act with wise and effective strategies and tactics to implement these values across the globe. To do so, we commit to working together or individually, whichever is more effective in a given community or nation. We call to those of good conscience in every religion and no religion to join us in acting."
Dr. Marmur served as the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost at HUC-JIR until July 2018, and previously served as Dean of the Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem. In recent years, he has taught courses in Theology, Parashat Hashavuah, Homiletics, and Pluralistic Jewish Education. He is currently the Chair of the Board of Rabbis for Human Rights. He has published several popular and academic articles. He is the author of Abraham Joshua Heschel and the Sources of Wonder (University of Toronto Press, 2016) and co-editor, together with David Ellenson, of American Jewish Thought Since 1934, due to be published by Brandeis University Press in the Spring of 2020. Born and raised in England, Rabbi Marmur completed a B.A. in Modern History at the University of Oxford before moving to Israel in 1984. While studying for an M.A. in Ancient Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he completed his studies in the Israel Rabbinical Program and was ordained in 1992. For six years following his ordination, he worked as rabbi and teacher at the Leo Baeck Education Center in Haifa.