About Jewish-Catholic Relations and the Archdiocese of Chicago
At the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the Declaration Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”) called for Catholics and Jews to collaborate in “biblical and theological inquiry … and friendly discussions.” The Archdiocese of Chicago takes this declaration seriously and is committed to continuing to understand and work with the vibrant Jewish culture in the Chicagoland area through a variety of initiatives. A few of our engagements and programs include:
Annual Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Jerusalem Lecture
The Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Jerusalem Lecture continues and enriches the relationship between Jews and Catholics with an annual lecture on the theological issues affecting their communities. Each year’s lecture alternates between a Jewish/Catholic speaker and location. The Archdiocese of Chicago co-sponsors the event with AJC Chicago, Anti-Defamation League, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago Board of Rabbis, DePaul University, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership.
The Bernardin-Jerusalem Lecture series commemorates Joseph Cardinal Bernardin’s voyage to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, accompanied by local Catholic and Jewish leaders. On March 23, 1995, Cardinal Bernardin delivered a lecture entitled “Anti-Semitism: The Historical Legacy and the Continuing Challenge for Christians,” in the Senate Hall at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The lecture was the centerpiece of his visit to Israel. Upon returning to the United States, Cardinal Bernardin established an annual lecture to continue the high level of conversation between Chicago’s Jewish and Catholic communities around the theological issues affecting their relationship.
The 27th Annual Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Jerusalem Lecture: “Recovering a Jewish Jesus: An Imperative for the Church” will be in live-streamed at 7:00 p.m. (CDT) on March 4, 2024, and will also be in person at North Shore Congregation Israel, 1185 Sheridan Road, Glencoe, IL 60022. Please register below to attend in person or to receive the online link to the event.
Speaker: Prof. Mary C. Boys, SNJM, Union Theological Seminary, New York
Description: This lecture will explore how and why early followers of Jesus lost sight of his Jewish identity and analyze the historical consequences of this loss for both Christians and Jews. In continuity with Cardinal Bernardin’s 1995 Jerusalem Lecture on antisemitism, it will then examine the necessity in our time of recovering a Jewish Jesus, including the obligation of Christians to learn anew about Judaism from Jews.
To register, please click here.
Click here to access the lecture flyer.
Welcome and Introduction of Speakers: Rabbi Wendi Geffen, North Shore Congregation Israel
Opening Remarks: Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago
2024 Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Jerusalem Lecture: Prof. Mary C. Boys, SNJM, Union Theological Seminary, New York
Sponsors: Archdiocese of Chicago, AJC–Chicago, Anti-Defamation League, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago Board of Rabbis, DePaul University, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
Speaker: Dr. Sarit Kattan Gribetz, Associate Professor of Theology, Fordham University.
Description: First century historian Josephus tells an intriguing story about Queen Helena of Adiabene, a convert to Judaism, who fed people in Jerusalem’s famine, built a palace and a monumental tomb in which she is buried. It was visited by Christian pilgrims and her contributions to the temple were remembered by rabbis. She became the star of an anti-Christian polemic according to one set of Jewish traditions.
In this lecture, Prof. Gribetz will explore the fascinating, unexpected afterlife of Queen Adiabene and her enduring significance to both Jewish and Christian communities in antiquity and in contemporary Jewish-Christian relations.
Welcome: A. Gabriel Esteban, President, DePaul University
Introductions of Lecture Series and Speakers: Steve Stoute, JD, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Chief of Staff, DePaul University
Opening Remarks: Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago
2022 Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Jerusalem Lecture: Dr. Sarit Kattan Gribetz, Associate Professor of Theology, Fordham University
Moderated Q&A: Sr. Barbara Reid, O.P., President, Catholic Theological Union
The 25th Annual Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Jerusalem Lecture: Jewish-Catholic Dialogue: Western & Middle Eastern Views was live-streamed on May 13, 2021.
Click here for a video recording of the entire 2021 Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Jerusalem Lecture Program, including opening remarks, the lecture of His Beatitude, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Q&A session which followed.
Click here for the Patriarch’s written text of the 2021 Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Jerusalem Lecture.
“Becoming Human to One Another: Remarks in Commemoration of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin 25 Years after His Death” (PDF)
Rabbi Wendi Geffen
Holy Name Cathedral
November 1, 2021
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, together with a delegation of Jewish and Catholic leaders from Chicago, will reschedule their planned visit to Jerusalem where the Cardinal had been invited to deliver the 25th Annual Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Jerusalem Lecture at Hebrew University on March 16, 2020.
In light of developing concern over the spread of the coronavirus, the State of Israel imposed travel restrictions on persons entering the country from Italy. These restrictions affect some members of the Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Visit, making it impossible for all delegation members to make the trip together as planned. As a result, and upon the recommendation of the sponsoring organizations, Cardinal Cupich has decided that this important Dialogue Visit will be rescheduled for a future date.
Click here to read the text of Dr. Malka Simkovich’s lecture.
Jewish-Catholic Scholars Dialogue Group
This is an ongoing dialogue jointly sponsored by the Archdiocese with the Chicago Board of Rabbis and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. The group explores theological topics to increase understanding of religious beliefs between Catholics and Jews.
A Binding Commitment
This is a program sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League and the Archdiocesan Office for Catholic Schools and the EIA office. It is a two-day program offered to Catholic school teachers to explore the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish People. The program includes historical and theological learning, a Shabbat service, a Shabbat dinner with holocaust survivors and an excellent Holocaust curriculum, Echoes and Reflections, developed by the ADL.
Modern Israel: Holy Land and Jewish State
This is a joint project of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Chicago Jewish Federation. In this project, which has included a trip to Israel, Catholic educators explore the complexities of this place and build lesson plans for their own teaching across several disciplines (social studies, religion, science, etc.).
American Jewish Committee
Board of Rabbis
Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center