The Center for Interreligious Understanding (CIU)
Faith in Dialogue
Russ Berrie and other Jewish leaders meet Pope
John Paul II in Rome
Russ Berrie wished to support efforts to build a pluralistic world where people of all faiths could co-exist peacefully and be respectful of each other's religious traditions. He sought to explore ways to build those bridges so his children could live in a world where different religious traditions share the same space, dialogue with each other and foster understanding.
Since 1997, the Center for Interreligious Understanding has received support from Mr. Berrie. Founded over 30 years ago by Rabbi Jack Bemporad, an internationally recognized theologian and interfaith community leader who has been involved in Jewish-Catholic dialogue at the highest levels, the Center develops and implements educational programs and initiates policy leadership strategies for advancing the cause of interreligious understanding.
Highlights of CIU’s work include:
- Rabbi Bemporad has been at the center of many successful negotiations between Church and Jewish leadership, most notably the Prague Accord, the relocation of the Carmelite Convent in Auschwitz and the negotiation of full diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the State of Israel.
- On January 18, 2005, Rabbi Bemporad offered a blessing to Pope John Paul II at the Vatican as part of a historic meeting with the world Jewish community. The interfaith meeting was one of the Pope’s final public events.
Interreligious Dialogue Programming:
- Through its historic Menorah Project, the CIU places Holocaust menorahs in major Catholic centers throughout the United States, bringing Christians and Jews together to remember the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust and raise awareness of anti-Semitism. Menorahs have already been placed in Baltimore, Dallas, Boston, Washington, D.C. and most recently in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City.
- The CIU also celebrates the common values of the world’s religions with its unique educational action guide called "Friends in Faith." Through simple, engaging classroom activities, the guide offers a chance for teachers, students, religious leaders and community members to explore the many religious and cultural traditions that are part of our shared experience and create opportunities to work together to build a better society.
To Learn more about CIU please visit ciunow.org