Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding

Holy Cross is committed to deepening understanding of Judaism, Jewish life around the world, and Jewish-Christian relations. Funded by the College and by the Kraft-Hiatt family, the Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding sponsors a number of opportunities that continue to have profound impact on individual student and faculty participants and the campus community at large. The initiative includes:

Lecture Series

Each semester, the McFarland Center presents Kraft-Hiatt lectures on the Holocaust, Jewish history and contemporary Jewish faith and life. Recent guest speakers have included Yaakov Katz, Rabbi Abie Ingber, Ervin Staub, Marion Kaplan, Alan Rosen, Yehuda Bauer, Nir Eisikovits and Aaron Levine. In collaboration with the Worcester JCC, the Center has hosted talks by Paula Fredriksen and James Carroll. Audio and/or video recordings of many past lectures are available below.

Fall 2015 events

NEW DATE! Monday, October 26, 2015
Jesuit Kaddish: Encounters between Jesuits and Jews and Why These Might Matter to Us — Rev. James Bernauer, S.J., is professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, and co-editor of “The Tragic Couple: Encounters Between Jews and Jesuits" (Brill, 2013). His talk will offer an overview of how Jesuits became a leader in dialogue with Jews and will focus on encounters in the 20th century, with special attention on the historical context of the Holocaust. Co-sponsored by the Mission and Identity Committee.  

International Visiting Kraft-Hiatt Fellow, Fall 2013

Dror Brurstein teaches Hebrew literature at Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University in Israel. He has been awarded the Jerusalem Prize for Literature (1997), the Ministry of Science and Culture Prize for Poetry (2002), the Bernstein Prize for his novel, "Avner Brenner" (2005) and the Prime Minister's Prize (2006). At Holy Cross, he taught a course on Genesis in Art and Literature, exploring the Book of Genesis through the eye of various disciplines and artistic media. He also gave two public lectures:

Pictures of Meat — Animals, both dead and alive, inhabit numerous paintings in all human cultures. In this illustrated lecture, Dror Burstein highlights paintings in which the death of the animals depicted may be seen as an outrage - and therefore observing the picture is outrageous too - as well as paintings in which the possibility of co-existence and even harmony between man and animal is imaginable. Among the artists presented will be Goya, Doré and Bada Shanren. October 21, 2013

Why it is (almost) impossible to write a novel in Israel these days - Burstein gives a talk and reading from his latest book "Netanya," which weaves reminiscence, fiction and amateur science into a meditation on both a personal and cosmic scale. Part of the Creative Writing Series. November 14, 2013

Burstein's fellowship was made possible primarily through the Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artists Program.

Summer Opportunities for Students

Students may apply for a study abroad scholarship program to participate in the Rothberg Summer Institute at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Caitlin Cantor '15 is studying in Israel on a Kraft-Hiatt funded scholarship in the summer of 2013. Past participants have studied archaeology and architecture and Israeli history and Jewish culture.

Download PDF to learn more.

The Kraft-Hiatt Fund also funds student research through the Mellon summer research program. The deadline for student applications is usually in October. Students should contact Professor Daniel Klinghard for the Mellon program.

Faculty Participation in Seminars at Yad Vashem

Each summer, Holy Cross sends a faculty member to participate in the intensive International Seminar for Educators Teaching about the Shoah and Antisemitism at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

Hear about the experience from one alumnus, Daniel Bitran, associate professor of psychology, who studied at Yad Vashem in July 2008. Bitran gave a public lecture titled "Lessons from the Shoah: Why we teach the Holocaust at Holy Cross."
Listen online »

Faculty Advisory Committee

A Faculty Advisory Committee oversees the Kraft-Hiatt initiative. Its members include:

Alan J. Avery-Peck, Kraft-Hiatt Professor in Judaic Studies
Daniel Bitran, Professor, Psychology
Patricia Bizzell, Professor, English
Noel Cary, Associate Professor, History
Rev. Paul F. Harman, S.J., Vice President for Mission
Ed Isser, Associate Professor, Theater
Caroline E. Johnson Hodge, Associate Professor, Religious Studies
Neal Lipsitz, Associate Dean for Student Development; Lecturer, Psychology
Theresa McBride, Professor, History
Thomas M. Landy, Director, McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture; Lecturer, Sociology

The Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding at the College of the Holy Cross is a member of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations, an association of centers and institutes in the United States and Canada devoted to enhancing mutual understanding between Jews and Christians.


Past Lectures

April 15, 2015
Père Marie-Benoît and Jewish Rescue  — Historian and author Susan Zuccotti discusses her recent biography of the French Capuchin priest, “Père Marie-Benoît and Jewish Rescue: How a French Priest Together with Jewish Friends Saved Thousands during the Holocaust” (Indiana University Press, 2013). Zuccotti, author of "The Italians and the Holocaust: Persecution, Rescue, and Survival," has taught Holocaust history at Barnard College and Trinity College.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

April 8, 2015
Teaching at the Jezreel Valley Art Center in Israel, where Jewish, Christian and Muslim Youth are Making Music Together — Acclaimed harpsichordist Marina Minkin was born in the Ukraine and immigrated to Israel in 1981. In a luncheon discussion, she shares her experiences teaching at the Jezreel Valley Art Center in Israel, where both students and teachers represent the cultural and ethnic mosaic of the region, including Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims, religious and secular.

February 25, 2015
Oh God — The Israeli Stage, a Boston-based theatre troupe dedicated to producing the works of Israeli playwrights for college audiences, reprises their American premiere of Anat Gov’s play about a psychotherapist and single mother to an autistic child who gets a visit from a new, desperate patient: God.

February 24, 2015
The Pope and Mussolini — David Kertzer talks about his recent book, “The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe” (Random House, 2014). He is the Paul Dupee University Professor of Social Science at Brown University, where he is also professor of anthropology and Italian studies. Co-sponsored with the Worcester JCC.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

November 3, 2014
To Capture the Fire: The Life and Works of Elie Wiesel — Alan Rosen, a renowned scholar of Holocaust literature, talks about the life and works of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, under whom Rosen studied. Rosen is editor of "Celebrating Elie Wiesel: Stories, Essays, Reflections" (University of Notre Dame Press, 1998), "Approaches to Teaching Wiesel’s Night" (Modern Language Association, 2007) and, with Steven Katz, "Obliged by Memory: Literature, Religion, Ethics: A Collection of Essays Honoring Elie Wiesel’s Seventieth Birthday" (Syracuse University Press, 2006).
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

October 6, 2014
Understanding American Jews: demographically complicated, religiously diverse, stronger than ever, and still at risk — Rabbi Eric Yoffie is a writer, lecturer, and internationally known religious leader. A Worcester native, he is president emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews in the United States and Canada. Co-sponsored with the Worcester JCC, the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts and Temple Emanuel Sinai. Read more.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

March 20, 2014
Food that Divides, Food that Unites: Food Metaphors for the Experience of the Divine in Jewish and Christian Tradition— Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus, professor and chair of religion and coordinator of Jewish Studies at Wheaton College, analyzes religious rituals involving food that are intended to create synaesthetic, or multi-sensory, experiences.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

November 7, 2013
Jesus and Judaism: The Connection Matters - Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University. Author of  "The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus" and an editor of "The Historical Jesus in Context," Levine explains how understanding Jesus in his Jewish context brings new meaning to his parables, his politics, and his piety, and it offers as well a new path for Jewish-Christian relations.

Thursday, October 24, 2013
Jewish Music and Musicians from 17th-Century Italy to 21st-Century America: The Sounds of Faith, Perseverance and Optimism - Mark Kroll is professor emeritus at Boston University and harpsichordist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His lecture traces, in words and music, the rise, fall, and rebirth of the Jewish performers and composers such as Salomone Rossi, Felix Mendelssohn, Ferdinand Hiller, Leonard Bernstein and others.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

March 21, 2013
Israel's Security in a Changing Middle East - Yaakov Katz, the military reporter and defense analyst for The Jerusalem Post and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, talks about the changes in the Middle East and their impact on Israel's strategic standing in the region. He also offers a close look at the threat posed to Israel by Iran with its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

March 14, 2013
From Tolerance to Celebration: Confessions of a Jewish Bridge Builder — Rabbi Abie Ingber is executive director of the Center for Interfaith Community Engagement at Xavier University. Recognized for his work in advancing Catholic-Jewish dialogue, he shares opportunities for interfaith collaboration and celebration at Holy Cross.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

November 5, 2012
Passivity of Bystanders in Genocide and Mass Killings, and Generating Active Bystandership — Ervin Staub is professor of psychology emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and founding director of it Ph.D. concentration in the Psychology of Peace and Violence. He has also worked in the field to develop training programs after the Rodney King riots, Hurricane Katrina, and in Rwanda, and served as an expert witness in the Abu Ghraib trials.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

April 25, 2012
Jewish Life in Nazi Germany - Marion Kaplan, Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History at New York University, has written extensively on how Jews, and particularly Jewish women, negotiated everyday life and coped with the repression of everyday sociability in Hitler's Germany. This lecture was sponsored by the Derrick Lecture Fund of the Department of History, with additional support from Peace and Conflict Studies, Philosophy, and the McFarland Center.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

April 24, 2012
Oral History of a Holocaust and Schindler's List Survivor - When the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, Rena Ferber Finder was a Jewish girl living in Kracow. In this oral history, she shares her stories of life before the war, being relocated to the ghetto, time spent in Auschwitz, and working for German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who ultimately saved her.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

February 28, 2012
"The Words, Too, Will Nourish": Poetry and Resistance — Alan Rosen, a Holocaust scholar who teaches at Yad Vashem, considers how poetry written during the Holocaust and after served as a form of spiritual resistance.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

November 16, 2011
Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and JudaismPaula Fredriksen, William Goodwin Aurelio Chair Emerita of the Appreciation of Scripture at Boston University, talks about her recent book, which traces the origins and growth of Christian anti-Judaism, while exploring Augustine's singular response and challenge to it. The lecture was presented with the Worcester JCC.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»
Download Paula Fredriksen's handout (pdf)

October 17, 2011
Stuck: Why Israel is in so much trouble and how it can dig out — Nir Eisikovits teaches legal and political philosophy at Suffolk University, where he co-founded and directs the Graduate Program in Ethics and Public Policy. His teaching and writing focus on how countries emerge from war and how they come to terms with their past. He is a senior fellow at the International Center for Conciliation and author of Sympathizing with the Enemy: Reconciliation, Transitional Justice, Negotiation. His talk is co-sponsored with Peace and Conflict Studies. Read more.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

March 15, 2011
James Carroll on Jerusalem - Renowned author and Boston Globe columnist James Carroll, distinguished scholar in residence at Suffolk University, speaks about his newest book Jerusalem, Jerusalem: How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World. Presented in partnership with the Worcester JCC, Congregation Beth Israel, Temple Emanuel and Temple Sinai.
Listen online» | iTunes download»

March 2, 2011
Killing Time, Saving Time: Defying the Holocaust by Counting the Days - Alan Rosen, renowned Holocaust scholar and educator, talks about his current project, "A New Index for Time: Calendars and the Holocaust." Deprived of basic physical and cultural necessities, Holocaust victims often found it impossible simply to keep track of the day's date. Rosen shares a new vocabulary for timekeeping as well as the calendars and diaries victims kept while in hiding and in ghettos.
Listen online» | iTunes download»

October 25, 2010
From Brother to Other and Back - Eugene Pogany, author of In My Brother's Image: Twin Brothers Separated by Faith After the Holocaust, tells how the disparate experiences of his father and uncle during the Holocaust irreparably severed their twin bond. Pogany is a practicing psychologist in Newton, Mass. He has written and lectured over the past several years on subjects relating to Jewish-Christian relations, the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.
Listen online» | iTunes download»

March 23, 2010
The Representation of the Holocaust in Poetry - Marc Lee Raphael is professor and chair of religious studies, Nathan and Sophia Gumenick Professor of Judaic Studies and director of the program and minor in Judaic Studies at the College of William and Mary.

November 18, 2009
The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany - Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, discussed the influence of Nazism on German Protestant theologians during the Third Reich.
Listen online» | iTunes download»

November 12, 2009
"How to Prevent the Next Great Depression: A Jewish Law Perspective." Aaron Levine is the Samson and Halina Bitensky Professor of Economics and chairman of the department at Yeshiva University. A noted authority on Jewish commercial law, he recently published "The Global Recession and Jewish Law” in American Economist and is editor of the forthcoming publication Judaism and Economics (Oxford University Press, Spring 2010).
Listen online» | iTunes download»

November 11, 2009
Summer in the Holy Land — Two students, Amy Lazarus '10 and Miriam Westin '11, shared their experiences as part of the Rothberg Summer Institute at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, last summer. Amy spoke about studying Judaism in Jerusalem and of her interactions with local Israelis and fellow international students. Miriaml shared what was unearthed during her three-week archaeological dig at Tel Hazor in Northern Israel and talked about her experiences living in a kibbutz.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Holocaust and the Jewish Resistance — Yehuda Bauer is known worldwide as a compelling speaker and one of the world's most important scholars on holocaust studies.

March 16, 2009
The Religious Enlightenment - David Sorkin, professor of history and Frances and Laurence Weinstein Professor of Jewish Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison, suggests that the Enlightenment, which gave birth to Modernity, should best be understood as a religious, not an anti-religious, project.
Listen online» | iTunes download»

March 17, 2009
Lessons from the Shoah: Why we teach the Holocaust at Holy Cross, Daniel Bitran, associate professor of psychology, visited Yad Vashem in Jerusalem in 2008 and participated in the intensive International Seminar for Educators Teaching about the Shoah and Antisemitism. His lecture reflected on his experience and the ways we can better understand and teach the Holocaust at Holy Cross.
Listen online» | iTunes download»