Cardinal O’Malley visits Merrimack for Goldziher Award Dinner
Cardinal Sean O’Malley came to Merrimack on Monday, October 15 to honor Rabbi Burton Visotzky of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. The College awarded Rabbi Visotzky its prestigious Goldziher Award for his courageous and pioneering work in Jewish-Muslim Relations.
President Christopher Hopey bestowed the $25,000 prize on Rabbi Visotzky at a dinner in the Merrimack Club. Cardinal O’Malley’s presence emphasized the importance which the Catholic Church places on interfaith dialogue. In his acceptance speech, the Rabbi expressed his thanks to the College and the Cardinal for recognizing his work for mutual respect and understanding among Jews and Muslims.
The College’s Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations awards the Goldziher prize every two years to a scholar or activist who advances reconciliation among Jews and Muslims. Dr. Joseph Kelley, Director of the Center, explained that the award is made possible by a generous grant from the William and Mary Greve Foundation, which supports several dimensions of the Center’s work.
Many distinguished Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders gathered from around the country and the world to honor Rabbi Visotzky. Prior to the award dinner, eleven of these visitors met with seventy-five Merrimack students in a program called “Heroes and Worship.” The students met in small groups with the interfaith “heroes” to learn about their work and to ask questions. The “heroes” included a Palestinian activist from Hebron, a former State Department official who served in Libya, an independent film maker whose work is screened around the world, a woman leader from the Islamic community in Boston, Rabbi Visotzky, and New England’s leading Imam, Dr. Mohamed Lazzouni who is also chair of the Center’s Advisory Board.
Rabbi Visotzky will return to Merrimack in Spring 2014 to deliver his Goldziher lecture. At that time the next awardee will be announced. A jury of interfaith scholars chooses the winner from nominations received from across the globe.
- Credit: K. Salemme
- Credit: Y. Havusha
- Credit: K. Salemme