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Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations

2012 Prize Winner Announced


Winner of the 2012 Ignać Goldziher Prize for Jewish-Muslim Relations is Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky


On March 13, 2012 the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at Merrimack College announced the winner of its second biennial prize for Jewish-Muslim dialogue: Rabbi Burton Visotzky, professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.

Since 1995 Rabbi Burton Visotzky has been deeply involved in work that contributes significantly to reverence, understanding and collaboration in common moral purposes between Jews and Muslims. He is a Conservative rabbi, and Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City where he also directs the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies. In addition, he is the inaugural director of the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue at JTS. Rabbi Visotzky has worked locally, nationally, and internationally to advance mutual respect and understanding among Jews and Muslims, including extensive work with the State Department, the Pew Charitable Trust, the Carnegie Foundation, the Islamic Society of North America, the Hartford Seminary, and Union Theological Seminary, among other organizations. Read the full announcement here.

Two finalists for the Prize are Jacob Bender of New York and Aaron Hahn Tapper of San Francisco.

Jacob Bender is an independent documentary film director and producer best known for Out of Cordoba: Averroes and Maimonides in Their Time and Ours. This film tells the dramatic life stories and writings of two geniuses that emerged from Medieval Muslim Spain: Rabbi Moses Maimonides, and the Muslim philosopher Ibn Rushd known in the West as Averroes. Out of Cordoba was premiered at Amnesty International’s Human rights Arts Festival in Washington, DC in 2010 and since then has been broadcast on Spanish public television and at over 70 screenings at synagogues, churches, mosques, universities, and film festivals around the world.

Aaron Hahn Tapper is Assistant Professor, holder of the Benjamin Swig Chair of Judaic Studies, and Director of the Jewish Studies and Social Justice Program at the University of San Francisco. He is a scholar-activist, committed to studying Jewish-Muslim Relations, Judaism, and Islam academically, while translating his scholarship into tangible ways to improve society. He is founder of the not-for-profit organization “Abraham’s Vision” which puts into practice the ideals of Jewish-Muslim dialogue. The organization empowers young people from Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, and Palestinian background to explore their individual and group identities through education.

Through the generosity of the William and Mary Greve Foundation and the leadership of John Kiser, a principal of the Foundation, the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at Merrimack College offers a $25,000 prize every other year in honor of Ignać Goldziher.

Inquiries regarding the Goldziher Award may be directed to:
Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations
Merrimack College
315 Turnpike Street, GL-55
North Andover, MA 01845