Eighteen American Christian leaders from across the United States, representing diverse religious institutions, have begun studying Judaism in the 13-month Christian Leadership Initiative (CLI) in Israel this week. The intensive educational program, co-sponsored by AJC and the Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI) is taught by world-class SHI faculty.
“The experience of Christian and Jewish scholars studying texts together is transformational. SHI faculty look forward to welcoming the CLI group every year, because as we teach them, we are pushed to consider deeper questions and different perspectives,” said Dr. Marcie Lenk, Shalom Hartman Institute Co-Director of New Paths: Christians Engaging Israel.
The theme of the opening seminar (July 15 -24), “God and Judaism,” introduces the multifaceted approaches of Jewish doctrine, spirituality, and theology. After returning to the U.S at the end of July, CLI fellows will engage in monthly distance-learning sessions. They will return to Jerusalem in July 2015 for the concluding seminar on Jewish community. With generous support from the Allen H. and Selma W. Berkman Charitable Trust, CLI has been advancing professional development for top leadership of Christian seminaries, denominations, and theological schools since 2008. To date, 41 leaders, representing the full spectrum of Christian denominations in the U.S., have participated in CLI and maintain the connection with peers, faculty, and the institutions through alumni programming.