“Prophetic Judaism and its Significance for Our Time”
Thursday, February 6, 1:30 am – 1:00 pm
Congregation Schaarai Zedek
Rabbi Jack Bemporad is the director of the nonprofit Center for Interreligious Understanding (CIU), which he founded in 1992. Its aim is to bring people of all religious faiths together to promote open dialogue, mutual respect, and theological understanding of the common foundations shared by the world’s religions. Rabbi Bemporad began teaching at Vatican universities in 1998 and has been Director of the John Paul II Center and Professor of Interreligious Studies, both at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), in Rome since 2009. Concurrently, he also serves as Rabbi of Congregation Micah of New Jersey, in Cresskill.
Fleeing the fascist takeover in Italy prior to WWII, Bemporad and his family traveled to the U.S. when he was five years old. Thus, having personally suffered as the result of persecution and prejudice, he has dedicated his career to improving relations among Christians, Muslims, and Jews worldwide. The Rabbi is recognized internationally for his diplomatic skill and leadership in matters of religious understanding and reconciliation. He is one of the rare Jewish leaders to have had a personal audience with Pope John XXIII, numerous personal audiences with Pope John Paul II, and was one of three rabbis to have blessed him shortly before his death. Most recently, he met with Pope Francis at the conclusion of the “Refugees and Migrants” conference, co-sponsored by the CIU in Rome this past November.
From 1966-72, Rabbi Bemporad served as Chairman of the Interreligious Affairs Committee of the Synagogue Council of America. He was chief rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas from 1972-83, and concurrently served as Professor of Philosophy at Southern Methodist University during those years. He taught philosophy at Hebrew Union College in New York as well, from 1960-65 and from 1965-72 was Director of Worship and Adult Education for the Reform Movement, based in New York.