Robert and Myra Kraft with University President William P. Leahy, SJ, at a reception honoring the Krafts' gift to the Boston College Center for Christian-Jewish Learning. (Photo by Gary Gilbert)
Center for Christian-Jewish Learning Executive Director Philip A. Cunningham praised the Krafts' generosity and their willingness to fund the professorship outside of their own religious affiliation.
"The Krafts' gift reflects the spirit of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College and what we hope to accomplish as we promote new relationships and mutual understanding between Christians and Jews," said Cunningham.
"There can be no doubt that Jews and Christians live in unprecedented times when philanthropists from both communities endow a university center for research and education to promote Christian-Jewish understanding. The gift of Robert and Myra Kraft to endow a professorship for a Christian scholar will enable our center to pursue work on a grand scale that has never before been attempted. Together with the major gift of John Corcoran that established the center, we see a vivid and inspiring model of Christian-Jewish collaboration."
The Krafts were honored for their gift on July 15 at an appreciation dinner hosted by Boston College, which was attended by University President William Leahy, SJ and several current or former trustees including: Fidelity Vice Chairman Peter Lynch and wife Carolyn; Hill Holliday CEO John Connors Jr. and his wife Eileen; FHC GPC International CEO Thomas P. O'Neill III and wife Jacqueline; retired CEO and Chairman of Filenes Basement Inc. Sam Gerson and his wife Geraldine. Also present was Assoc. Prof. Rabbi Ruth Langer (Theology) and her husband Jonathon Sarna, head of Jewish Studies at Brandeis University.
Also this summer, the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning announced it will serve as the headquarters for an umbrella organization of 24 centers and institutes in the United States devoted to mutual understanding between Jews and Christians.
Known as the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations, the organization will support the work of groups such as the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Center for Theology and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, the Notre Dame Holocaust Project and the Baltimore-based Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies. Affiliate members from similar centers in other countries and representatives from Christian and Jewish agencies and religious bodies, including the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Council of Synagogues, also will be part of the council.
A Web page for the council, which will hold its first organizational meeting this October in Baltimore, is hosted on the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning's site, at www.bc.edu/bc_org/research/cjl/CCJR/Intro.htm.
-Sean Smith contributed to this story.
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