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The Elijah Interfaith Institute

The Elijah Interfaith Institute

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The Elijah Interfaith Institute is a nonprofit, international, interfaith organization which was founded by Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein
Alon Goshen-Gottstein
Alon Goshen-Gottstein is founder and director of The Elijah Interfaith Institute as well as a rabbi, writer, teacher, lecturer, and musician.-Early life:...

 in 1997. Its mission is to foster peace between the world's diverse faith communities through interfaith dialogue, education, research and dissemination. Its unique programming generates interfaith dialogue at the highest levels, bringing together world religious leaders and renowned scholars the world over, through research projects, public conferences and community-based initiatives.

The Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders

The Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders brings together some of the world's most prominent religious figures from Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and the Religions of India in order to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas that leads to transformation within religions and their teachings. The board represents an opportunity for these religious leaders to collectively address today's problems from within the resources of their own traditions. In 2008 a decision was made to create a Steering Committee for the Board, whereas religious leaders would take fuller ownership of the Board and undertake to plan and to enhance its activities.

Buddhist Leaders

  • His Holiness the Dalai Lama
    14th Dalai Lama
    The 14th Dalai Lama is the 14th and current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are the most influential figures in the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, although the 14th has consolidated control over the other lineages in recent years...

    , India
  • Jan Chozen Bays
    Jan Chozen Bays
    Jan Chozen Bays, MD , is a pediatrician and Zen teacher practicing in Oregon. With her husband Laren Hogen Bays, since 1985 she has been a teacher at the Zen Community of Oregon, a Zen center or sangha in Portland, Oregon. Chozen and Hogen Bays are also co-founders of the Great Vow Zen Monastery...

    , USA
  • Venerable Norman Fischer, USA
  • Venerable Blanche Zenkei Hartman, USA
  • Dharma Master Hsin Tao
    Hsin Tao
    Dharma Master Hsin Tao is a Buddhist monk who set up the Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Foundation in 1989.Hsin Tao was born in Burma and is now based in Taiwan. His family were from Yunnan in China. He founded a monastery in Taiwan...

    , Taiwan
  • Venerable Bhikkhuni Kusuma, Sri Lanka
  • Venerable Professor Jinwol Sunim, Korea
  • Venerable Sayadaw Ashin Nyanissara, Myanmar
  • Venerable Khandro Rinpoche
    Khandro Rinpoche
    Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche is a rare example of a female Tibetan Buddhist lama...

    , India
  • Venerable Phradharmakosajarn
    Phra Dharmakosajarn
    Dr. Phra Dharmakosajarn is a Buddhist Chief Abbot of Wat Prayurawongsawat in Bangkok, and a member of the Secretariat to the Executive Committee for the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand. He also serves as Rector of Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in Thailand, and is the Ecclesiastical...

    , Thailand
  • Venerable Karma Lekshe Tsomo, USA

Christian leaders

  • Archbishop
    An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

     Hilarion Alfeyev
    Hilarion Alfeyev
    Hilarion Alfeyev is a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church. At present he is the Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations and a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow...

    , Russia
  • Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Turkey
  • Prior
    Prior is an ecclesiastical title, derived from the Latin adjective for 'earlier, first', with several notable uses.-Monastic superiors:A Prior is a monastic superior, usually lower in rank than an Abbot. In the Rule of St...

     Isabelle Flye-Saintmarie, Israel
  • The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, Former Presiding Bishop
    Presiding Bishop
    The Presiding Bishop is an ecclesiastical position in some denominations of Christianity.- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America :The Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the chief ecumenical officer of the church, and the leader and caretaker for the bishops of the...

    , USA
  • Bishop Lennart Koskinen
    Lennart Koskinen
    Lennart Koskinen , is a clergyman in the Church of Sweden, serving as Bishop in Visby.- References :...

    , Sweden
  • Cardinal
    Cardinal (Catholicism)
    A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

     Jorge Maria Mejia
    Jorge María Mejía
    Jorge María Mejía is an Argentine Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is Archivist Emeritus of the Holy Roman Church and Librarian Emeritus of the Holy Roman Church.-Early life and ordination:...

    , Vatican
    Holy See
    The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

  • Patriarch
    Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople
    The Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople also known as Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul is today head of The Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople , one of the smallest Patriarchates of the Oriental Orthodox Church but one that has exerted a very significant political role and today still exercises...

     Mesrob II, Turkey
  • Archbishop Boutrous Mouallem, Israel
  • Bishop Vincentiu Grifoni, Romania
  • Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, India
  • Abbot Primate Notker Wolf
    Notker Wolf
    Notker Wolf OSB is the current Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict. He was elected to his position as Abbot Primate in 2000, succeeding Marcel Rooney. He lives at the Confederation's headquarters at Sant'Anselmo in Rome. The position is largely honorary...

    Order of Saint Benedict
    The Order of Saint Benedict is a Roman Catholic religious order of independent monastic communities that observe the Rule of St. Benedict. Within the order, each individual community maintains its own autonomy, while the organization as a whole exists to represent their mutual interests...

    , Italy

Religions of India leaders

  • Swami Agnivesh
    Swami Agnivesh
    Agnivesh is an Indian social worker, self-proclaimed Arya Samaj scholar, and a Hindu social activist. He is best known for his work against bonded labour through the Bonded Labour Liberation Front, which he founded in 1981...

    , India
  • Sudhamani Mata Amritananda Mayi
    Mata Amritanandamayi
    Mātā Amṛtānandamayī Devī , primarily known simply as Amma ["Mother"], is a Hindu spiritual leader and guru, who is revered as a saint by her followers. She is widely respected for her humanitarian activities...

     (Amma), India
  • Swami Atmapriyananda, India
  • Acharya Shri Shrivatsa Goswami, India
  • Dadi Janki, India
  • Guruji Sri Rishi Prabhakar
    Sri Rishi Prabhakar
    Sri Rishi Prabhakar is an aeronautical engineer, a computer scientist and the founder of Sidha Samadhi Yoga .-Education:Prabhakar graduated with Engineering from the Bangalore University, India and received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario.Prabhakar...

    , India
  • H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
    Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
    Ravi Shankar usually known as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, born Ravi Shankar Ratnam, born 13 May 1956) is a spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation , which aims at relieving individual stress, societal problems and violence. It is an NGO with UNESCO consultative status...

    , India
  • Bhai Mohinder Singh, England
  • His Holiness Chandra Swami, India
  • His Holiness Sri Sri Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji, India

Jewish Leaders

  • Chief Rabbi
    Chief Rabbi
    Chief Rabbi is a title given in several countries to the recognized religious leader of that country's Jewish community, or to a rabbinic leader appointed by the local secular authorities...

     Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron
    Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron
    Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron , is a former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel.-Background:Rabbi Hamza Bakshi-Doron was born in Jerusalem and studied in several prominent Religious Zionist yeshivot...

    , Israel
  • Chief Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, Israel
  • Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim
    Gilles Bernheim
    Gilles Bernheim is a French philosopher and rabbi, currently Chief Rabbi of France. On June 22, 2008, he was elected chief rabbi of France but his seven year mandate began on January 1, 2009. Until then, he had been rabbi of synagogue de la Victoire, the main synagogue in Paris, since May 1,...

    , France
  • Chief Rabbi Menachem Hacohen
    Menachem Hacohen
    Menachem Hacohen currently serves as the Chief Rabbi of Romania. He is an Israeli rabbi, writer and former politician who served as a member of the Knesset for the Alignment between 1974 and 1988.-Biography:...

    , Romania
  • Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar
    Berel Lazar
    Rabbi Shlomo Dovber Pinchas Lazar, better known as Berel Lazar, is an Orthodox, Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic rabbi. He is presently Chief Rabbi of Russia, and chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities...

    , Russia
  • Rabbi
    In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

     Richard Marker, USA
  • Rabbi Michael Melchior
    Michael Melchior
    A renowned Jewish leader, thinker and activist, Rabbi Michael Melchior is a leading advocate for social justice in Israel, quality education for all, Jewish-Arab reconciliation and co-existence, protection of the environment, Israel-Diaspora relations and the strengthening of Civic Society as a...

    , Israel
  • Rabbi Mordechai Peron
    Mordechai Peron
    Rabbi Mordechai Piron or Mordechai Peron , born Egon Pisk 28 December 1921 in Vienna, Austria, was the second chief military rabbi in the history of the Israel Defence Forces , after his predecessor, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, created the position in 1948. Rabbi Piron served in the position from 1969 to...

    , Israel
  • Rabbi David Rosen
    David Rosen (Rabbi)
    Rabbi David Shlomo Rosen CBE is the former Chief Rabbi of Ireland and currently serves as the Director of the American Jewish Committee's Department of Interreligious Affairs and the Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding...

    , Israel
  • Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
    Jonathan Sacks
    Jonathan Henry Sacks, Baron Sacks, Kt is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. His Hebrew name is Yaakov Zvi...

    , England
  • Rabbi Shmuel Rene Sirat, France
  • Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, Holland

Muslim Leaders

  • Sheikh
    Not to be confused with sikhSheikh — also spelled Sheik or Shaikh, or transliterated as Shaykh — is an honorific in the Arabic language that literally means "elder" and carries the meaning "leader and/or governor"...

     Muhammad Nur Abdallah, USA
  • Sayyed Jawad al-Khoei, England
  • Dr. Yihya Mossa Basha, USA
  • Prince Hassan bin Talal, Jordan
  • Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Bosnia
  • Imam
    An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

     Plemon El Amin, USA
  • Moulana Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, India
  • Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani
    Hisham Kabbani
    Muhammad Hisham Kabbani is a prominent Lebanese-American Sufi Muslim. Kabbani advocates an understanding of Islam described by his supporters as fundamentally based on peace, tolerance, respect and love. Kabbani has been an outspoken critic of extremism as well as the Wahabi doctrine...

    , USA
  • Dr. Wahidudin Khan
    Maulana wahiduddin khan
    Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is a noted Islamic scholar and peace activist. He has received, among others, the Demiurgus Peace International Award, under the patronage of the former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev; the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour; the National Citizen’s...

    , India
  • Chief Kadi Ahmed Natour, Israel
  • Dr. Adamou Ndam Njoya
    Adamou Ndam Njoya
    Adamou Ndam Njoya is a Cameroonian politician, lawyer, author, and professor. He was Minister of National Education from 1977 to 1980, and he has been the President of the Cameroon Democratic Union , an opposition party, since 1991. He has also been the Mayor of Foumban since 1996, and from 1997...

    , Cameroon
  • Dr. Ahmed Taoufiq
    Ahmed Toufiq
    Ahmed Toufiq is a well-known writer and scholar from Morocco. He was born in 1943 in the High Atlas near the city of Marrakech.He presented his PhD in 1979 on the subject of social history in the Moroccan rural areas in the 19th century and worked as a professor of history in the Faculty of Letters...

    , Morocco

The Elijah Interfaith Academy

The Elijah Interfaith Academy provides the institutional structure to enable scholars and teachers of different traditions to share their teaching, engage in common projects, create intellectual resources and provide a powerful symbol of interfaith cooperation. The projects undertaken by the academy deal with religion in contemporary society, providing a theological background for interfaith dialogue by creating a contemporary theology of world religions, and tackling ways in which politics affect inter-religious cooperation such as Jewish-Muslim relations
Islam and Judaism
Islamic–Jewish relations started in the 7th century CE with the origin and spread of Islam in the Arabian peninsula. The two religions share similar values, guidelines, and principles. Islam also incorporates Jewish history as a part of its own. Muslims regard the Children of Israel as an important...

. Peta Jones Pellach is Elijah’s Director of Educational Activities and has primary responsibility for supporting the Educational Network.

The Elijah Educational Network

The Educational Network, brings together local religious leadership with local intellectual and local lay leadership, as well as young adult leadership, in order to share religious wisdom, through the creation of Interreligious Study Circles and through other educational programs. It aims to serve existing interfaith organizations, local interfaith councils and local communities and congregations by providing high quality educational materials, high level facilitation and a focused and coordinated national and international study program aimed at mutual knowledge, deeper understanding and collaborative action for the common good. Its work focuses on training interreligious dialogue leaders, by providing intensive training seminars for local leaders and academics and supporting graduates of these seminars in their ongoing work in their communities. Peta Jones Pellach is Elijah’s Director of Educational Activities and has primary responsibility for supporting the Educational Network.

The Elijah School for the Study of Wisdom in World Religions

Prior to the creation of the Board, Academy and Network arms of the Institute, Elijah was known as the Elijah School for the Study of Wisdom in World Religions. Not only did the school bring together twelve Jewish, Christian, and Muslim institutions within an academic consortium, but it also provided one of the few places in Israel where Orthodox
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

, Conservative
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

 and Reform
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

 Jews met without prejudice. The Elijah School consists of academic study, which takes place not in isolation or in abstraction, but within an interfaith community of faculty and students. Interfaith dialogue forms the backbone of the school and allows for the integration of the study of religious traditions with exposure to their lived spirituality. In addition, the school seeks to ground the teaching of religion in a deeper level of experience and engagement with issues of mutual concern.

In order to reach a broad audience, Elijah forges partnership with various seminaries and institutions of religious learning. These consortia run academic programs, conferences, lecture series and more within their specific geographic regions. Creating such consortia engages local academic resources in the various communities and territories into which Elijah's work spreads. These consortia also provide the academic base to support the local work of the Educational Network.

The HOPE Center

The vision of the HOPE Center, acronym for House of Prayer and Education, is inspired by the prophecy of God's house being a house of prayer for all people. The HOPE Center would be Jerusalem's first center for education and spiritual life, owned and shared by all religions. The center aims to provide a powerful symbol of the potential that Jerusalem has to be a city of meeting, rather than only of tension. It would inspire people outside Jerusalem, worldwide, to both support the collaborative spiritual vision of Jerusalem and to seek to emulate it and to extend it to their various localities.

Summer School Programs

  • 1997 - The Place of Law in World Religions
    Religious law
    In some religions, law can be thought of as the ordering principle of reality; knowledge as revealed by a God defining and governing all human affairs. Law, in the religious sense, also includes codes of ethics and morality which are upheld and required by the God...

  • 1998 - The Representation of God in Image, Icon, Word, and Thought
  • 1999 - Mystical
    Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

  • 2000 - Conversion
    Religious conversion
    Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion. Changing from one denomination to another within the same religion is usually described as reaffiliation rather than conversion.People convert to a different religion for various reasons,...

     and Religious Identity
  • 2001 - Holy Lives: Saints in World Religions
  • 2002 - Sacred Space without Holy Land: Diaspora
    A diaspora is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location", or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of...

     in World Religion
  • 2003 - Authority in World Religions
  • 2003 - Death and Dying
  • 2004 - Holiness
    Holiness, or sanctity, is in general the state of being holy or sacred...

     in World Religions: The Idea and the Crisis
  • 2004 - Sexuality, Textuality, and Spirituality
    Religion and sexuality
    Most world religions have sought to address the moral issues that arise from people's sexuality in society and in human interactions. Each major religion has developed moral codes covering issues of sexuality, morality, ethics etc...

Board of World Religious Leaders Conferences

  • December 14-17, 2003, Seville, Spain - Religion, Society, and the Other: Hostility, Hospitality, and the Hope of Human Flourishing
  • November 28 - December 2, 2005, Museum of World Religions, Wu-Lai, Taiwan - The Crisis of the Holy
  • November 26-30, 2007, Amritsar, India - Sharing Wisdom: The Case of Love and Forgiveness
  • October 18-22, 2009, Haifa, Israel - The Future of Religious Leadership

Conference Papers

  • Religion, Society and the Other: Hostility, Hospitality and the Hope of Human Flourishing, The Elijah Interfaith Academy, Meeting of Board of World Religious Leaders, 2003
  • First World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace: Background Materials, The Elijah Interfaith Academy, 2004
  • Towards a Jewish Theology of World Religions: Paper Summaries, Elijah Interfaith Institute and the University of Scranton, 2005
  • The Crisis of the Holy, The Elijah Interfaith Academy, Second Meeting of Board of World Religious Leaders, 2005
  • Viewing the Other: From Hostility to Hospitality Study Units, The Elijah Interfaith Institute, 2006
  • Sharing Wisdom: The Case of Love and Forgiveness, The Elijah Interfaith Institute, 2007
  • The Future of Religious Leadership, The Elijah Interfaith Institute, 2009

By The Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders

  • Combating Terrorism Statement, June 2003
  • The Da Vinci Code - Truth and Method, Rights and Responsibilities in Art and Society, June 2006
  • Pope Benedict XVI—Polemics as Sound Bytes, October 2006
  • Reaction to the Current Economic Crisis, October 2008
  • The 12 Step Vision for Combating Hatred and Intolerance with Wisdom, September 2010

By The Scholars of the Jewish Theology Project of the Elijah Interfaith Institute

  • Affirming the Image of God: a Response to Torat HaMelekh, September 2010
  • Affirming the Image of God: a Response to the Ruling Against Renting to Non-Jews, December 2010

External Links