Threshold Series

Catholic-Jewish Dialogue
Featuring Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Rabbi Abraham Skorka
Thursday, Nov. 3
7 p.m.
Performing Arts Center

Pope Francis and Rabbi SkorkaAs part of its ongoing Threshold Series, Saint Vincent College will host a Catholic-Jewish Dialogue at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, in the Performing Arts Center of the Robert S. Carey Student Center on campus.

Participating in the dialogue will be Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington, a member of numerous Vatican congregations and commissions; Rabbi Abraham Skorka, rector and professor at the Seminario Rabinico Latinamericano in Buenos Aires, and long-time dialogue friend of Pope Francis; Rabbi Walter Jacob, Rabbi Emeritus of the Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh, and co-founder of the rabbinic seminary in Berlin/Potsdam; Rabbi Alvin Berkun, Rabbi Emeritus of the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, and member of the International Jewish Committee on Multi-Faith Consultation; Sister Mary Boys, Dean of Academic Affairs and professor of theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City; and Dr. Patricia Sharbaugh, associate professor of theology at Saint Vincent College, who will teach “Catholic-Jewish Dialogue” with Rabbi Jason Edelstein in the spring semester at Saint Vincent.

Admission is free of charge for the Catholic-Jewish Dialogue. However, all seats are reserved and admission will be by ticket only. Requests for reservations may be made by email. Please send your name, address, daytime phone (including area code) and number of seats requested to the Threshold Box Office at All reservations will be confirmed by return email. Please note that tickets will be held at the box office for pickup when you arrive for the presentation; no tickets are mailed in advance. Tickets not claimed by 6:40 p.m. will be released.

In 2015, Saint Vincent College established the Rabbi Edelstein Chair for Catholic-Jewish Dialogue to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the ground-breaking document of the Second Vatican Council on the relation between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people. The chair is named in tribute to Rabbi Edelstein who has served as a member of the theology department of the college since 1968. A goal of the Chair is to extend the experience of Catholic-Jewish dialogue beyond the classroom to the public, as in the Threshold Series event. Rabbi Edelstein will serve as dialogue-facilitator for the public-forum dialogue.

Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., chancellor of Saint Vincent College, explained that the concept for the dialogue was born at Saint Vincent more than 50 years ago. “In January 1965, we hosted a three-day national symposium of 26 Catholic and Jewish scholars who discussed papers on seven major issues,” he noted. “Sheed and Ward published the 14 papers of the symposium under the title Torah and Gospel: Theology in Dialogue. Now, some 50 years later, it is gratifying to see that the long-range purpose of the symposium has been realized: Catholic and Jewish scholars routinely engage in dialogue on difficult questions. However, Rabbi Arthur Gilbert, in the concluding essay of Torah and Gospel, posed a challenging question: What are the next steps in Jewish-Catholic dialogue? Dialogue among scholars is a necessary first step, but not sufficient to make a difference in contemporary society. In response to his own question,

Rabbi Gilbert said, ‘Together we must confront the world.’ In our Nov. 3 dialogue on the biblical teaching that we humans are created in the image of God, I hope that we can also take the steps of exploring ways of bringing the relevance of the teaching a world beyond our faith-communities.”

The popular Threshold Series was established by the College in 1981 through a grant from the McKenna Foundation of Latrobe to provide a public forum for presentations by distinguished speakers.

Previous Threshold speakers include Carl Sagan; a Time magazine panel consisting of Hugh Sidey, Strobe Talbott and John Stacks; Amitai Etzioni; Alvin Toffler; Dixy Lee Ray; Donald Johanson; Isaac Asimov; Claire Bloom; Lawrence Stone; Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B.; Alex Haley; Robert Claiborne; Arthur B. Laffer; Richard E. Morley and William A. Taylor; May Sarton; Mark Littman; Jehan Sadat; Tom Wolfe; Michael Kammen; Martin E. Marty; Lt. General James A. Abrahamson; Seymour M. Hersh; Stephen F. Cohen; Joyce Carol Oates; Estelle R. Ramey; Jeane J. Kirkpatrick; Stanley L. Jaki, O.S.B.; Ralph Nader; Daniel Callahan; Robert Jarvik; John E. Chubb; John Noble Wilford; Ronald A. Morse; Thomas Sowell; Michael Medved; Jane Bryant Quinn; Harold S. Kushner; James Q. Wilson; Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; James Burke; Bernard S. Siegal; Peter B. Dervan; Milton Katselas; Bill Moyers; Peter Stearns; Dean Ornish; Mary Pipher; Robert Munsch; Herbert S. Benson; Michael Turner; Susan Stamberg; Mike Jensen; Archduke Rudolph of Austria; Roger Cossack; Stanley Hauerwas; Regina Carter; Heinz-Joachim Fischer; Jonathan Kozol; Gilbert Meilaender; John Haught; Richard Louv; Steven Strogatz; Robert Putnam; Jerome Oetgen; Benjamin Zander; Colleen Carroll Campbell; Neil deGrasse Tyson; Arthur T. Downey; Jere Longman; Douglas A. Anderson; John Spike; Br. Guy Consolmagno, S.J.; Paul Tough; Alison Gopnik;Tamara Simon; Thomas Tull; Roman Verostko; David Willey; and Steven Johnson.

About the Threshold Seriesthreshold-about
The Threshold Series

Threshold logoSaint Vincent College established the Threshold Series in 1981 when the Kennametal Foundation of Latrobe made a substantial grant to the College for the creation of an ongoing series of lectures and cultural events.

Previous Speakersthreshold-previous-speakers
Previous Speakers

Threshold logoPrevious Threshold speakers have included:

  • Br. Guy Consolmagno, S.J.
  • Carl Sagan
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Claire Bloom
  • Alex Haley
  • Lt. General James A. Abrahamson
  • Stephen F. Cohen
  • Ralph Nader
  • Robert Jarvik
  • Michael Medved
  • Jane Bryant Quinn
  • Harold S. Kushner
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • Archduke Rudolph of Austria
  • Roger Cossack
  • Heinz-Joachim Fischer
  • Jerome Oetgen
  • Benjamin Zander
  • Colleen Carroll Campbell
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Steven Johnson