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Pittsburgh native Dr. Ruth Langer to speak at SVC’s annual Rabbi Jason Edelstein Lecture for Catholic-Jewish Dialogue

Pittsburgh native Dr. Ruth Langer to speak at SVC’s annual Rabbi Jason Edelstein Lecture for Catholic-Jewish Dialogue

by Public Relations | February 05, 2024

LATROBE, PA — Saint Vincent College (SVC) and its School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences will host the second annual Rabbi Jason Edelstein Lecture for Catholic-Jewish Dialogue at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28. The lecture will be held in the Fred Rogers Center on the College’s campus.


Dr. Ruth Langer, Rabbi, a Pittsburgh native and professor of Jewish studies in the Theology Department at Boston College, will present “Lent and Easter through Jewish Eyes: Liturgies of Purification, Both Catholic and Jewish.”

Named in honor of the late Rabbi Edelstein, a longtime faculty member in the SVC Department of Theology, the Rabbi Jason Edelstein Endowed Chair in Catholic-Jewish Dialogue was established in 2015 to advance a mission of SVC as expressed in Nostra Aetate, the incipit of the “Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council,”: “Since Christianity and Jews have such a common spiritual heritage, this Second Vatican Council wishes to encourage and further mutual understanding and appreciation.”

The lecture is free and open to all, and will be preceded by a reception at 6 p.m. Registration is appreciated, but not required:



Langer is professor of Jewish studies at Boston College, interim director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning, and director of graduate studies at Boston College. She also is past chair of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations.

A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Langer received her Ph.D. in Jewish Liturgy in 1994 and her rabbinic ordination in 1986 from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati.

Langer’s scholarship addresses Christian-Jewish relations and the development of Jewish liturgy and ritual. Widely published in academic journals, she also has written three books: “Jewish Liturgy: A Guide to Research” (Roman and Littlefield); “Cursing the Christians? A History of the Birkat HaMinim” (Oxford University); and “To Worship God Properly: Tension Between Liturgical Custom and Halakha in Judaism” (Hebrew Union College Press).



Rabbi Edelstein taught courses to mostly Roman Catholic students at Saint Vincent College on Jewish theology and history, the Holocaust and Catholic-Jewish dialogue. For more than two decades, he also made use of his training as a clinical psychologist and his years of service as a rabbi to train Saint Vincent seminarians in pastoral counseling.

In 1968, Rabbi Edelstein came to SVC at the invitation of Father Campion Gavaler, O.S.B., who was chair of the Department of Theology. In the wake of the Second Vatican Council and its emphasis on healing relationships between Catholics and Jews, Saint Vincent hosted a major conference on interfaith dialogue. Father Campion, building on that momentum, hired Rabbi Edelstein to teach a course on Catholic-Jewish dialogue at the College. The result of this was a commitment to mutual enrichment between Rabbi Edelstein and the students of Saint Vincent, where both came to know their respective faiths in a different and brighter light.


*Text originally appeared in an article written by Dr. Christopher McMahon, professor of Theology at SVC, honoring Rabbi Edelstein, published on Sept. 4, 2021.