Religion in Times of Crisis

Elijah Interfaith Summer School and Interreligious Leadership Seminar. August 2-6; 9-13, 2020

From: Elijah Interfaith

For the first time in nearly 25 years (thanks to Coronavirus), the Elijah Summer School and Leadership Institute will be taking place on Zoom.

Elijah Interfaith Summer School and Interreligious Leadership Seminar

“Religion in Times of Crisis”

August 2-6; 9-13, 2020

Religions may once have provided answers to humankind’s deepest questions and given people consolation and hope but are they still relevant today?

  • In times of crisis, what can religions offer to their adherents and to the world as a whole?
  • Is their combined wisdom enough? Is it helpful?

The Elijah Interfaith Institute will grapple with these important questions during our 2020 Summer School and Interreligious Leadership Seminar. For the first time, participants can join from their homes. The entire program will be available via Zoom.

The two-week program will offer a range of lectures, discussions, workshops and other activities to create a virtual community of learners, even if physically diverse, joined by their common quest to understand the role of religion in today’s world.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has allowed us to study the function of religion at a moment of global crisis.

We will ask:

  • What are religions supposed to do: on what domains of life do they impact and what do they achieve?
  • What happens in times of crisis? Do crises enhance the functioning of religion, undermine it or both?

We will hear from scholars of religion what they understand about the way that religions operate and we will hear from some of the world’s most prominent religious leaders about how they dealt with challenges during COVID-19, through a unique series of interviews carried out by the Elijah Interfaith Institute, titled “Coronaspection”.

The program for the summer school can be found here.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Mustafa Ceric, Venerable Karma Lekshe Tsomo and Shrivatsa Goswami of India are among the teachers who will join us on Zoom and video.

They will share their personal experiences of the Covid 19 crisis as well as analyse the lessons to be learnt from this difficult period.

We will study sacred texts and writings both through conventional analysis and sometimes through the means of Bibliodrama, where we enter the text and speak from within. There will even be virtual tours of Jerusalem, focusing on religious sites, to help us understand the role of religion in the lives of people here.

Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in Jerusalem from your own home!


The opportunity of a lifetime!

Summer school teachers

Professor Nader Saeidi

Professor Nader Saeidi is the only Bahai teacher in our summer school and we are excited to hear his insight on the topic "Religion provides meaning – explains the human condition" from a Bahai perspective. Saeidi is Professor of Bahai Studies at University of California, Los Angeles and one of the world’s greatest experts belonging to the Bahai faith, a religion that does not have offices like priests, rabbis etc.

Shrivatsa Goswami

Shrivatsa Goswami is one of the teachers who will teach in Elijah's summer school? He is a leading figure in the Vaishnava tradition, representing the leadership of the Bhakti (devotional) movement. Goswami has lectured at major universities worldwide, and toured extensively to participate in conferences on philosophy and religion. One of the focuses of his present work is the alliance of religion and conservation. We are proud to have him onboard, along with many other religious leaders!

Rabba Tamar Elad-Appelbaum.

She is the founder of ZION: An Eretz Israeli Congregation in Jerusalem; and Vice President of the Masorti Rabbinical Assembly. Her work spans and links tradition and innovation, working toward Jewish spiritual and ethical renaissance. She devotes much of her energy to the renewal of community life in Israel and the struggle for human rights. We are proud to have her as a member of our faculty this summer school.

Dr. Marcia Hermansen

One of the many religious leaders who contributed to the Coronaspection project, is part of our summer school faculty! We are honored to have her on board and look forward to hearing her opinion on the topic "Religion provides meaning – explains the human condition" from a Muslim perspective. Dr. Marcia Hermansen is Director of the Islamic World Studies Program and Professor in the Theology Department at Loyola University Chicago and a thought leader in the American Muslim community.