The Academy for Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies is dedicated to building bridges of understanding, mutual respect, and cooperation between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. We provide inter-religious education programs for universities, colleges, religious congregations, and other interested groups. Learn more…
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The Academy for Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies was founded to promote greater understanding of the interrelations and commonality among the three monotheistic religions stemming from a common religious heritage. Its mission is to advance dialogue among Jews, Christians and Muslims, to conduct research and publish the results, and to teach what has been found and experienced in both academic and other public settings. As a key focus, the Academy initiated and has been co-sponsoring a regular course entitled ‘Judaism, Christianity and Islam: A Comparative Approach’ at the University of California, Los Angeles. The course also has been taught at Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School and the New Theological Seminary of the West.
Seeking to build on the power of this message of increased inter-religious understanding, a philanthropic Jew — Mr. Nathan Krems — recently made a generous grant of $100,000 to the Academy to continue its work at UCLA and to expand its activities, and particularly the course, to other campuses and to more houses of worship. Mr. Krems provided the funds as a challenge grant, requesting that the Christian and Muslim communities each match his contribution. Members and friends of the Academy are now seeking to meet that challenge. Join us to reach this goal and to expand our work of building bridges of understanding between Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
The Academy for Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Studies was established in 1977 as a not-for-profit organization under the leadership of the Reverend Dr. George Grose who at the time served as chaplain at Whittier College. Dr. Grose believed that once Islam came onto the scene, the three monotheistic religions continually interacted with each other. Therefore, to promote dialogues between two of the three partners without the third is historically inaccurate and morally wrong.
On this basis, the Academy, with the financial support of the Lilly Endowment and the Rockefeller Foundation, created “trialogues” to explore the commonalities as well as the differences among the three traditions and promote an environment of understanding and respect for their adherents. Over time, the work of the Academy expanded to a college course taught jointly by Dr. Grose, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi and Rabbi David Gordis at CSU Fullerton, a series of trialogues at various houses of worship, and a book that they co-wrote entitled The Abraham Connection.
In 1994, at the invitation of Dr. Scott Bartchy, Director of the Center for Religion at UCLA, the Academy moved to Los Angeles and, with the support of Dr. Charles Doak and Dr. Sana Khan, became a member organization of the University Religious Conference at UCLA. Dr. Grose continued to teach a course on Judaism, Christianity and Islam as interrelated religious traditions. The course, offered by the Center for the Study of Religion at UCLA, included lectures by Dr. Siddiqi and Rabbi Dr. Elliot Dorff on Islam and Judaism, respectively, and a trialogue at the end of each course on a given topic. When Dr. Grose retired in 2007, Dr. Reinhard Krauss took over the course, maintaining the involvement of Dr. Siddiqi and Rabbi Dr. Dorff, and continuing the tradition of the trialogue on a given subject involving scholars and representatives of the three religions at the end of each course. Since 2008, over 40 different scholars and recognized religious leaders have participated in the course.
In addition, the Academy has presented public interreligious trialogues on specific subjects at UCLA, Loyola Marymount University, the American Jewish University, the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center, and houses of worship in the Greater Los Angeles area. Lectures have also been given at the Vatican, the World Council of Churches, major American universities, the University of Haran in Ur, the birthplace of Abraham, and in the cities of Cairo, Egypt, Jerusalem, Israel, and Istanbul, Turkey.
In 2017, Dr. Reinhard Krauss was appointed as the Executive Director of the Academy for Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies. This addition of professional staff has enabled the Academy to significantly expand its educational programs at colleges in Southern California and for religious and civic communities in the larger Los Angeles metropolitan area.