The Sister Rose Thering Fund for Education in Jewish-Christian Studies honored the Curt C. and Else Silberman Foundation and philanthropist Gene Hoffman, D.S., at the annual Evening of Roses Virtual Gala fundraiser on June 1.
Trustees of the Silberman Foundation Evi Meinhart, of blessed memory, and Edward Meinhart were honored at the event.
"Each year we come together with grateful hearts to celebrate all the work that is being done in Sister Rose's name to heal a world wounded by bigotry, racism and intolerance," said Anthony C. Sciglitano, Ph.D., executive director of the Sister Rose Thering Fund (SRTF) and associate professor of religion. "The Sister Rose Thering Fund seeks to heal with spiritual weapons—weapons of dialogue, education and formation. We are truly grateful for all those who support this essential mission."
With appreciation for the Silberman Foundation Trustees, Evi Meinhart (1936-2021), of blessed memory, and Edward Meinhart, the Curt C. and Else Silberman Foundation was honored for its advocacy and philanthropy, including providing numerous scholarships to teacher scholars in the Jewish-Christian Studies graduate program at Seton Hall. The Foundation works to assure that the roots of prejudice and the Holocaust, and the lessons thereof today, are understood to serve for the betterment of society.
Philanthropist Gene Hoffman, D.S., was also honored at the Evening of Roses.
Gene Hoffman was recognized for his generous contribution to the SRTF in honor of David Bossman, Ph.D., a retired professor of Jewish and Christian Studies and executive director emeritus of the SRTF. In his statement, Hoffman shared about his commitment to religious education and his gratitude for the friendship and learnings he enjoyed while studying under Bossman at Seton Hall.
According to Sciglitano, Hoffman's generosity to the SRTF created many scholarships for future teacher scholars and competitive grants for teacher scholars who wish to develop materials to be used in United States classrooms.
Msgr. Robert Sheeran, S.T.D., received the designation of Sister Rose Thering Trustee Laureate. As president of Seton Hall University from 1995 to 2009, "he helped elevate the intellectual and academic level of the University" and provided support to SRTF, which he has continued to do to this today, according to Sciglitano.
To all the honorees, the SRTF expressed its thanks in keeping with the theme of the evening: gratitude. Sciglitano also noted that "Our gratitude will be expressed by planting a tree in the newly established Sister Rose Thering Garden of Gratitude in Israel through the Jewish National Fund with every household ticket purchased."
Rabbi Abraham Skorka was the keynote speaker at Evening of Roses.
The evening's keynote speaker was Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Ph.D., an Argentine biophysicist, rabbi and book author. Passionate about dialogue and education, Skorka serves as rabbi to Temple Benei Tikva and rector at Seminario Rabínico Latinamericano in Buenos Aires, where he also is a professor of biblical and rabbinical literature. Among other accomplishments and accolades, he co-authored On Heaven and Earth with Pope Francis, in which he writes about the power of dialogue to raise awareness of human similarities.
In his address, he touched on the history of Judeo-Christian relations, especially during the Shoah, a Hebrew wording meaning calamity or destruction used to refer to the Holocaust. He highlighted the influence of Sister Rose's doctoral dissertation, in which she exposed the numerous condemnations against Jews and Judaism in Catholic texts. Her research informed Nostra Aetate, a landmark Vatican document focusing on Catholic relations with Jews and marking the beginning of an intentional harmony among different communities of faith.
"She had a deep understanding of the importance of a sensitive Christian education about Jews and Judaism and was deeply affected by the implications by the Shoah for Jews around the world," said Skorka. To watch his full address, click here.
At the event, attendees also heard from University President Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D., Kibwe Miller M.A.'18 of the Jewish-Christian Studies program and Franklin Stebbins, a former teacher scholar in the Jewish-Christian Studies program and a SRTF Trustee. The evening also included a musical program directed by Jason C. Tramm, D.M.A., assistant professor, director of choral activities and trustee of the SRTF.
Sister Rose Thering Fund strives to advance Sister Rose's legacy by fostering understanding and cooperation among Jews, Christians and people of other religious traditions through advocacy and education. The SRTF supports students studying in the graduate program of Jewish-Christian Studies in the Department of Religion in the College of Arts and Sciences, which offers a comprehensive curriculum leading to a Master of Arts in Jewish-Christian Studies, as well as a Certificate in Jewish-Christian Studies. The Fund was established in 1993 and Thering served as its administrator until retiring in 2005. To learn more about Sister Rose and the SRTF, visit here.