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Posted on Nov 20, 2012 |

XU Interfaith Office Now a Center

XU Interfaith Office Now a Center

The Xavier University Office of Interfaith Engagement has been focused on activities — such as this “bridge building” activity for XU freshman. As a Center, it will have an academic focus.

Rabbi Abie Inger, Executive Director of the Xavier University Office of Interfaith Engagement.

Effective last week, Xavier University’s Office of Interfaith Engagement officially became its Center for Interfaith Community Engagement.

Rabbit Abie Ingber, who founded the office and has been its director, is the Center’s executive director.

The Center’s mission is to “create community” and “enhance understanding among people of different faiths,” the university says. It also aims to extend Xavier’s reach by “engaging local, national, and international communities in interfaith dialogue.”

The Office was not part of the university’s general budget; all funds for its operations had to be raised. As a Center, it is assured funding and will eventually have additional staff, including graduate students. Its focus will shift from student life activities to teaching opportunities.

Steven Herbert, Associate provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School, says moving the program under Academic Affairs and elevating it to a Center positions it to better serve the academic mission of Xavier “by engaging students intellectually, morally, and spiritually“ on issues concerning interfaith relations.

According to Fr. Michael Graham, SJ, Xavier’s president, standing in solidarity with people of other faiths is part of being a Jesuit university. “The perspective Abie has brought to the Office for Interfaith Community Engagement over the past four years has enriched Xavier as a University as well our students, faculty, staff and the larger community,” he says. “We look forward to Rabbi Ingber building upon his past work at Xavier to expand its reach and depth in the future.”

Ingber has worked with XU since 2005, when he helped created the exhibit A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People (now on display at Hebrew Union’s Skirball Museum; see our coverage here). In 2008, he retired after more than 30 years as director of the Hillel Jewish Student Center of Cincinnati.

According to Ingber, the Center will be an asset to students. ““Simply put, this Center will further Xavier’s efforts to help young people figure out who they are and help them discover who the person next to them is as well,” he says.

Photos courtesy Xavier University.

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