Christian-Jewish Relations Focus of Exhibit at Seton Hill

 
Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference Exhibit Features The Saint John's Bible
 
October 18, 2012
Author: Kary Coleman Hazen
 
 
As part of the Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference and in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Seton Hill University’s National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE), an exhibit featuring the Pentateuch and Psalms from The Saint John’s Bible will be on display from October 11-November 15 at the University’s Harlan Gallery. This work of theology, and art, complements the Samuel Bak exhibit, “Illuminations"

“Harlan Gallery is pleased to present two significant, and impressive, exhibitions this fall during the Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference, “Illuminations: The Art of Samuel Bak” and 10 pages of The Saint John’s Bible, The Pentateuch and Psalms,” said Carol Brode, director, Harlan Gallery. “Both exhibits are of outstanding artistic quality and can provide insightful learning experiences for the community. Bak’s paintings present his vision of humanity's profound dilemmas, and the illuminated scriptures of The Saint John's Bible provide the viewer a contemplative experience grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition, as a complement to Bak’s vision.”

According to Wilda Kaylor, director, National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE), the Conference, which draws a national audience, was the perfect opportunity to host and display the 10 two by three feet pages of The Saint John’s Bible which are illuminated with vibrant colors.

In 1998, a team of artists coordinated by renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson in Wales and a team of scholars in Central Minnesota brought together the ancient techniques of calligraphy and illumination with an ecumenical Christian approach to the Bible rooted in Benedictine spirituality. The result is a living document and a monumental achievement.

In the early 1990s, Jackson, senior calligrapher to Queen Elizabeth, observed the monks of Saint John’s Abbey processing with their Book of the Gospels for Sunday Mass, and he recognized the importance of “their book.” To create a Bible that would capture the beauty and tradition of centuries of liturgy and carry it into the future—that is the vision that united a calligrapher in Wales with a group of Benedictine monks in Minnesota.

“Illuminations: The Art of Samuel Bak” features 20 original works by the renowned artist and Holocaust survivor. The themes of Bak’s work include questions of identity, responsibility, the challenges of justice and the difficulties of rebuilding what was destroyed.

“The Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference seeks to enhance Catholic-Jewish understanding by educating the educators. Over the years we have learned to appreciate art, writing, poetry, music and film, especially of the survivors who have been our greatest teachers,” said Sister Gemma Del Duca, S.C., Ph.D., founder and co-director in Israel of Seton Hill’s National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE). “We will look for ways to keep their memories and their works alive as an integral part of Holocaust education in the future.”

Harlan Gallery, which is located on the University’s hilltop campus in Greensburg, Pa., is open Monday—Thursday from 5 – 8 p.m., Friday 1 – 3 p.m., and Sunday 1 – 4 p.m. For more information on Harlan Gallery or to arrange a docent tour, please contact Harlan Gallery Director Carol Brode at 724-830-1071 or brode@setonhill.edu.

The Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference seeks to equip teachers and faculty members, especially those at Catholic institutions, to enter into serious discussions on the causes of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, and to write and deliver papers that shape appropriate curricular responses at Catholic institutions and other educational sites.

In 2008, LeFrak, a noted New York philanthropist, made a generous donation to Seton Hill University’s Nat National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) to endow The Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference and create The Ethel LeFrak Student Scholars of the Holocaust Fund.

Seton Hill University’s National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) was established on the campus of Seton Hill University in 1987. Seton Hill initiated this national Catholic movement toward Holocaust studies in response to the urging of Pope John Paul II to recognize the significance of the Shoah, the Holocaust, and to “promote the necessary historical and religious studies on this event which concerns the whole of humanity today” (Letter to Archbishop John L. May, 1987). The NCCHE has as its primary purpose the broad dissemination of scholarship on the root causes of anti-Semitism, its relation to the Holocaust and the implications from the Catholic perspective of both for today's world. Toward this end the Center is committed to equipping scholars, especially those at Catholic institutions, to enter into serious discussion on the causes of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; shaping appropriate curricular responses at Catholic institutions and other educational sites; sustaining Seton Hill's Catholic Institute for Holocaust Studies in Israel through a cooperative program with Yad Vashem, the Isaac Jacob Institute for Religious Law and Hebrew University; encouraging scholarship and research through conferences, publications, workshops for educators, and similar activities; sponsoring local events on the Holocaust and related topics in the University and the community and enhancing Catholic-Jewish relations.