Seton Hill University’s National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) will launch the celebration of its 25th anniversary with the Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference October 21-23, 2012, on the University’s hilltop campus in Greensburg, Pa. Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg, Ph.D., will serve as the conference’s keynote speaker.

Sister Gemma Del Duca, S.C., Ph.D., founder and co-director in Israel of Seton Hill’s NCCHE, said “We are pleased to celebrate our 25th anniversary as a Center with the Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference in October. Our keynote speaker, Rabbi Irving Greenberg, will set the tone of the Conference, by sharing deep insights from a field that has engaged him during much of his academic career.”

Greenberg is a Modern Orthodox rabbi, Jewish-American scholar, author and leader in Holocaust education. In 1975, he founded the Zachor Holocaust Resource Center with Elie Wiesel. He was executive director of President Jimmy Carter’s Commission on the Holocaust, which led to the establishment of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Later Greenberg served on the museum’s founding board and council. In 2000, President Bill Clinton appointed him to chair the council.

As the president of Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation (JLN), Greenberg works to create new institutions and initiatives to enrich the inner life (religious, cultural, institutional) of American Jewry. With his son, JJ Greenberg, and Michael Steinhardt, he played a founders role in the JLN initiated partnerships which include Birthright Israel which gives the gift of a 10-day educational first trip to Israel to Jews, 18-26 years old, worldwide, the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE) which offers seed money and expertise to create new day schools, and MAKOR (now Makor/Steinhardt Center of the 92nd Street Y) which reaches out to Jews in their 20s and 30s through cutting edge music, arts and Jewish educational programs.

A Harvard scholar, Greenberg has been a seminal thinker in confronting the Holocaust as a historical transforming event.

In the book, “Interpreters of Judaism in the Late Twentieth Century,” Professor Steven T. Katz wrote, “No Jewish thinker has had a greater impact on the American Jewish community in the last two decades than Irving (Yitz) Greenberg.”

Greenberg has published numerous articles and monographs on Jewish thought and religion, including “For the Sake of Heaven and Earth: The New Encounter between Judaism and Christianity” (2004), “Living in the Image of God: Jewish Teachings to Perfect the World” (1998) and “The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays” (1988), a philosophy of Judaism based on an analysis of the Sabbath and holidays.

From 1974 through 1997, Greenberg was the founding president of The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL), a pioneering institution in the development of adult and leadership education in the Jewish community and the leading organization in intra-Jewish dialogue and the work of Jewish unity. Before CLAL was founded, Greenberg served as rabbi of the Riverdale Jewish Center, as associate professor of history at Yeshiva University and as founder, chairman and professor in the Department of Jewish Studies of City College of the City University of New York.

For preliminary conference details, click here or call 724-830-1033.

The 2012 conference is made possible by benefactor Ethel LeFrak. In 2008, LeFrak, a noted New York philanthropist, made a generous donation to Seton Hill University’s NCCHE to endow The Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference and create The Ethel LeFrak Student Scholars of the Holocaust Fund.

The Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference seeks to enhance Catholic-Jewish understanding by educating the educators. The Conference will 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.

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.