"A Rabbi, The Jewish Theological Seminary, and Jewish-Muslim Engagement: A Field Report," an article by Dr. Burton L. Visotzky, Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at JTS, appears in the inaugural issue of The Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue.
A forum for academic, social, and timely issues affecting religious communities around the world, the journal is a model of interfaith collaboration and intergenerational leadership. Founded and coedited by Stephanie Hughes, a graduate student at Union Theological Seminary, and Joshua Stanton, a rabbinical school student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, its board of scholars and practitioners includes an impressive multigenerational roster of leaders in interreligious dialogue in the United States and beyond, including Rabbi Visotzky.
"At a time of increasing tension in the world, interreligious dialogue is more important than ever. Many of the countries with which the US engages do not separate church or mosque from State. In this climate, interreligious dialogue becomes a tool for second-tier diplomacy, as well as a means of promoting God's message of peace," Rabbi Visotzky commented, welcoming the journal as an important new venue for interreligious exchange.
Dr. Visotzky has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and a life member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, as well as a visiting faculty member at, among others, Union Theological Seminary, Princeton University, and the Russian State University of the Humanities in Moscow. Rabbi Visotzky served as the Master Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome during the spring of 2007.
Dr. Visotzky's articles and reviews have been published in America, Europe, and Israel. He is the author of nine books and one hundred articles and reviews, including Reading the Book: Making the Bible a Timeless Text (1991); From Mesopotamia to Modernity: Ten Introductions to Jewish History and Literature (1999); and his latest book and first novel, A Delightful Compendium of Consolation (2008), set in eleventh-century North Africa.
Dr. Visotzky is active in Jewish-Christian-Muslim dialogue internationally, in capitals such as Washington, Warsaw, Rome, Cairo, Doha, Qatar (where he was in the first group of Jews invited to dialogue by the Emir), and Madrid (where he was in the first group of Jews invited by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia), as well as in New York City, where he has a close relationship with Imam Shamsi Ali. He sits on Fordham Law School's Stein Center for Law and Ethics board of advisers, the New Israel Fund Rabbinic Council's steering committee, and the American Jewish World Service's education committee.