The Abrahamic Center Mission
Notre Dame’s Abrahamic Center develops educational programs for the College and the Greater Cleveland community fostering mutual respect among all peoples, and celebrating religious, racial and cultural diversity.
In doing so, we honor Abraham’s status as:
- Patriarch of the three great monotheistic traditions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam;
- Paragon of hospitality and welcoming the “Other;” and
- Prophet of social justice and peace.
The initiative is a direct outgrowth of the innovative work of Notre Dame College’s Tolerance Resource Center, which has provided significant opportunities for research, outreach and education on the Holocaust, anti-bias issues and diversity for more than 20 years. For more information on the history of the Abrahamic Center, click here.
Abrahamic Center Advisory Board
- Len Calabrese, Chair – former President Catholic Community Connection
- Salma Ahmad – Licensed Professional Counselor
- Rev. Thomas Chillikulam, S.J. – Associate Pastor, Gesu Parish, University Heights, Ohio
- Jessica Cohen – Managing Director for Community Relations, Jewish Federation of Cleveland
- Judi Feniger – former President of Gordon Square Arts District
- Anita Gray – Regional Director Anti-Defamation League, Cleveland Regional Office
- Murat Gurer – Business Development and Client Engagement
- Rev. Joseph Hilinski – Office for Continuing Education and Formation for Ministers, Diocese of Cleveland
- Fareed Siddiq, CFP – Executive Director, Portfolio Management Director, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley
- Thomas Uthup – Founder and President, Friends of United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
- Sister Donna Marie Wilhelm, SSJ-TOSF – Executive Director of InterReligious Partners in Action of Greater Cleveland
Ex Officio Members
Executive Director Sister Carol Ziegler, SND, Ph.D.
Abrahamic Center Internal Advisory Board
- Eleanor Kocevar
- Gregory Moore, Ph.D.
- Rachel Morris
- Karen Poelking
- Roslyn Scheer-McLeod
- Karen Zoller
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be known as the Children of God. But I say to you that hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To those that strike you on the cheek, offer the other one also, and from those who take away your cloak, do not withhold your coat as well. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Jesus (Gospel of Matthew)
Peace Prayer (Hindu)
I desire neither earthly kingdom, nor even the freedom from birth and death.
I desire only the deliverance from grief of all those afflicted by misery.
Oh Lord, lead us from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality.
May there be peace in celestial regions.
May there be peace on earth.
May the waters be appeasing.
May herbs be wholesome and may trees and plants bring peace to all.
May all beneficent beings bring peace to us.
May thy wisdom spread peace all through the world.
May all things be a source of peace to all and to me.
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti (Peace, Peace, Peace).
O Krishna, Lord of Yoga! Surely blessing, and victory,
And power shall not fail for Thy most mighty sake.
From the Bhagavad-Gita, XVIII
Peace – St. Francis of Assisi
Make me a channel of your peace: Where there is hatred, let me bring you love; Where there is injury, your healing power, And here there’s doubt, true faith in you.
Make me a channel of your peace: Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope; Where there is darkness, only light, And where there’s sadness, ever joy.
O Spirit, grant that I may never seek: So much to be consoled as to console, To be understood as to understand, To be loved as to love with all my soul.
Make me a channel of your peace. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, In giving to all that we receive, And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.
Prayer for Peace (Muslim)
from the famous collection of du`as al-Hisn al-Hasin
(“The Mighty Fortress”)
by Muhammad al-Jazri, may Allah be pleased with him
Completed during the siege of Damascus
20 Dhul Hijjah 791 / 9 December 1389
O Allah, unite our hearts
and set aright our mutual affairs,
guide us in the path of peace.
Liberate us from darkness by Your light,
save us from enormities whether open or hidden.
Bless us in our ears, eyes, hearts, spouses, and children.
Turn to us; truly you are Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.
Make us grateful for Your bounty and full of praise for it,
so that we may continue to receive it
and complete Your blessings upon us.
Tikkun Olam (Jewish)
~17th Century Sabbath Prayer
The Hebrew phrase tikkun olam means “healing the world.” A central belief of Judaism is that each generation must pray and work in partnership with God toward universal harmony and peace.
Peace to you, ministering angels, messengers of the Most High,
From the King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.
Enter in peace, angels of peace, messengers of the Most High,
From the King of kings, the Holy One blessed be He.
Bless me with peace, angels of peace, messengers of the Most
High, from the King of kings, the Holy One blessed be He.
Depart in peace, angels of peace, messengers of the Most High,
From the King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.
“Finding Your Voice, Using Your Voice”
Jamelle Bouie, a political analyst, is known across the country for connecting past occurrences with current events to provide knowledge and perspectives people may otherwise miss. Bouie discussed ways to awaken a community to use the power of voice to work for good, transformation and peace. He shared his spiritual roots, challenges he has faced as a young professional, coming to find and know his voice as an expression of his value system and dealing with those who have different perspectives. He was interviewed by Notre Dame communication major Xavier Carlos Perkins and Sr. Carol Ziegler, Ph.D., executive director of the Abrahamic Center.
“Contemporary Issues in Islam”
Asma Affsaruddin, Ph.D., author of “Contemporary Issues in Islam,” will explore important topics with the Notre Dame and extended communities. Today, openness to the sacred, to the Holy One, to God may be more important than ever. With all our global connections and instant access to information and consumer products, waking up to the mystery of our individual lives and our shared lives may be more important than ever. She discussed:
- The value of a religious tradition in one’s life
- Sacred texts in Islam and some of her favorite texts
- Names of God in Islam
- Personal prayer and communal prayer today
- How the role of women is understood
- The role of community in the Muslim tradition
- Sharia law in relation to the voice and value of the individual
- Pilgrimage and its power and meaning
Also, religious traditions cannot be stagnant. Traditions must be alive and speak to the people at their moment in history.
“Living When I Can’t Breathe”
Kimberly Chapmon-Wynne, the founder and principal consultant at Mosaic Insights Consulting, LLC, and is certified by the Cultural Intelligence Center as a practitioner and train-the-trainer in cultural intelligence and unconscious bias. She facilitated the virtual lecture in 2020, which featured an innovative discussion arrangement first introduced in 2019. Student and alumni speakers who participated in the discussion are: Cordae Barnes, a sophomore pursuing an elementary education major at Notre Dame; Selena Carter, a senior exercise science major who is president of the Black Student Union at the College; Imani Gordon, the assistant coach of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team; and Anshawn Ivery, who graduated from Notre Dame in 2011 in education and is the founding senior high school principal of Garrett Morgan School of Leadership & Innovation in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
Sarah Hurwitz “Here All Along”
November 19, 2019
A former White House speechwriter from 2009 to 2017, Hurwitz embraced the ultimate questions thoughtful people have dealt with for hundreds of years: Who am I? Who is God? Does religion make a difference? Why is there pain and suffering in the world? Why pray? Why should I do good, no one else does? The title of her presentation, which was the first Abrahamic Lecture presented as a group discussion, is based on the subject of her new book, “Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality and a Deeper Connection to Life—In Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There).”
Deborah Plummer, Ph.D. “ Radical Respect in Troubling Times”
November 13, 2018
Dr. Plummer, ’74 graduate from Notre Dame College and Vice-Chancellor at UMass Medical in Boston, also serves as Chief Diversity Officer. Recognizing the explosive race, immigration, religious liberties, and gender equality issues in society, Dr. Plummer suggests deepening one’s self-awareness becomes a critical element in order to increase respect for differences. She notes, as we interface with others and pull from our own multiple and intersecting identities, we can explore how we can foster the three components of respect: admiration, dignity and civility… even with those with whom we most vehemently disagree.
John Prendergast: “10 Building Blocks for Making a Difference in the World & in Your Neighborhood”
November 16, 2017
John is the author or co-author of severak books. His latest book, Unlikely Brothers, is a dual memoir co-authored with his first “little brother” in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program out of Washington D.C.. His presentation focused on local work in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program and international work done in Africa.
Father Greg Boyle, S.J.: “There is no Them and Us: Why a Sense of Compassion Matters in our World”
November 17, 2016
Fr. Greg Boyle, social activist and author of Tattoos on the Heart, spoke about his transformative work with the gangs in L.A. and the power of compassion in face of a world more willing to see difference than kinship.
Eboo Patel: “Interfaith Cooperation: Why Religious and Non-religious Diversity Matters in the 21st Century”
November 6, 2014
Patel is the founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), an organization that is building the interfaith movement on college Campuses The Better Together youth leadership movement develops in young adults the skills to enter the world of interfaith work and dialogue.
Patel is a widely read author. His books, Acts of Faith I(2007) and Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of AmericaI(2012) are very accessible. Regarded as a young Muslim visionary, Patel’s core belief is that religion is a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division. He’s inspired to build this bridge by his faith as a Muslim, his Indian heritage and his American citizenship.
Abrahamic Center News
Conversations on Sacred Texts
South Euclid Public Library – Meeting Room B
1876 South Green Road, South Euclid, OH 44121
January 27 – April 27, 2016
7:00 – 8:30 pm (Wednesday nights with 1 exception)