Educating a diverse population in the liberal arts

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In the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame

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Abrahamic Center

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 13 years. For more information on the history of the Abrahamic Center, click here.

Abrahamic Center Advisory BoardAbrahamic Center Internal 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, OH

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 & 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 at Morgan Stanley

Thomas Uthup – Founder & 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
President Thomas G. Kruczek
Executive Director Sister Carol Ziegler, SND, Ph.D.

Eleanor Kocevar

Dr. Gregory Moore

Rachel Morris

Karen Poelking

Roslyn Scheer-McLeod

Karen Zoller


Let us all pray  and work for peace.

Peace Prayers

Interreligious Peace Prayers

Click on title to read each prayer:


Past Programs


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.

Read more about Deborah Plummer.


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.

Read more about John Prendergast.


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.

Read more about Greg Boyle.


Rabbi Brad Hirschfield: “You Don’t Have to be Wrong for Me to be Right”

November 12, 2015

Hirschfield is the author of You Don’t Have to be Wrong for Me to be Right: Faith Without Fanaticism, in which he chronicles his personal faith journey and identifies with Abraham’s call. Hirschfield also documents his journey from a liberal Jewish home in upstate New York to join a radical group of Jewish settlers seeking to regain biblical borders in Israel.

Read more about Rabbi Hirschfield and his lecture.


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.

Read more on the Interfaith Youth Core website.


Nontombi Naomi Tutu: “Striving for Justice: Seeking Common Ground”
Nov. 14, 2013

The daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in apartheid South Africa, Nontombi Naomi Tutuherself an activist for human rights and an advocate for tolerance and inclusion among all people—delivered Notre Dame College’s 2013 Abrahmaic Center Distinguished Lecture “Striving for Justice: Seeking Common Ground” in Regina Auditorium.

Tutu’s professional experience ranges from being a development consultant in West Africa to being program coordinator for programs on Race and Gender and Gender-based Violence in Education at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town. In addition, she has taught at the Universities of Hartford and Connecticut and Brevard College in North Carolina.

Learn more about Tutu and her lecture.


Diana Eck: “Religious Diversity in America”
Nov. 8, 2012

Diana Eck, a religious scholar, author, professor of comparative religion and Indian studies, and director of The Pluralism Project at Harvard University, will speak in the Regina Auditorium on “Religious Diversity in America” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Eck serves on the Committee on the Study of Religion in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, where she is also a member of the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, as well as the Faculty of Divinity. She received her B.A. from Smith College (1967) in religion, her M.A. from the School of Oriental and African Studies from the University of London (1968) in South Asian history, and her Ph.D. from Harvard University (1976) in the comparative study of religion. Eck and her partner, Dorothy Austin, are currently serving as Masters of Lowell House at Harvard.

Get more information about Diana Eck’s lecture here.


Reza Aslan: “Islamophobia in America”
Nov. 3, 2011

Internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions Dr. Reza Aslan delivered the Abrahamic Center Distinguished Lecture on “Islamophobia in America” at Notre Dame College on Nov. 3, 2011.


Roxana Saberi: “My Life and Captivity in Iran”
Nov. 17, 2010

Iranian-American Journalist Roxana Saberi, who spent 100 days in an Iranian jail cell in 2009, shared her story at Notre Dame College’s Regina Hall auditorium on Nov. 17, 2010.

Saberi, the author of “Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran,” was working as a freelance journalist in Iran in January 2009, when she was arrested and charged with espionage. Saberi denied the charges but was sentenced to an eight-year prison term.

Get more information about Roxana Saberi’s talk here.


John Allen, Jr.: “Vatican Interfaith Relations with Islam and Judaism”
Nov. 4, 2010

John Allen, Jr., senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and CNN senior Vatican analyst, delivered the Abrahamic Center Distinguished Lecture on Nov. 4, 2010.

Allen, a prize-winning journalist and author of six best-selling books on the Vatican and Catholic affairs, spoke about “Vatican Interfaith Relations with Islam and Judaism.”


Bruce Feiler: Abrahamic Center Inauguration Lecture
Nov. 9, 2009

Notre Dame College celebrated the inauguration of its Abrahamic Center on Nov. 9, 2009, with a memorial program on the 71st anniversary of Kristallnacht – often referred to as the beginning of the Holocaust – and a talk on Abraham by Bruce Feiler, author of such bestselling books as “Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths” and “Walking the Bible.”

Get more information about Bruce Feiler’s lecture here.


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)


 Conversations On Sacred Texts
Conversations on Sacred
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