Notre Dame College Welcomes Community to Conversations on Hospitality in Abrahamic Religions

Notre Dame College's Abrahamic Center is hosting a three-part series of community discussions throughout the month of March to address the importance of welcoming others in the religious traditions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

On three consecutive Tuesdays, March 13, 20 and 27, college faculty and staff experts will lead conversations on hospitality in the three monotheistic traditions of Abraham. Each session is from 7-8:45 p.m. in the Great Room on the third floor of the campus Administration Building. All are free and open to the public.

The first evening session "looks at Earth's care for us and our care for the Earth through the lens of Christianity, specifically the writings of Pope Francis," according to Sr. Carol Ziegler, SND, Ph.D., Chief Mission Officer and Executive Director of the Abrahamic Center at Notre Dame. Ziegler will serve as the facilitator for all three sessions. The second and third discussions address hospitality in the Jewish and Islamic traditions, respectfully.

"Hospitality is the welcome, courtesy and kindness extended to family, friends and even the stranger. We invite parishes and others in the community, as well as students, faculty and staff, to discuss what hospitality means and looks like today," Ziegler said.

The initial faith and science panel discussion on March 13, "Laudato Si' On Care for Our Common Home: Two Years Later Ever More Relevant, Increasingly Urgent," will focus on the integration of ecology and faith, life, creation and discipleship. Pope Francis, who wrote about hospitable care of the environment in his 2015 encyclical, is keenly aware of the impact issues like global warming have on the poor throughout the world. The session features Notre Dame's Tracey T. Meilander, Ph.D., Marie Goetz-Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM and associate professor of biology.

Meilander, who also directs the College's Choose Ohio First STEM program, is joined on the panel by: Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., professor and chair of theology and religious studies from John Carroll University; Natalie Kertes Weaver, Ph.D., professor of religious studies at Ursuline College; and Jenise M. Snyder, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, also from Ursuline.

The second session on March 20 features Rabbi Roger C. Klein, Ph.D., who will discuss hospitality in relation to "Exploring and Understanding the Jewish Tradition." This discussion includes Notre Dame College response panelists, Louise Prochaska, Ph.D., professor of theology and women's studies, and Sr. Karita Ivancic, SND, D.Min., associate professor of theology. Prochaska's research interests involve the Holocaust, and she has expertise in teaching interfaith understanding. She serves on the Abrahamic Center Internal Advisory Board. Ivancic is a Biblical scholar who leads Notre Dame's Eleanor Malburg Eastern Churches Seminar.

Klein serves at Temple Tifereth-Israel, a Reform Jewish synagogue in Beachwood, Ohio, and founding member of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Klein, referencing the Torah, will discuss the rich tradition of hospitality drawing on philosophical, communal and personal experience. Rabbi Enid C. Lader from Beth Israel West Temple in Cleveland will join the response panel.

Speakers at the final session, "In the Qur'an, Daily Life and in Cleveland," on March 27 about hospitality in the Islamic tradition include: Zeki Saritoprak, Ph.D., Bediuzzaman Said Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies at John Carroll University, whose most recent book discusses aspects of Jesus in Islam; Salma Ahmad, who practices welcoming through her work as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the Cleveland area; and Arshan Khalid, from Salaam Cleveland, a nonprofit organization that promotes mutual understanding among differing religious traditions and ethnicities in Northeast Ohio. Ahmad also serves on the Notre Dame Abrahamic Center Advisory Board.

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. The center honors Abraham's status as: patriarch of the three 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 work of Notre Dame's Tolerance Resource Center, which has provided opportunities for research, outreach, and education on the Holocaust, anti-bias issues and diversity for over 20 years.

For more information, contact Ziegler at

Written by Kimberly Krozser '17
February 2018


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For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master's degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

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