Dr. David M. Elcott who helps oversee the Israel Policy Forum is this year's Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Lecturer

Dr. David M. Elcott who helps oversee the Israel Policy Forum is this year's Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Lecturer

This year's Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Lecture in Judaic Studies will feature David Elcott, Ph.D, who has traveled the world to help invigorate Jewish life and to promote Christian and Muslim understanding of Judaism. His talk, "Blurred Vision: How Jews and Christians See Israel," will focus on the different religious, symbolic, and political perceptions that Jews and Christians have of Israel, and the importance of Israel to each." Dr. Elcott's lecture is presented by the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University and will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 7:30 p.m., in the university's Dolan School of Business Dining Room. The lecture is open to the public at no charge.

"God does not have only one blessing," Dr. Elcott once wrote. "As God's agents, we must work to bring the blessing of peace to all - Palestinians and Israelis, Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. To do less is a sin for which we all will be held accountable."

David Elcott has worked throughout his life to help other cultures understand the Jewish community. He also has assisted numerous religious communal organizations, social justice agencies, and international corporations to retool their missions and vision in response to new conditions and challenges of the 21st century. Recently, he has been named executive director of the Israel Policy Forum, a think-tank and advocacy organization committed to Israel's security by promoting a policy of U.S. support for a two-state solution. This organization advocates active American engagement in producing Israeli-Arab peace.

Ellen M. Umansky, Ph.D., director of Fairfield's Judaic Studies program and the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Professor of Judaic Studies, said Dr. Elcott has long been a leader in building bridges between Jews and members of other cultures worldwide. "We are honored to have this important voice on Jewish culture and ideas at Fairfield. He is such a very well-respected individual in the broader Jewish community."

Previously, Dr. Elcott was the U.S. director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, an organization founded in 1906 by American Jews to safeguard and strengthen Jews and Jewish life worldwide. While there, he was instrumental in the creation of a broad-based Christian-Jewish coalition of national leaders, and succeeded in diverting an anti-Israel divestment campaign into positive advocacy for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Dr. Elcott has advised political and religious leaders worldwide. He worked for four years overseeing DME Consulting, where he served in an advisory role to an array of non-profit organizations and major corporations. For 16 years prior to his time with DME, he was vice president of CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, the leading educational and training institution in the American Jewish community. He is the author of "A Sacred Journey: The Jewish Quest for a Perfect World." He received a Ph.D. in Political Psychology and Middle East Studies from Columbia University, and a B.A. in Political Science from University of California, Los Angeles, among other degrees.

The Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies was founded in 1994. Its mission is to be a multifaceted program that studies Judaism as an ongoing religious, historical and cultural civilization. The Center aims to provide students with exposure to and contact with Jewish ideas, culture and thinking. The Schnurmacher Foundation has helped make a variety of Judaic Studies programs possible at Fairfield University.

Posted On: 11-13-2006 10:11 AM

Volume: 39 Number: 87