The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies


Veteran Jewish educator Bonnie Shafrin named director of Lux Center

Bonnie Shafrin, a veteran Jewish educator and the former director of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s Holocaust Education Resource Center, has been named director of the Lux Center for Catholic Jewish Studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.

“Sacred Heart is the only Roman Catholic seminary with a center dedicated to promoting Catholic-Jewish understanding, and with Bonnie’s leadership and energy, the Lux Center is poised to become a national academic voice in interreligious conversations,” said Patrick Russell, the seminary’s vice president for academic affairs.

Shafrin has been a member of the Lux Center’s Advisory Committee since 2014, and has worked with the Lux Center on a variety of issues, including bringing the Holocaust Study Institute to the Lux Center in 2013. The institute included a class, student travel to Israel, and a major public lecture by Fr. Kevin Spicer.

She is the past president of the Milwaukee Association for Jewish Education, and chaired the board of the Coalition for Jewish Learning. Prior to becoming director of the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, she was a teacher in public and Jewish schools.

The Lux Center was established in 2010 as a tribute to Professor Richard Lux (emeritus), on the occasion of his retirement after 37 years on the Sacred Heart faculty. Its purpose is to continue his tireless and extensive life’s work in strengthening Catholic-Jewish relations.

Lux himself had previously held the position of director. He will now assume the role of founding director, continuing to actively provide support to Lux Center activities and Shafrin’s work.

Lux commented, “Having worked extensively with Bonnie on a variety of projects, I am very excited about what her background, leadership skills and energy will bring to the center as it enters a new phase.”

Shafrin has a master of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is working toward a master of arts in Jewish education from Siegal College of Judaic Studies.

There are currently more than 500 Catholic priests serving across the United States and Canada who graduated from Sacred Heart.

The Lux Center 2015 public lecture

Full house hears Roddy lecture on historical context of Jesus' ministry

roddy 1Approximately 200 people were on hand to hear Dr. Nicolae Roddy of Creighton University deliver a lecture on the historical context of Jesus's ministry.

The Lux Center at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology sponsors a lecture annually on topics that aim to build dialog and common understanding between Catholics and Jews.

rod2Following a Q&A session, guests visited the Dehon Library to see the Lux Center's Judaica collection there, and to meet and greet Dr. Roddy and SHSST professor emeritus Dr. Richard Lux.

See the pre-event program annoucement below.

Jews, Jesus, and the Roman Empire:  What Really Happened?

roddy officeHow were the motivations of First Century Jewish movements rooted in their responses to Greek and Roman authorities, and how did this shape the reaction of the Judeans to the ministry of Jesus? 

Creighton University’s Dr. Nicolae Roddy will explore these questions, how they relate to the works and words of Jesus, and the important ways this context influences the Christian and Jewish faiths today, in the Lux Center’s March 15 lecture.

Registration for this event is now closed.

“Jesus’ life and the Jewish response to his ministry are easily misunderstood if not seen in the context of the religious structures and political situation of the time,” Roddy notes. “Our work aims to shed new light on context of the day.”

Dr. Nicolae Roddy, an associate professor of theology at Creighton University, is a renowned archaeologist and a leading international authority on the historical context in which Jesus lived.

roddy digFor the past 18 years, he has served as co-director and area supervisor for the Consortium of the Bethsaida Excavations Project, an archaeological site located near the Sea of Galilee. Sacred Heart is a consortium member. Dr. Roddy also co-directs the Virtual World Project, a web-based virtual reality resource dedicated to archaeology, and serves as Senior Editor for JOCABS, the journal of Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies.

Past headlines

(Feb. 2014)

Rabbi Dr. Richard Freund to speak at March 9 Lux Lecture

"How is archeology changing Jewish and Catholic identity?"

Well-known archeologist Rabbi Dr. Richard Freund will Rabbi Freunddiscuss exciting recent discoveries around the Sea of Galilee. Both the Jesus movement and the Rabbinical tradition emerged from this same soil. Freund will explore what Jews and Catholics may be able to share with respect to their common roots in that place.

About Dr. Rabbi Freund:
Long before his appearances on TV specials brought him status as a celebrity archaeologist, Rabbi Freund earned his reputation as an author, university professor and, foremost, a working archeologist. He is director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. Freund is an ordained rabbi with a Ph.D. from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He has also written two volumes on Jewish ethics. Freund has directed six archaeological projects in Israel, including digs at Qumran, Nazareth and Yavne, as well as projects in Spain. He has also appeared in the History Channel’s “God vs. Satan: The Final Battle,” CNN’s “After Jesus: The First Christians” and NOVA’s “Ancient Refuge in the Holy Land,” based on his book “Secrets of the Cave of Letters.”

Sunday, March 9 2:00 p.m.
Main Lobby, Sacred Heart School of Theology
7335 S. Highway 100, Franklin, Wis. 53132

This is a free public lecture, but registration is required.

(Oct. 2013)

Fr. Kevin Spicer, CSC, gives lecture on the role of Catholic Priests during the Nazi Holocaust

Fr. Spicer speaks to group

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 27, the Rev. Kevin P. Spicer, CSC, Ph.D., (left), professor of history at Stonehill College in Boston, gave a presentation entitled “Catholics, Nazis, Jews: The Complex History” as part of the Lux Center’s Holocaust Study Institute. His lecture explored the actions, or inaction, of Germany’s Catholic priests in the face of the Nazis’ persecution of Europe’s Jews. Bonnie Shafrin (top center) of the Holocaust Education Resource Center, co-sponsor of the event, Dr. Richard Lux (top right), and the Rev. Scott Jones, SDS, Ph.D., of the SHST faculty, welcomed more than 100 guests attending the lecture.

(April, 2012)

Benefit dinner brings financial support
amid serious theology

Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, professor of New Testament and Jewish studies at Vanderbilt University, participated in several events sponsored by the Lux Center at Sacred Heart School of Theology April 19 through 21.

Photos above:

A., B. and E.: Levine and Milwaukee Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Richard Sklba teamed up to present dual lectures on how Catholics and Jews can benefit from understanding each other's faiths and scriptures, at a Lux Center fundraiser. About 160 Catholics and Jews attended the event, held at Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid in Glendale, Wis.

C.: Levine conducted a workshop for faculty of SHST and other area colleges and universities on Friday afternoon, with Dr. Richard Lux. Her topic was, "Christian and Jewish Readings of the Parables: Theological and Pastoral Implications."

D and F.: Levine presented a two-hour lecture on "How to avoid anti-Jewish Teaching and Preaching" to about 200 seminarians, faculty, religious educators from the Milwaukee community, and international priests and nuns enrolled in SHST's English language program.

Benefit dinner plans gearing up

Community organizations and individuals are stepping forward eagerly to support the Lux Center's April 21 benefit dinner, featuring noted scholars Amy-Jill Levine and Bishop Richard Sklba. Catholic Financial Life, the Marcus Corporation Foundation, Bob and Mimi Habush, BMO Harris Bank, Beth Peterman in memory of her husband Bob Peterman, the Priests of the Sacred Heart, the Jewish Community Center, Atid Properties, and many others have stepped forward as sponsors. The Lux Center is extremely grateful for these organizations' contributions to Catholic-Jewish dialogue.

Announcing: 2013 Holocaust Study Institute

The Lux Center is pleased to announce the creation of its Holocaust Study Institute, a one semester evening class beginging in January, 2013, followed by a study trip to Israel. Educators may be eligible for scholarships. More ...

Dr. Lux Video

The Lux Center has recently released a video featuring Dr. Lux describing the rationale and goals of the Lux Center. See it here.

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