March 12, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo - Hana Bendcowsky, program director at the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations (JCJCR), will speak and lead a discussion on interfaith relations at 7:30 p.m. March 27 in the Whitfield Center conference room on the campus of Avila University.
Bendcowsky’s visit is made possible by the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest and co-sponsored by Avila University, Rockhurst University and the University of Missouri Kansas City.
“We are pleased to host Hana’s visit to Kansas City,” said Ron Slepitza, Ph.D., Avila University president. “I was fortunate to travel to Israel last fall with a delegation from Kansas City to learn more about the interconnectivity between our countries and the importance of interfaith dialogue. When the opportunity arose to bring Hana Bendcowsky to our campus to address this very topic, I jumped at the chance. The insights she will share with us will be invaluable, and I hope many people from our community will join us for this discussion.”
A Jew from Jerusalem with a master of arts degree in comparative religion from Hebrew University and 14 years of practical experience in interfaith activities in Israel, Bendcowsky is in charge of overseeing the daily operations of the JCJCR’s diverse educational programs and encounter groups. She contributes to the preparation of educational materials in Hebrew and teaches in the center’s various educational programs. In addition to her position with JCJCR, Bendcowsky works as a tour educator in Jerusalem for groups involving more than 1,500 individuals a year, mainly Israeli Jews and primarily study tours in the Christian Quarter.
“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to hear from an Israeli citizen – one who is actively committed to fostering understanding and dialogue among Jews and Christians in her country,” said S. Audrey Doetzel, SND, event moderator. “As North Americans, we all too easily project our own interfaith experience here onto life in Israel, unaware of the complexity and unique nature of this relationship in Israel. For example, Christians, though of many stripes, are a small minority. This is true especially for Arab Christians who are a minority within a minority.”
“Hana Bendcowsky’s visit to Kansas City provides one more great opportunity for us to strengthen our interfaith relationships and forge a strong bond between Christians and Jews, especially with an improved understanding of those relationships within the land of Israel – a holy place for all of us,” said Rabbi Alan Cohen, director of interreligious affairs at the Jewish Community Relations Bureau/American Jewish Committee. “I am grateful to Avila for taking the lead in promoting this program along with Rockhurst and UMKC.”
Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.