SHU to Dedicate Blau Library Collection

News Story: October 5, 2008

The Blau Collection: the Library for Christian-Jewish Understanding will be formally dedicated on Monday, November 10th, at noon. It will be housed in Sacred Heart University’s Ryan-Matura Library on campus. The collection of hundreds of books and related materials will be a unique resource in the nation since it will deal exclusively with the changing relationship between Christians and Jews over the course of 2,000 years.

“This will serve as a valuable research center,” said Dr. Ann Heekin, the director of programs and publications for the University’s Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding (CCJU). “It is designed to promote new scholarship in the field and serve as a resource for students, religious leaders and educators. The collection will be registered in the American Directory of Libraries and the Special Collections Directory.”

Made possible by a grant from the Blau Community Foundation, this new scholarly resource will enhance the CCJU’s position as a leader in interreligious dialogue. The collection, which is expected to grow over the years, will feature a number of concentrations. Among these will be Jewish and Christian understandings of the Hebrew Bible; the history of relationships between the two great traditions including the medieval period, the Renaissance and Reformation, the Enlightenment and modern times up to the Holocaust; studies of the Holocaust and the churches; and post-Holocaust relations.

Dr. Heekin pointed out that relationships between Christians and Jews have changed more in the past 40 years than perhaps in the previous two millennia. The Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding was founded in 1992 as an educational and research division of Sacred Heart University. It is a direct outgrowth of the Second Vatican Council's teachings that encourage interreligious dialogue and understanding. One result has been a significant growth of literature in the field, she said, making such a special collection both possible and meaningful for fostering education and research in Christian-Jewish studies. CCJU has earned an international reputation for both its educational programs and its publications. The center has been warmly endorsed by both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

For further information on the Blau Collection and the work of the CCJU, contact Dr. Heekin at 203-365-4850 or