The Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding of Sacred Heart University seeks to contribute to the creation of a world of greater respect, cooperation and peace by educating Christians and Jews for a dialogue that is based on knowledge and truth about God and one another. The Center promotes scholarship, trains future religious leaders, educates teachers and leaders of parishes and synagogues, and serves as a leader in promoting Christian-Jewish understanding in the United States and throughout the world.
The Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding (CCJU) is an educational and research division of Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut. Established in 1992, CCJU is a direct outgrowth of the Second Vatican Council’s teachings that encouraged interreligious dialogue and cooperation. The Center draws together clergy, laity, scholars, theologians, and educators to focus on current religious thinking within Judaism and Christianity and provides forums for dialogue in order to advance greater knowledge, understanding, and harmony between religions. The growing participation of Muslims in the interreligious dialogue is also welcomed by the CCJU. As members of each religious tradition reevaluate attitudes toward the other, the Center strives to foster the exploration of the major theological, historical, philosophical, and social issues on the frontier of interreligious dialogue as these are formulated by scholars and religious leaders at the national and international levels.
To achieve its goals, the Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding develops programs and publications to overcome deep-seated antagonisms based on centuries of mutual estrangement that recent progress has not healed. The Center also promotes independent research and serves as a vehicle for disseminating its findings to appropriate institutions and individuals around the world.
At an April 1994 audience with Pope John Paul II in Rome, in March 2000, in Israel, and again in Rome in October 2001, the Pope warmly encouraged the leaders of the CCJU to continue the Center's work of building understanding and harmony between Christians and Jews. The Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding continues to promote its agenda as part of the mission of Sacred Heart University with strong support from the Vatican, and numerous Christian, Jewish and Islamic groups. The successful participation in and sponsoring of numerous national and international missions, seminars, colloquia and conferences in the United States, Canada, Germany, India, Israel, Poland and Italy strongly positions the Center as a world leader in the area of interreligious dialogue.
The Center publishes conference proceedings, lectures, monographs, and a semi-annual publication, CCJU Perspective. The Center also published Toward Greater Understanding, a 1995 festschrift (festival volume of essays) in honor of John Cardinal O'Connor's 75th birthday and 50 years as a priest; With My Last Breath, memoirs of a Holocaust survivor (1999); Religion and Violence, Religion and Peace (2000); Religion, Violence and Peace: Continuing Conversations and Study Guide (2004); What Do We Want the Other to Teach about Us? (2006) and Examining Nostra Aetate After 40 Years (2007).