On October 14, 2010, the Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding (CCJU) honored Rabbi Joseph H. Ehrenkranz with the prestigious Nostra Aetate Award, named for the Second Vatican Council’s groundbreaking document on the Catholic Church and its relations with Jews and religions. The 1965 Vatican II document that began a new and positive relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish People by repudiating historic Christian teachings of contempt towards Jews and positively asserted the ongoing validity and common spiritual heritage that Christians and Jews share.
Presenting the award to Rabbi Ehrenkranz were long-time colleagues and friends of the rabbi, Cardinals William Keeler (retired archbishop of Baltimore) and Edward Egan (retired archbishop of New York) and Sacred Heart University’s president, Anthony J. Cernera, Ph.D. The text of the award read:
With high esteem and grateful appreciation, the Nostra Aetate Award is presented to Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz for his outstanding leadership and commitment to promoting dialogue and understanding in ethics, religion and education, while courageously striving to make the world a better place for the next generation by protecting the rights and dignity of all.
Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz is the Rabbi emeritus at Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford, Connecticut, and the long-time executive director of Sacred Heart University’s Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding. Now retired and living in Tel Aviv, he received his rabbinic training at Yeshiva University, and in December 1948, took a position at Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford as a student rabbi. Ordained in May of the following year, he assumed leadership of the congregation where he spent his entire career. The community thrived under his leadership, growing to become the largest Orthodox congregation in New England. Rabbi Ehrenkranz’s “second career” has been as the leader of the Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding, which he has brought to international stature as a champion of interreligious dialogue.
The event which hosted more than 140 people took place at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich, Connecticut, and was emceed by David, L. Coppola, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding. Dr. Coppola noted that Rabbi Ehrenkranz “is a man of boundless hope and energy. He reminds us that progress is possible, but it is not achieved without extraordinary efforts of those who take risks to reach across boundaries to welcome the other’s hand in friendship.”
Proceeds from the dinner are being applied to establish an endowed chair of Christian-Jewish Understanding in Rabbi Ehrenkranz’s honor and memory. For more information about how to make a donation to establish an endowed chair or the Center, please call 203-365-7592.