Founded in 1971, the inter-seminary exchange program – InterSem – is a retreat experience for Los Angeles-based Jewish and Christian seminarians to build relationships by engaging in dialogue designed to increase understanding and appreciation for their respective traditions. Since its inception, InterSem has served over 3000 students.
InterSem's goal is to build relationships among emerging religious leaders by sharing experiences from their own lives about religious beliefs and practices. The program provides extensive opportunities to study biblical and liturgical texts. In addition, the participants demonstrate their own religious tradition's daily prayers, rituals, and customs in order for the entire group to gain insight about the other. InterSem provides an atmosphere of openness and trust for dozens of seminary students to gather for a unique program that has become an integral component of their seminary education.
- Create positive relationships among emerging religious leaders of Catholicism, Protestantism, and Judaism
- Increase participant's knowledge and understanding of Catholicism, Protestantism, and Judaism
- Encourage participants to highly value and advocate for cultural diversity and religious pluralism
- Promote communication between Christian and Jewish communities in Southern California
- Academy for Jewish Religion, California
- AJU Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
- Claremont School of Theology
- Fuller Theological Seminary
- Hebrew Union College
- St. John's Seminary
Topics of Dialogue
Each year, joint student-faculty planning committees carefully select themes around which to dialogue. Past themes have included:
- Encountering the Divine: Spiritual Experiences Beyond Our Understanding
- Art in Our Tradition: Implications and Practical Practices
- Dealing with Difficult Text
- Contemporary Values, Religious Values: Culture Today and Our Space in it
- The Good the Bad and the Ugly: Addressing and Understanding the Extremes of Our Faith
- Bible: Battle Ground or Common Ground
- Struggles and Blessings: Encounters Within Our Traditions
- Reinterpreting Discomforting and Non-Negotiable Texts
- Jews and Christians Approaching Israel
- Living Out a Truth Claim: Who Wants To Be Clergy?
- How Does Liturgy Deal with Suffering?
- Interfaith Cooperation in the Alleviation of Suffering and Injustice
- Faith as an Agent for Change