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Interfaith Fellows Visit Eastern

Welcome Temple Beth Shalom fellows! Over the course of this week, high school students from the Temple Beth Shalom community in Needham, Massachusetts are visiting Eastern University as part of the inaugural Chamberlain Interfaith Fellowship. Created by faith and academic leaders from Eastern University and Temple Beth Shalom in the fall of 2014, the fellowship honors the legacy of Dr. Ted J. Chamberlain (1944-2010). The Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Development at Eastern for twenty-eight years, Dr. Chamberlain was an integral part of the community as a teacher, administrator, counselor, athlete, friend, parent, and husband. He was known for his ability to transform people’s lives through his scholarly writings and international consulting work, in which he was especially known for his ability to relate to people from all walks of life.

In honor of Dr. Chamberlain’s life, the fellowship brings together Jewish and Christian students so that they may have the opportunity “to learn about each other’s faith tradition; reflect upon commonalities and difference in the spirit of emerging friendship; grow spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually; and engage in a social justice project for the common good of society and the world,” as articulated by the mission statement of the fellowship.

Last semester, Eastern students Jackson Curreri (senior, Theological Studies), Morgan Hess (Templeton Honors College senior, Music), Anna Lower (Junior, Psychology & Social Work), and Tamara Beal (Senior, Biology) spent their fall free days to visiting the Temple Beth Shalom fellows in Massachusetts. Our own Dr. Joseph Modica has been facilitating the CIF details at Eastern, working with fellows Jackson, Morgan, Anna, and Tamara.

This semester, the Temple Beth Shalom students are visiting from Tuesday, April 19 to Friday, April 22. The Temple Beth Shalom fellows are senior Needham High School students Samantha Altman, Michelle Saylor, and Simon Shulman. Their itinerary includes a Theological Thinking class with Dr. Steven Boyer, lunch with Dr. and Mrs. Duffett, David and Sydney Feldman, and Liria Chamberlain, and a visit to Love Park with Eastern’s YACHT Club. Attending various events on campus, Eastern students will have many opportunities to meet and talk with the Jewish fellows.

Ultimately, the Eastern community stands to gain a lot through the fellowship. Dr. Modica believes Eastern can gain “a deep appreciation and understanding of the religion of Judaism and the Jewish faith.” And with EU’s mission as a Christian liberal arts institution, Modica states, “We want to prepare students for faithful lives of following Jesus in this world. An understanding and personal engagements about religious pluralism is essential to that preparation.”

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