Program

For the first time, you can join us at the Elijah Interfaith Summer School and Interreligious Leadership Seminar without leaving your home. All sessions will be live-streamed on Zoom.

Religion in Times of Crisis
Live from Jerusalem

What are religions supposed to do: on what domains of life do they impact and what do they achieve? 
What happens in times of crisis? Do crises enhance the functioning of religion, undermine it or both?
 
The recent COVID-19 pandemic allowed us to study the function of religion at a moment of global crisis.
 
We will hear from scholars of religion what they understand about the way that religions operate and we will hear from some of the world’s most prominent religious leaders about how they dealt with challenges during COVID-19, through a unique series of interviews carried out by the Elijah Interfaith Institute, titled “Coronaspection”.

Topics include:

  • Understanding the human condition
  • Interconnectivity: the place of humans in relation to each other and to the universe
  • The role of religions in social service and acts of kindness
  • The forms and functions of prayer and meditation
  • The role of religious leadership

Summer school activities include

  • academic lectures
  • panels of scholars and religious leaders
  • viewing and analyzing video messages of world religious leaders (Coronaspection project)
  • small group textual study
  • prayer and meditation
  • anchoring activities in religious sites in Jerusalem and elsewhere 
  • bibliodrama workshops
  • guided group discussion
Day 1
02 Aug 2020

Optional walking tour

around Old City Jerusalem, pointing out holy sites
Peta Jones Pellach

Discussion:

Introduction by participants: “How the Coronavirus crisis affected me, my life, my faith”
Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein
Peta Jones Pellach

Lecture and discussion:

Introduction to the course – “The parameters of religious life – in ordinary times and in times of crisis.”
Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein
Day 2
03 Aug 2020

Guest scholar and text study:

Religion provides meaning – explains the human condition – Meaning in Judaism

Guest scholar and text study:

Religion provides meaning – explains the human condition – Meaning in Christianity

Guest scholar and text study:

Religion provides meaning – explains the human condition – Meaning in Buddhism
Day 3
04 Aug 2020

Guest scholar and text study:

Religion provides meaning – explains the human condition – Meaning in Religions of India

Guest scholar and text study:

Religion provides meaning – explains the human condition – Meaning in Islam

Guest scholar and text study:

Religion provides meaning – – explains the human condition – Meaning in Bahai

Lecture and discussion:

Religion Provides Meaning: Synthesis, comparisons, contrast
Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein
Day 4
05 Aug 2020

Virtual participation

in prayers at Kotel and Church of Holy Sepulchre.
Peta Jones Pellach

Video compilation and discussion:

Religion provides the path for a relationship with G-d/ (with something greater than ourselves). Can we build a “storehouse of spirituality” to equip us for times of crisis?
Shrivatsa Goswami

Text study:

Prayer as a connection with G-d – building and strengthening the relationship in normal times and in crisis.

Bibliodrama:

Testing the relationship and expressing doubt: Abraham arguing, David calling out, Jonah trying to escape, Job’s friends doubting, Peter and Thomas.
Peta Jones Pellach
Day 5
06 Aug 2020

Panel discussion:

Religion provides community and identity Session 1 –Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist
Shrivatsa Goswami

Panel discussion:

Religion provides community and identity Session 2 – Muslim, Christian, Sikh
Prof. Dr. Dirk-Martin Grube

Small group discussions:

“Redefining and expanding definitions of community.” To what extent has this crisis impacted on our interfaith community, extending even to those without a strong religious community?
Day 6
09 Aug 2020

Virtual tour

of Garden of Righteous at Yad Vashem.
Peta Jones Pellach

Text study:

Religion shapes social relations, cultivating morality, teaching us how to act towards one another – across religions

Bibliodrama:

Case studies: Religious Geniuses exemplifying morality and social responsibility.
Peta Jones Pellach

Video clips and discussion:

How Covid 19 did or did not bring out the principles of social responsibility.
Day 7
10 Aug 2020

Guest teacher(s)/Panel:

Where does religions take place – heart, home, community? What is the balance between these loci of the religious life in different traditions and what happens when the “normal” is...
Read More

Video clips and text-study:

The balance of home and community – in regular times and in crisis.

Discussion:

Where does religions take place – heart, home, community? What is the ideal balance and what is the role of each of these “sites” in the religious life of the...
Read More
Day 8
11 Aug 2020

Virtual tour

of Botanic Gardens/ Biblical zoo.
Peta Jones Pellach

Lecture and texts:

Religion teaches us about our connectivity (religion orients us to life and to nature)

Video clips and discussion:

Appreciating our connectivity in times of crisis.

Small group discussion

(geared towards day 9) – preparing questions for leaders on the meaning of religious leadership and the challenges to religious leaders in times of crisis and as we emerge into...
Read More
Day 9
12 Aug 2020

Panel presentation:

The challenges of religious leadership before during and after Covid 19. Hindu, Muslim

Panel presentation:

The challenges of religious leadership before during and after Covid 19. Buddhist, Christian

Panel presentation:

The challenges of religious leadership before during and after Covid 19. Jewish, Bahai
Day 10
13 Aug 2020

Writing task:

Which of the purposes of religion have been better understood, realised or deepened through our theoretical analysis of the Covid 19 crisis?

Bibliodrama exercise:

How has my spiritual life been affected by this encounter?
Peta Jones Pellach

Formal evaluation

of the summer school and how we move forward as a spiritual community.