Program 2023

Morning sessions: 9:00 am -1:00 pm (Jerusalem time), exploring and understanding Jerusalem through the eyes of different religious traditions, imbibing the sanctity of the holy city; afternoon sessions (live-streamed): 4:00 – 7:00 pm, the concept of “return”.

Do you yearn to return Jerusalem? Is the Jerusalem of your imaginings one you have visited in person or is it a vision, that you have visited in your dreams and in your prayers? Will you turn the dream into a reality by coming to the Holy City or will you return to it virtually?

What makes Jerusalem a site of pilgrimage to which believers return time after time?

What is “return”?

Is it to be where you have been before or is that impossible? Is “return” reliving previous encounters? Is it restoration or consolation? Is it about recommitment? What is the connection between “return” and repentance, purification and reunification? How do we understand theological concepts of “exile and return” in different religious traditions?

What is the connection between prayer and return to oneself? Is true prayer always a form of return?

What is a genuine prayer experience?

Topics include:

  • Jerusalem in Judaism, Christianity and Islam and in other traditions
  • What is the meaning of “return” in theological and spiritual terms
  • Loss and consolation
  • Exile and return 
  • Return to oneself – return to one’s identity
  • Return to sites of pilgrimage
  • Concepts of time
  • The meaning of real prayer

Summer school activities include

  • Academic lectures
  • Panels of scholars and religious leaders from 6 different faiths
  • Small group textual study
  • Prayer and meditation
  • Workshops
  • Guided group discussion
  • Touring, visiting holy sites