In 1943, during the dark days of World War II, Rabbi B. Benedict Glazer sought a way to soften the hatred and prejudice so bitterly dividing Detroit. One solution, he felt, was to bring together clergy friends to discuss understanding and mutual respect. Annually, he invited several Protestant ministers to Temple Beth El to hear an outstanding authority on Judaism, and to share each other’s traditions. The Institute on Judaism for the Christian Clergy, as it was first known, grew yearly, becoming a Temple tradition.
Following Dr. Glazer’s untimely death in 1952, the Temple Board renamed the Institute as a memorial to his vision and quest for goodwill among all people. Today, it is the longest-running interfaith institute in the nation, and one of the foremost programs of its kind in the country. The roster of Institute speakers reads like a “Who’s Who” of American Jewish leadership and the Institute’s format has been widely emulated. As the religious landscape has evolved, participants now include both clergy and lay leaders from communities as diverse as Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Muslim, and Sikh as it has become a truly inter-denominational, interracial, and ecumenical effort to build stronger relationships among all the people of our city.
This year’s Glazer Institute will feature Rabbi David Wolpe, one of America’s foremost Jewish speakers, who will address the topic: “Bridging Religious Boundaries: Jewish Perspectives on an Interfaith World.” The 2017 Glazer Institute is this Thursday, February 16, 7:00 pm at Temple Beth El, 7400 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills. It is open to and encourages participation from lay leaders who are committed to interfaith work in our greater-Detroit community. It promises to be a fascinating celebration of our historic and growing commitment to interfaith relations locally and around the country, and Rabbi Wolpe will offer a fascinating analysis of where we are headed.
Rabbi Wolpe is one of the nation’s leading religious leaders, named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine. A former teacher at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Hunter College, and UCLA, he is currently the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California. He regularly writes for publications that include The LA Times, the Washington Post’s On Faith website, The Huffington Post, and the New York Jewish Week. And he regularly shares his perspectives on television news shows and provides expertise to PBS, A&E, the History channel, and the Discovery channel. He has written eight books, including the national bestseller Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times.