News and Events

2018-19 Events

Rebecca UDR
UDR Rebecca Hersch elected to Phi Beta Kappa

April 5, 2019

Rebecca's major is in NEJS and Sociology with a minor in Religious Studies. Her thesis titled "The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom: The United Response of Muslim and Jewish Women to Moral Shocks" (working title) is about The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, a Jewish and Muslim women's interfaith group primary located in the United States. She employs a social movement lens to study the growth of the Sisterhood and the goals and experiences of the members. Rebecca is primarily interested in their united responses to moral shocks such as the hate crimes in Pittsburgh and New Zealand. In 2020, she will be working for the Foundation for Jewish Camp as the Day Camp fellow. 
Congratulations Rebecca!
Prof Dedong Wei
The Theoretical Characteristics of Tibetan Buddhism: An Introduction Based on the "Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment"

March 26, 2019

Lecture by Professor Dedong Wei on March 26, 2:00-3:30 pm at Olin-Sang 101

(Wheelchair accessible)


Dr. Dedong Wei is the director of the International Center of Buddhist Studies at Renmin University of China, and currently an adjunct researcher of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. He received his PhD from Renmin University in 1997 and has published many books and papers, including The Essence of Buddhist Yogacara Philosophy, the Explanation and Translation of Madhyanta Viobaga Sastra, Field Trip on World Religions, Desensitization for Religion, and Cultural Awakening of Religion. He is well recognized as a leading scholar of Buddhist studies.


Joy Ladin lecture
Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective

February 7, 2019

Prof. Ladin has recently published Soul of the Stranger, in which she reflects on God and on texts from the Torah. Ladin is the David and Ruth Gottesman Professor of English and Director of the Beren Writing Center at Yeshiva University. She will be answering questions and engaging the audience in discussion.
When: Thursday, February 7
Where: Lown 203, 1:00–1:50 pm.
*Sponsored by the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. Co-sponsored by the Program in Religious Studiesand by the Feminist Sexual Ethics Project
Weston Event
The Water is Life Movement: Standing Rock in Social Justice and Spiritual Context

February 6, 2019

Jennifer Weston is a researcher, writer, and producer who has worked for the past two decades with tribal community programs focused on cultural resiliency, environmental justice, addictions research, education, and language revitalization. Currently she serves as the Director of theWôpanâak Language Reclamation Project and the Language Departmnet Director for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. She is an Associate Lecturer of Women's and Gender Studies at UMass Boston, where she has taught the Civic Engagement Scholarship Initiative (CESI) course, Native American Women in North America: Indigenous Mother Tongues, Leadership and Self-Determination.

When: February 6, Wednesday 5 pm

Where: Golding 101

*Co-Sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, Religious Studies Program, American Studies Program, and Department of Anthropology at Brandeis University 

2017-18 Events

Welcoming or Alienating Poster
Dialogue Circle: Religion at Brandeis

October 31, 2017

Dialogue circles are a tool used to create face-to-face interaction and conversation.

Get ready to discuss: â€œReligion at Brandeis: Welcoming or Alienating?”

Facilitated by Wendy Cadge, Professor in the Department of Sociology and Chair of the Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at Brandeis University.

Hosted by the Religious Studies UDRs

Marcia Falk Lecture Poster
Marcia Falk: The Book of Blessings and The Days Between

November 6, 2017

Author Talk, Q&A and Book Signing with Marcia Falk

Join us to celebrate the release of the 20th-anniversary edition of Marcia Falk's The Book of Blessings: New Jewish Prayers for Daily Life, the Sabbath, and the New Moon Festival (Central Conference of American Rabbis), with Marcia Falk herself. Falk will also read from her recent book, The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season (Brandeis University Press, The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Series on Jewish Women).

The Central Conference of American Rabbis is delighted to bring Falk's groundbreaking book of creative liturgy back into print. With new essays by scholars Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell, Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Rabbi Dalia Marx, and Rabbi David Ellenson, this volume will inspire a new generation and re-ignite those who encountered this innovative collection when it was first published in 1996.

Co-sponsored by the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and the Brandeis University Program in Religious Studies

Brandeis Religious Vision Poster
Dialogue Circle: Your Brandeis Religious Experience Vision

November 14, 2017

Dialogue circles are a tool used to create face-to-face interaction and conversation.

Get ready to discuss: â€œWhen you imagine a future for academic and student religious experience at Brandeis, what do you envision?”

Facilitated by Wendy Cadge, Professor in the Department of Sociology and Chair of the Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at Brandeis University.

Hosted by the Religious Studies UDRs

Sonja Luehrman Lecture Poster
Sin and Soviet Memory: Abortion and the Russian Orthodox Church

November 20, 2017

Please join us as Sonja Luehrmann, associate professor of anthropology at Simon Fraser University, workshops a chapter of her forthcoming book, Sin and Soviet Memory: Abortion and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Sponsored by the Workshop for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at Brandeis University. Co-sponsored by the Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies & the Program in Religious Studies at Brandeis University

Interfaith Relationships Poster
Dialogue Circle: Interfaith Relationships

March 27, 2018

Dialogue circles are a tool used to create face-to-face interaction and conversation.

Get ready to discuss: "Can interfaith relationships really work? How much does religion matter in a relationship?"

Hosted by the Religious Studies UDR

2016-17 Events

Chat with UDRs Poster
In a multicultural society, is religion relevant?

October 19, 2016

A chat with the Religious Studies UDRs

Throughout history, religion has held a strong presence. However, in contemporary times, with relatively new connectivity and globalization working to make a multicultural society with universalist values, what is the relevance of religion? Join PRS UDRs Gabi Hersch and Lily Wageman in Upper Usdan at 1pm for a captivating conversation about this, as well as any questions you may have about the Religious Studies department, including classes, faculty, events, what it takes to be a minor, and more!

Rosalyn LaPier Poster
What Makes a Place a “Sacred Place”?

November 4, 2016

What does it mean for religious practice and for the environment when Indigenous peoples say that their land, water or places are sacred?

Rosalyn LaPier, University of Montana and Harvard Divinity, an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana and also Red River Métis, is an Indigenous writer, ethnobotanist, and environmental historian. She has written the award-winning City Indian: Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893–1934 (with David Beck) and Invisible Reality: Storytellers, Storytakers and the Supernatural World of the Blackfeet (in press).

Co-sponsors: American Studies, Anthropology, Brandeis Multifaith Chaplaincy, Environmental Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, Office of the Vice Provost for Research, PAX, Sociology

Read The Hoot Article
Arranged Film Night Poster
Film Night: 'Arranged'

December 1, 2016

Religious Studies, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (NEJS), and Islamic and Middle Eastern studies (IMES) are hosting Film Night! Pizza will be served and the movie shown will be "Arranged." This film centers on two young women — one an Orthodox Jew, the other a devout Muslim — who meet and become friends as first-year teachers at a public school in Brooklyn. Over the course of the year they learn that they share much in common, not least of which is that they are both going through arranged marriages. Come out to see the movie and eat free pizza!

John Jefferson Davis Poster
Who are the “Evangelicals” in America: What Do They Believe, and How Are They Misunderstood? Unity and Diversity within Conservative Protestant Christianity

January 25, 2017

John Jefferson Davis, since 1975 Professor of Systematic Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a leading evangelical seminary, will address identity, belief, and diversity within the largest sector of Protestant Christianity in America, and will attempt to clarify common misunderstandings. He will share his own faith journey and personal reflections on current internal discussions about race, gender, and politics since the recent presidential election.

Davis chairs the Division of Christian Thought at Gordon-Conwell. His books include Foundations of Evangelical Theology; Meditation and Communion with God; Worship and the Reality of God; and Frontiers of Science and Faith: From the Big Bang to the End of the Universe. He currently researches the intersections between Christian theology and world religions, and Christian faith and modern science.

Sponsored by the Kraft-Hiatt Fund and the Program in Religious Studies. Co-Sponsored by the Brandeis Chaplaincy.

Read The Justice article

Read The Hoot article
R.L. Green Poster
Racial Regimes: Catholic Theology and Indigenous America

February 15, 2017

R. L. Green, PhD, assistant professor in the religious studies department at the College of the Holy Cross, will examine how Euro-Catholic thinkers sought to justify the extirpation of Indigenous religious traditions in colonial North America. In doing so, the Catholic Church’s relationship with empire will be sketched out as we try to understand how and why modern Catholicism seems to be still invested in “saving” Indigenous peoples from their own traditions.

Sponsored by the Kraft-Hiatt Fund and the Program in Religious Studies. Co-sponsored by the History Department and the Latin American and Latino Studies Program.

Read The Justice Article
Dokurō Roland Jaeckel Poster
The Practice of Zen Meditation

March 2, 2017

DokurÃ… Roland Jaeckel served for a number of years as the Buddhist Chaplain at Boston University and is currently a Buddhist Chaplain at Harvard University. From 2004 until 2011 he led the Zazen-kai at the Cambridge Buddhist Association (CBA) and served as the last Abbot of the CBA. DokurÃ… is a member of the American Zen Teachers Association, a peer organization of Zen teachers of various lineages.

René Bloch Poster
Show and Tell: Myth, Tourism, and Jewish Hellenism

March 8, 2017

René Bloch is Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Bern (Switzerland), where he holds a joint appointment in the Institute of Jewish Studies and the Institute of Classics. Bloch currently serves as a Harry Starr Fellow in Judaica at Harvard University.

Bloch will discuss Greco-Roman antiquity Jews, who had their own displays where visitors could see and admire objects from mythical times. Very much like pagan culture, Jewish Hellenism, too, developed a tourism of sorts at sights of miracle and wonder.

Sponsored by the Kraft-Hiatt Fund and Program in Religious Studies. Co-sponsored by the Classics Department.

Religious and Cultural Perspectives on Immigration in the United States Poster
Religious and Cultural Perspectives on Immigration in the United States

March 9, 2017

Panelists will discuss how the histories of religious/cultural groups combined with religious teachings may influence the perspectives of said group on immigration policy in the United States. Are people in America inclined to help immigrants because of their own history of discrimination? Are people worried about how the changing American demographic will impact their group identity? These are some of the types of questions we hope to discuss, especially in light of the recent proposed travel ban.

Through this event, we aspire to engage both Brandeis faculty and students (graduate and undergraduate) across the spectrum of the liberal arts in this crucial current events topic. The purpose of this panel is to educate, initiate dialogue, and inspire action. We want to make it clear that the panelist are speaking from their own knowledge (through scholarship or experiences), and they are not speaking on behalf of everyone in said religious/cultural group.

Bernadette Brooten, Myra and Robert Kraft and Jacob Hiatt Professor of Christian Studies (Catholic and Protestant history and response)

Xing Hang, Assistant Professor of History (Chinese history and response)

Marci McPhee, Director of Campus Programs, International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) history and response, and working with immigrants in Waltham)

Maryam Sharrieff, Brandeis Interim Muslim Chaplain (Muslim history and response)

Mitra Shavarini, Lecturer, Sociology and Women̢۪s and Gender Studies (Iranian history and response)

Ellen Smith, Associate Professor of the Practice and Director of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program (Jewish history and response)

Kristen Lucken, Lecturer, International & Global Studies, Religious Studies and Sociology

Sponsored by the Program in Religious Studies (PRS)
Co-Sponsored by: Brandeis Immigration Education Initiative, Brandeis Pluralism Alliance, Common Ground, Heller Program in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence, The Hornstein Program for Jewish Professional Leadership, Intercultural Center, The International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, Student Association for TRII

Grace Killian and Rev. Mary Jane Eaton Poster
Come and See: The Call to Sacred Relationships / Faith, Leadership, and Chronic Homelessness

March 13, 2017

Grace Killian '13, will speak about changing understandings of Christian missions, especially in relation to her time serving as a Global Mission Fellow in Israel, Palestine and Jordan. Killian is a former Global Mission Fellow with United Methodist Global Ministries and currently pursuing a dual degree with a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School and an MA in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Rev. Mary Jane Eaton, '96, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),will share how the church can become a tool for overcoming systemic disempowerment, bridging the gap between the housed and the unhoused, and holding hope in a broken world. Eaton serves as Associate Minister at Common Cathedral,, an outdoor church in Boston for people experiencing chronic homelessness.

Sponsored by the Robert and Myra Kraft and Jacob Hiatt Fund, Program in Religious Studies. Co-sponsored by the Hiatt Career Center.
Kathleen Corley Poster
How Women Invented Christianity

March 20, 2017

Kathleen E. Corley is a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where she teaches New Testament, Christianity, Gnosticism, and Women in Religion. Her publications include Private Women, Public Meals (1993); Women and the Historical Jesus (2002); Jesus and Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (2004); and Maranatha: Women's Funerary Traditions and Christian Origins (2010).Â

Her new work and lecture, “How Women Invented Christianity”, involves the role of women in the creation of nascent Christianity through funerary meals for the dead Jesus, visions of him in the context of their great grief, and story telling about his life, and especially his Passion or death.

Co-sponsored by Near Eastern and Judaic Studies with support from the Martin Weiner Fund

Meet the Muslims Poster
Meet the Muslims: An Introduction to the Muslim Prayer Space

March 30, 2017

Join Common Ground, Brandeis' Jewish-Muslim Dialogue group, for tea, biscuits, and dialogue in the Muslim Student Association Suite in Usdan.

Co-sponsored by the Program in Religious Studies
Candle in Hands
Want to Know More about the Religious Studies Program?

April 5, 2017

Are you a NEJS or IMES major? Do you take East Asian Studies and South Asian Studies courses? You might already be on your way to becoming a Religious Studies Minor! Do you have questions about becoming a Religious Studies minor? Would you like to potentially major in Religious Studies?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, come speak to PRS UDR, Gabi Hersch.

Virginia Raguin Poster
Technology of Stained Glass and the Use and Meaning of its Imagery

April 5, 2017

Join Virginia Raguin for a talk on the technology of stained glass and the use and meaning of its imagery in the context of some of Europe's great medieval cathedrals.Co-sponsored by the Program in Religious Studies
Venerable Jue Qian Shi
Humanistic Buddhism

April 27, 2017

Venerable Jue Qian Shi is the Director of Fo Guang Buddhist Temple Boston. She has served in Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto as the advising Venerable of Localization of Buddhism division, Public Relation division and Fo Guang Shan Young Adult division and is also the advising Venerable of Waterloo Buddha's Light Center.

Venerable Jue Qian Shi was ordained as a nun in Taiwan, Fo Guang Shan Temple. She has obtained a Master Degree in Business from Victoria University of Technology (Australia) and a Bachelor Degree and a Master Degree in Chinese Buddhism by Fo Guang Shan, Tsung Lin University.

As a member of Hsi Lai Temple, she teaches the Sunday English Buddhism Class.  In Toronto, she conducts English and Chinese Buddhism Dharma and Meditation workshops in temples, prisons, hospitals, high schools, colleges, universities and various interfaith conferences.