Seton Hall University

Historical Milestones

Milestone Highlights

1953 – 1959

  • The Institute of Judaeo-Christian Studies is founded at Seton Hall University by Father John M. Oesterreicher on March 25, 1953.
  • The Institute's The Bridge: A Yearbook of Judaeo-Christian Studies, the first in a series of five volumes of research in various areas of Catholic-Jewish relations, is published in 1955 by Pantheon Books: Volumes II, III, IV and V are subsequently published in 1956, 1958, 1962 and 1970 respectively.

1960 – 1969

  • Father Oesterreicher is appointed as Consultor in the Secretariat for Christian Unity in 1961 and attends sessions of the Second Vatican Council from 1961-1965, serving as a principal architect of the Statement on The Church's Bond with the Jewish People within Nostra Aetate, no. 4.
  • Fathers Edward H. Flannery and Edward A. Synan become Associates of the Institute and partner with Father Oesterreicher in building and promoting Vatican II on The Church's Bond with the Jewish People in 1965.
  • The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Anti-Semitism by Edward H. Flannery with an introduction by John M. Oesterreicher is published by Macmillan in 1965.
  • The Popes and the Jews in the Middle Ages by Edward A. Synan with a preface by John M. Oesterreicher is published by Macmillan in 1965.
  • Father Oesterreicher is named an Honorary Prelate with the title, Monsignor, in 1966.
  • The Institute's Father Flannery and Father Lawrence E. Frizzell join 19 other experts in 1969 to provide the schema for what will later be entitled, Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration "Nostra Aetate" (no. 4), which was published in 1974 by the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.
  • Monsignor Oesterreicher and Sister Rose Thering partner with Dr. Joseph Lichten of the Anti-Defamation League in 1969 to hold a series of 10-day summer sessions called the "Menorah Institute," which educate teachers about the history of Judaism, anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and Israel.

1970 – 1979

  • The Institute founds Teshuvah Institute Papers in 1970 at Seton Hall University and publishes its first paper, Salute to Israel.
  • The Menorah Institute concludes in 1972, and Sister Rose Thering transfers to Seton Hall's School of Education, now the College of Education and Human Services, where she begins teaching full-time.
  • Father Lawrence E. Frizzell becomes Associate Director of the Institute in 1974.
  • The Institute founds the Graduate Program in Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University in 1975 with the financial assistance of Ms. H. Suzanne Jobert.
  • The Master of Arts in Jewish-Christian Studies program becomes a Department in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1979.

1980 – 1989

  • Standing Before God: Studies on Prayer in Scriptures and Tradition with Essays in Honor of John M. Oesterreicher, edited by Asher Finkel and Lawrence E. Frizzell, is published by Ktav Publishing House in 1981.
  • Monsignor Oesterreicher receives The Fourth Annual Brotherhood Award by B'nai B'rith, Closter, NJ, for furthering understanding between Jews and Christians in 1983.
  • Monsignor Oesterreicher is honored by the Catholic for Religious Civil Rights for building a bridge of understanding between the Jewish and Christian communities by the Long Island chapter in 1984 and by the Ecumenical Commission of the Archdiocese of Newark for his dedication to the Ministry of Reconciliation in 1987.
  • Monsignor Oesterreicher receives The Jonathan and Benjamin Netanyahu Leadership Award from B'nai B'rith Unit, Tarrytown, NY, in 1989.

1990 – 1999

  • Monsignor Oesterreicher is bestowed The Cross of Honor for Arts and Sciences, First Class, by the Federal Republic of Austria in 1990.
  • The Institute's radio program, The Kinship of Catholics and Jews, debuts on WSOU 89.5 FM and begins promoting the shared values of Christians and Jews over the airwaves in 1990.
  • Monsignor John M. Oesterreicher dies on April 18, 1993, one month after celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Institute, and his personal library in several languages and the archives of the Institute are added to the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center
  • The Reverend Lawrence E. Frizzell, D. Phil., is appointed Director of the Institute of Judaeo-Christian Studies in 1993 while continuing full time as Associate Professor in the Department of Jewish-Christian Studies.
  • The Institute hosts its First Annual Monsignor John M. Oesterreicher Memorial Lecture in January 1994, featuring the keynote address, Israel and the Holy See, by Dr. Eugene Fisher.
  • The Institute begins sponsoring the Lehrhaus, a weekly reflection on the Torah portion for the preceding Sabbath that introduces students and the general public to a Masoretic approach to sacred text in 1998.

2000 – 2009

  • The Institute adds the Michael Wyschogrod papers, an extensive collection of papers and books that emphasize Jewish involvement in dialogue with both Catholics and Protestants, to the Special Archives in 2002.
  • The Institute celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2003 and hosts the conference "Foundations for Jewish-Christian Dialogue," which features the keynote address, The Catholic Church and the Jewish People, by His Eminence William Cardinal Keeler at the Eleventh Annual Monsignor John M. Oesterreicher Memorial Lecture.
  • The Institute hosts a conference on The Beauty of Sacred Texts, featuring Text and Art in Buddhist Cave Temples in 2003 by Angela Howard, Ph.D.; Scribes, Scrolls and Books: Worship and Study in the Jewish Tradition by Rabbi Asher Finkel, Ph.D.; Bibles, Lectionaries and Prayerbooks by the Reverend Bruce Harbert, S.T.L.; and The Quran and Calligraphy in Muslim Tradition by Islamic calligrapher Aisha Holland.
  • Father Frizzell is honored with The Honey and Maurice Axelrod Award from the NJ Department of Education, State Holocaust Commission in 2006.
  • Father Frizzell receives the McQuaid Medal for Distinguished Service from Seton Hall University in 2007.
  • Father Frizzell is appointed Consultor to the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.
  • The Institute adds the Reverend Nancy Forsberg papers, which give special insight into Protestant-Jewish relations from the 1960s -1980s, to the Archives in 2009.

2010 – Present

  • The Catholic nonprofit, Our Sunday Visitor, names Monsignor John M. Oesterreicher as one of eight extraordinary priests over the centuries who influenced the world in 2010.
  • The Department of Jewish-Christian Studies is united with the undergraduate Department of Religious Studies to become the Jewish-Christian Studies Graduate Program in 2010.
  • The Institute hosted the 10th Annual Meeting of the Council of Centers on Christian-Jewish Relations at Seton Hall University in 2011.
  • The Institute celebrates its 60th Anniversary throughout 2013.
  • Pope Francis renews Father Frizzell as Consultor to the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in 2014.
  • The Master of Arts in Jewish-Christian Studies program celebrates its 40th anniversary throughout 2015.
  • The Institute sponsors an interfaith lecture series focusing on Jewish-Christian Relations at Temple Emanu-el in Westfield, NJ in 2017.
  • In honor of his work and scholarship Institute Director, Father Frizzell, receives the Sister Rose Thering Fund Award in Jewish Christian Understanding in 2017.
  • The Institute celebrates its 65th Anniversary throughout 2018.
  • The Institute adds the Jeifa Family Collection (1907 to 1947) to the Archives in 2018.
  • In 2019 the Institute publishes select writings by Msgr. John M. Oesterreicher and other scholarly works by the Institute on Seton Hall University's eRepository.