SLU plans conference on traditions of charity in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Saint Louis University will host a conference on “Charity in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Traditions” on Thursday, March 26 and Friday, March 27.  Sessions will meet in the University’s Pere Marquette Gallery of  DuBourg Hall (second floor). The conference is free and open to the public.

Registration starts at noon on March 26 and is followed by a welcome from 1 to 1:15 p.m. by Ellen Harshman, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs at SLU.

From 1:15 p.m. to 3 p.m., a session will look at “Charity and Historical Change,” including: 

• Julia R. Lieberman, Professor of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at SLU: “New Practices of Sedaca (Charity): The London Spanish-Portuguese Jewish Community in the Eighteenth Century”


• Yaron Ayalon, Assistant Professor of History at Ball State University: “Jewish and Muslim Charity in the Ottoman Empire: The Fluidity of Religious Boundaries”

From 3:15 to 5 p.m. a second session will examine “The Practice of Charity,” featuring “The Development of True Service and Maimonides’ Ladder of Charity” with Rev. Paul Stark, Vice-President of Mission and Ministry at SLU; Batya Abramson-Goldstein, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis; Bryan Sokol, Director of the Center for Service and Community Engagement at SLU.

From 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (free public seating opens at 7:15 p.m.) Thomas Adam, Professor of Transnational History at University of Texas at Arlington, will give the keynote address on “Interreligious and Intercultural Traditions of Charity.”

On Friday, March 27, registration begins at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast. 

From 8:30 to 10:15 a.m. the conference’s third session will examine “Charity, Reason and Rights, featuring Melinda Jones, Independent Researcher from Melbourne, Australia: “From Welfare to Rights in the Jewish Tradition.”

From 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., the fourth session will examine “Charity and Inter-Group Relations.” 

From 1:45 to 3:30 p.m., session five looks at “Between the Spiritual and the Secular,” featuring Haim Sperber, Senior Lecturer of Interdisciplinary Studies at Western Galilee College in Akko, Israel; and Riki Galia, Lecturer of Sociology and Organization Studies at Kineret College in Emek Hayarden, Israel: “Jewish Elite Philanthropy. From Charity to Philanthropy: Emancipation, Modernization, Ethnicity and Nationalism.”

For a full list of presentations, visit For more information, contact Mary Petri Bokern at 314-977-2690 or [email protected]