Jewish Theological Students to Study at Hartford Seminary

For Immediate Release

HARTFORD, CT (February 13, 2012) — Hartford Seminary, and the New York-based Jewish Theological Seminary have entered into a pioneering agreement for JTS students to study at Hartford Seminary to gain a better understanding of interfaith relations.

The cooperation between the two seminaries is made possible by a $25,000 grant by the Prior Family Foundation, which will fund six course enrollments for JTS students at Hartford Seminary during the next year.

It is a continuation of a partnership between Hartford Seminary and the Jewish Theological Seminary that includes a national conference entitled ?Judaism and Islam in America Today.? Entering its third year, the conference is sponsored by Hartford Seminary, JTS and the Islamic Society of North America and funded by the Carnegie Corporation.

In addition, the partnership has involved enrollment of Muslim religious leaders studying at Hartford Seminary in a Clinical Pastoral Education program located at JTS.

This new program will build on the Seminary?s commitment to Abrahamic dialogue by increasing the presence of Jewish students on campus. It will enhance the educational experience of current students by introducing Jewish conversation partners and will provide Jewish rabbinical students the opportunity to engage in interfaith dialogue with students of other faiths.

A key component of the program involves the opportunity for the JTS students to live on campus in Hartford while attending intensive classes during the summer. In this way, students will benefit from a lived experience of what is learned in the classroom.

The first JTS students to take advantage of the program are likely to study at Hartford Seminary during the summer session 2012 that begins in June. JTS currently is recruiting students for the program, which will continue for three years.

?I am deeply appreciative of the generosity and imaginative thinking of Neil and Trudie Prior and their commitment to interfaith education. It is so important that Hartford Seminary continue its work in interreligious dialogue and understanding. The Priors? gift will help make this possible in a new and exciting way,? Dr. Heidi Hadsell, President of Hartford Seminary, said.

Cornelius B. Prior, Jr., chairman of Atlantic Tele-Network Inc., headquartered in Beverly, MA, is the grantor of the family foundation. Gertrude J. Prior, president and general manager of Coral World Ocean Park in St. Thomas, is trustee. She serves on the Board of Trustees of Hartford Seminary.

Hadsell added, ?It is vitally important to prepare religious leaders of all faiths to lead their faith communities in an increasingly plural environment. Hartford Seminary is a key player in this effort, through our various interfaith initiatives and now through this program.?

?The opportunity for rabbinical students from the Jewish Theological Seminary to study at Hartford Seminary in the multi-faith environment of Christian and Muslim colleagues is a Godsend,? said Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies and Director of the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue at JTS.

?Hartford?s pioneering program affords JTS students an opportunity to supplement their rabbinic education with first-hand knowledge of the other Abrahamic religions. We expect this will help create a cadre of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders who know one another?s religions. This innovative opportunity will engender a network of like-minded clergywho can work together for a more hopeful future,? Visotzky said.

Rabbi Daniel Nevins, Dean of the JTS Division of Religious Leadership, concurred with Visotzky and added, ?JTS Rabbinical students have shown deep interest in learning about and from other faith traditions. This opportunity is a cause for celebration in our community, and we are very grateful to Hartford Seminary for extending this generous invitation to our students.”

The program is further evidence of Hartford Seminary?s pioneering approach to theological education. The Seminary offers the only accredited program to educate Muslim chaplains and in the past year has begun certificates for imams and Muslim community leaders and for chaplains serving in multifaith contexts.

Cornelius Prior practiced law and investment banking in New York City before co-founding Atlantic Tele-Network (ATN) in 1987. He is the chairman of ATN, a public telecommunications industry holding company and the chairman of Caribbean ? Central American Action (CCAA), a not-for-profit organization promoting investment in the Caribbean. He graduated from Holy Cross College and currently serves as a member of its President?s Advisory Council.

Gertrude Prior practiced law in Washington, D.C., before becoming president of Coral World Ocean Park. She is a former President of the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas and currently serves as a member of the Board.

Previously, the Priors made a $500,000 gift toward an endowed faculty chair at Hartford Seminary in Abrahamic Partnerships.

For further information, please contact David S. Barrett, Director of Public and Institutional Affairs, at (860) 509-9519 or

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