Dr. Ruth N. Sandberg is Leonard and Ethel Landau Professor of Rabbinics at Gratz College, and is the Director of the graduate Certificate in Jewish-Christian Studies and the MA in Interfaith Leadership. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and served for three years as the co-President of the Cheltenham Area Multifaith Council. Dr. Sandberg also teaches in the Gratz College Scholars Program for Adult Education. From 2006 to 2008, she served as Dean of Students at Gratz. Before coming to Gratz, Dr. Sandberg served for five years as Director of Education at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Sandberg received her BA in Classical Greek and History of Religion from Bryn Mawr College; Rabbinical Ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; and a Ph.D. in Post-Biblical Hebrew Literature, specializing in Rabbinics, from the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Sandberg’s areas of special interest include: the relationship between Rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity; Jewish-Christian relations; Interfaith Studies; early Rabbinic midrash; classical Rabbinic theology; and the process of Jewish law. Dr. Sandberg is the author of two books: Rabbinic Views of Qohelet (Mellen Biblical Press, 1999) and Development and Discontinuity in Jewish Law (University Press of America 2002). She has also contributed a chapter to The Words of the Wise Are Like Goads: Engaging Qoheleth in the 21st Century (2013), a chapter on “Talking with Heretics: Pluralism in Rabbinic Judaism and its Impact on Pedagogy,” in Studies in Judaism and Pluralism (Ben Yehuda Press, 2016), an article on “The Shared Beliefs of Judaism and Islam,” in The Fountain Magazine (May 2016), and a journal article on “Rethinking the Notion of Universality in Judaism and its Implications,” in Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations (VOL 12, NO 1 (2017).
On Interfaith Studies and Interfaith Understanding
There is a tremendous need for greater religious understanding between Jews, Christians, and Muslims, as well as broader academic knowledge in interfaith studies, and formally educated people are sorely needed for these challenges. The ultimate solution to creating interfaith understanding is through knowledge – being educated in your own tradition and learning about others’ faiths. No matter how much we may want to create peace between Jews, Christians, and Muslims, or any other religious traditions, it is not possible without spending time really learning about each other’s beliefs and practices and accepting where we have true differences. No amount of good will can replace the gaping hole where ignorance resides. The process of acquiring knowledge is the way to prevent future religious bigotry, hatred, and violence.