Jewish Journal


February 24, 2000

Higher Ground

Seminary students meet for a rain-soaked interfaith dialogue at Gindling Hilltop Camp


Take nearly 100 people training to be rabbis, priests, pastors, ministers, nuns and religious educators. Put them together for 24 hours at a Jewish summer camp. Add a torrent of rain, and stir in several inches of thick mud. What do you get? You never know.

For 25 years, the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) has followed a similar recipe to lead its annual InterSem program -- typically without the rain -- and the participants' experiences have never been the same.

Held at Gindling Hilltop Camp in Malibu, InterSem brings together students from five local seminaries and encourages them to candidly interact with peers from a mix of races, ages, places of origin, sexual orientations, and, of course, faiths. The group included Reform and Conservative Jews from Hebrew Union College and University of Judaism (UJ), and Catholics (men from St. John's Seminary and women from religious communities). The group also included a range of Protestant denominations from Claremont School of Theology and Fuller Theological Seminary including Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists, Presbyterians, future leaders of Full Christian Gospel and the United Church of Christ, among others.

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