Jewish-Christian Interfaith Learning & Pilgrimages
Project Genesis is a Jewish-Christian Learning Program, where Christians and Jews are invited to learn about the common roots of their faith and heritage, building bridges between the two communities. This process of learning is accomplished through interfaith lectures and pilgrimage experiences.
How it all began…
In 2006, a spiritually powerful model Passover Seder was celebrated for a primarily Catholic community at SUNY – Old Westbury by Gadi Capela, who at the time was a graduate student in Jewish philosophy. So much was shared that was mutually illuminating for both the Jewish and Christian traditions that the participants believed that Project Genesis needed to be born to benefit a wider audience. Fr. Roy Tvrdik, SMM, the chaplain at SUNY and Director at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Island invited the now Rabbi Gadi to the Shrine to do a monthly Torah study beginning with the book of Genesis. Little did we know that it would take seven years to complete this one book!
Our emphasis would be on the Hebrew meaning of the text, which gave access to the vast Oral Tradition of the Jews to participants, while Fr. Roy would interject with Catholic interpretations and insights. As of December of 2013, this phase of Project Genesis has come to completion and the next phase begins. In seven years, many people have been touched by these sessions, which we know has brought great wisdom to our lives as we seek to know, love and serve God better through our traditions.
It has been the grounding principle of this endeavor not to simply ignore our differences, but to respect them and to hold them in trust before God. We deeply believe that the God of Creation has called us all to generate life and to support it in all of its marvelous manifestations. We believe that we need discernment of God’s ways for they are indeed mysterious.