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Religious studies department hosts annual lecture series

Larissa Lamarca

Contributing Writer

This year the department of religious studies is hosting their 50th annual lecture series. “Tikkum Olam: To Heal a Broken World” features a guest speaker every Wednesday for six weeks, starting Sept. 19 and continuing through Oct. 24. The talks will be held from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. in the Lean Lecture Hall in Wishart Hall.

The first lecture was held on Sept. 19 and featured guest speaker Rev. Haroldo Nunes. He is the executive director and pastor of Open Arms Hispanic Ministry and titled his talk, “Loving My Neighbor as Jesus Loved Me.” One of the coordinators, Dr. Charles L. Kammer III said following the lecture, “Rev. Haroldo Nunes discussed the situation of immigrants in the U.S., based on his work with the Hispanic immigrant community in the Wayne County area. Next week will deal with the difficulty of former prisoners re-entering society. The presenter is part of an organization that runs a re-entry program in Cleveland. The last two presenters are College of Wooster alumni.” 

The second talk was hosted by Rev. Andrew Genszler on Sept. 26 and was titled “A Second Chance for Returning Citizens, for All Citizens: Faithful Witness for 2018 America.” He is president and CEO of a Cleveland-based Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry. Next week, Wednesday, Oct. 3 Joan Friedman, a Wooster associate professor of history and religious studies and chair of Middle Eastern and North African studies will lecture on her topic, “You Break It, You Fix It.” Kammer will hold a talk called “All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men” on Oct. 10. The Oct. 17 lecture, “Recognizing the Worthwhile in the Futile: A Personal Reflection on Working Within the Syrian Conflict in Hope for Healing to Come,” is hosted by Nellika Little. The series wraps up on Oct. 24 when alumnus Max Lesko ’06 will present the final talk on his work with the Children’s Defensive Fund titled, “Children in America.” 

Last year at the 49th annual lecture series, the department presented “Mysticism: Beyond the World of Illusory Differences.” The series focused largely around the “mysticism” of similarities and differences in the world that can lead to polarization.

The topic this year takes a different focus. Tikkum Olam, “repair the world” or “heal the broken world,” is a Hebrew phrase that has its roots deeply embedded in Judaism. The phrase represents the requirement that Jewish people are responsible for the well-being of all of creation, morally, politically, materially and spiritually. The phrase stems from the idea that everything is broken to some degree and can be seen through war, poverty and the destruction of nature. Tikkum Olam takes this idea and suggests that human beings have the ability to fix this brokenness. Our wounds are said to be needed to help us heal.w

The speakers of this year’s lecture series have been working on healing the world through their own experiences working on pressing matters. Each speaker will discuss how their stories with people and communities in need have reflected a form of healing for them.

(Photos from and LinkedIn)

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