Graduate Theological Union

Madrasa-Midrasha Program

 A Joint Program of the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies & Center for Islamic Studies

Graduate Theological Union

Madrasa-Midrasha, a joint program sponsored by the GTU's Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies and the GTU's Center for Islamic Studies, seeks to advance study, dialogue, and understanding on Jewish and Islamic texts and contexts within academia and the larger public sphere by offering workshops, lectures, panels, and courses, exploring the richness, diversity, differences, and commonalities of the Jewish and Islamic traditions. Participants study and learn about the two traditions through texts and as they are lived and practiced.

Since the program’s inception in 2008, a range of themes and topics have been explored, such as understanding of sacred space through mosque and synagogue visits, museum visits, holidays in both traditions, the lunar calendar, dietary laws, circumcision, pilgrimage, ritual, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Jerusalem, art and architecture, environment/ecology, identity and belonging, women and gender, Hagar, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, media depictions of Jews and Muslims in US media/film, religion and the elections, and what is means to think about scholarship across disciplines and boundaries.  Over the years, thousands have attended various Madrasa-Midrasha programs, providing rich and valuable opportunities for mutual engagement and learning,

The terms Madrasa-­Midrasha (Arabic­/Hebrew cognates, literally meaning “a place of study/learning”) refer to the traditional pedagogical settings and educational methods and practices of the study of the classical Islamic and Jewish sources. In our program these closely related practices are mobilized for the purposes of contemporary Jewish-­Muslim study and dialogue.

Update, February 2017 - GTU Students: Find out more about a special grant for students working on an interreligious research project related to Judaism and Islam   


Fall 2016 Program

In Fall 2016, the Madrasa-Midrasha program class meetings took place every other Sunday from 1-5 pm at the GTU Library Board Room. The class met to discuss a wide range of topics from text analysis, mysticism, and ritual and food. The course lectures and discussions were led by distinguished faculty and community leaders. Please see course flier here.


Madrasa-Midrasha Public Program Events for 2016

The Lunar Calendar in Judaism and Islam
Thursday, October 6, 2016 - 12:30pm |GTU Library Dinner Boardroom 3rd Floor 2400 Ridge Road

The Marriage Plot, a Conversation with Naomi Seidman
Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 5:30pm | GTU Library Dinner Boardroom 3rd Floor 2400 Ridge Road

Berkeley Masjid Visit
Friday, October 21, 2016 12:00pm | 2716 Derby Street, Berkeley, CA

Sojourner Truth, Photography, and the Fight Against Slavery
Friday, October 21, 2016 - 4:00pm | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)

The Past Is a Foreign Country: Poland Confronted with Holocaust History
Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - 5:00pm| Dinner Board Room, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley CA 94709

Arts for Human Rights at BAMPFA
Friday, November 11, 2016 - 4:00pm | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)

Perspectives on Jewish Art & Islamic Art
Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 12:45pm|Magnes Museum, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94720

“Talmudic Proverbs: Negotiating Oral Tradition and Scripture” with Galit Hasan-Rokem
Thursday, December 1, 2016 - 12:45pm | GTU Library Dinner Boardroom, 2400 Ridge Road 

Scholarship Across Divides: Jewish and Islamic Studies in Conversation
Thursday, Dec 1 Reception 6:30 pm, Lecture 7:00-8:30 pm |GTU Library Dinner Boardroom, 2400 Ridge Road


The Graduate Theological Union would like to thank the Walter & Elise Haas Fund for their generous support of the Center for Islamic Studies and the Center for Jewish Studies Madrasa-Midrasha program, which seeks to advance study, dialogue, and understanding on Jewish and Islamic texts and contexts within academia and the larger public.