Professor André Villeneuve and Naftali Aklum
Professor André Villeneuve (left) and Naftali Aklum (right). (Photos courtesy of EMU)

Professor André Villeneuve and Naftali Aklum are the featured speakers. 

Dedicated to providing a gathering place for all of Southeast Michigan’s numerous ethnic communities to learn more about Jews and Judaism, a space to build bridges, to foster cooperation and inclusiveness, Eastern Michigan University’s Center for Jewish Studies opens its 2020-2021 Lecture Series — available on Zoom — with two discussions about cultural difference and cooperation.

Professor André Villeneuve will discuss “From Rivalry to Reconciliation: The Catholic Church and the Jewish People,” 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9. Dr. Villeneuve, a Catholic biblical scholar at Azusa Pacific University, holds an M.A. in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, a Ph.D. in religious studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Commission in Rome. His scholarly focus is on biblical theology, Jewish-Christian relations, and the reconciliation of Israel and the Church. He is the founder and director of Catholics for Israel. This lecture is free and open to all, but participants must register in advance at

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, the Center for Jewish Studies will present Naftali Aklum, who will talk about “Being Black, Jewish and Israeli.” The story of Ethiopian Jewry in Israel is a unique tale of suffering, perseverance and fulfillment. Aklum, a member of the Ethiopian Israeli community, is founder and CEO of the Yerus Project, an educational experience that focuses on the history, culture and traditions of Ethiopian Jewry while also aiming to stimulate economic development among the Ethiopian Israelis.

This is the CJS’s Second Annual Art and Mary Schuman Lecture, and it is free and open to all, but participants must register in advance at

For further information about these presentations or about the Eastern Michigan University Center for Jewish Studies, contact Professor Martin B. Shichtman, director, at


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