Rabbi Max B. Wall Program

Rabbi Max B. Wall Lecture Series

Father Patrick Desbois, “The Holocaust by Bullets:  A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews,” March 29, 2017

Rabbi Naom Marans, "Celebrating Fifty Years of Transformed Catholic-Jewish Relations", December 13, 2015

Eric Lichtblau, "The Nazis Next Door: How America Became A Safe Haven For Hitler's Men", April 1, 2015

Counterpoint Vocal Ensemble, "Mir Zaynen Do (We Are Here): Jewish Song from the Shtetl to the Promised Land", February 20, 2014

Mark A. Stoler, "Secretary of State George C. Marshall and the Creation of Israel: The Partition and Recognition Controversies, 1947-1948", March 4, 2013

Rabbi Moshe Waldoks, "The Art of Dialogue: The Jewish-Tibetan Buddhist Encounter", April 17, 2012

Richard Sugarman, "The Phenomenon of Generational Responsibility", March 31, 2011

Doris Bergen, "Military Chaplains and the Holocaust,"  April 8, 2010

Hasia Diner, "We Remember With Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence After the Holocaust, 1954-1962", April 20, 2009

Jules Chametzky, "It All Adds Up: The Influence of Jewish American Writers on American Literature, March 12, 2008

Ellen Cannon, "The American Jewish Electorate in the 21st Century: Will They Have Clout?" October 25, 2006

Douglas Greenberg, "Henry's Harmonica: History and memory in a Genocidal World," March 2006

Susan Heschel, "The Myth of Europe in America's Judaism," October 2004

Alan Segal, "From Here to Eternity: The Afterlife in Judaism," January 2004

Lenn E. Goodman, "Cross-pollinations between Jewish and Islamic Philosophy," March 2003

Symposium: The Vatican and the Holocaust October 22, 2001

  • Michael Phayer, "Pius XII and the Holocaust"
  • Rabbi Richard Rubenstein, "Was Pius XII 'Hitler's Pope'?"

Steven Wasserstrom, "Sharing Secrets: The Role of Esoterism in Jewish-Muslim Interconfessionalism," April 2000.

Julie Goschalk, "Crossing the Abyss:  When a Daughter of Holocaust Survivors Meets Children of Nazis."  Offered in conjunction with the month-long exhibit, Anne Frank: A History for Today, April 1999

Symposium on The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the State of Israel April 23, 1998

  • Bernard Wasserstein, "A State for 'Displaced Persons'? The Shoah and the Establishment of Israel"
  • Robert Louis Wilken, "Jerusalem: Heavenly City and Earthly Center"

Judith Plaskow, "Feminist Transformations of Ritual: The Jewish Case," April 1996

Henry Friedlander, "Nazi Euthanasia and the Final Solution," April 1995

Symposium on Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Europe March 16, 1994

  • Francis Nicosia, "New Germany or New Reich?  Anti-Semitism in Post-Holocaust Europe"
  • Leon Klenicki, "A Painful Reflection on the Sin of Racism"

Jack Wertheimer, "The American Rabbinate and the Changing Agenda of American Jewry," October 1992

Jon Levenson, "The Sacrifice of the Beloved Son in Judaism and Christianity," April 1992

Symposium on the 25th Anniversary of  Nostra Aetate, The Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions from the Second Vatican Council October 8-9, 1990

  • John Pawlikowski, "Jews, Judaism and Catholic Education: Did Nostra Aetate Make a Difference?"
  • David Novak, "Nostra Aetate after Twenty-Five Years: A Theological Implication"
  • Paul van Buren, "Pluralism and the Jewish-Christian Relationship,"

Donald Dietrich, "The Catholic Church and Anti-Semitism in Germany during the Third Reich," October 1988

Jehuda Reinharz, "The Jews in Germany before 1933: Patriots and Aliens," April 1987

Marc Tannenbaum, "Judaism and Christianity in Today's World," January 1985

The teaching of courses in Judaism at Saint Michael's College began in 1964 as a conscious acknowledgement of the wider mission of the College to engage in promoting interfaith study.  Saint Michael's College has a long history of actively promoting interfaith study and dialogue, reflecting the welcoming spirit of the College's founding Edmundite fathers. As early as 1965, the College awarded an honorary degree to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, followed shortly after with another honorary degree presented to Isaac Bashevis Singer.

The relationship between Judaism and Christianity was deemed to be extremely important during the era after the Second Vatican Council, with an emphasis on the fact that a well-rounded education within the Catholic tradition had to include an understanding and respect for the ideas and traditions of Judaism and other religions. The same holds true today, perhaps even in a deeper sense, as we view the rise of globalization and regional tensions.

The present program in studies at Saint Michael's began at first on the graduate level, and quickly moved to the undergraduate curriculum, continuing today with one course on Judaism taught each year in the Religious Studies Department. The subject matter, designed in light of Vatican II, provides a new dimension in understanding Jewish/Christian relationships. The Rabbi Wall Endowment supports this course, provides for an annual lecture open to the public, and helps enhance the library holdings in Judaica. These holdings serve many courses on campus, other Vermont colleges and universities through inter-library loan, and the general public as well.  As a result, Saint Michael's College is the leader among Vermont institutions of higher education with its holdings in Judaica.

In his groundbreaking work at Saint Michael's, Rabbi Max Wall began teaching courses in Judaism at Saint Michael’s in 1964, at a time when the college had no Jewish faculty members or Jewish students. The courses were aimed at:

  • Catholic scholars and theologians and the teachers of Judaism who had the opportunity dialogue about Judaism from an academic point of view, thereby creating a platform to correct misrepresentations without being defensive
  • Students who not only were enriched through a mind expanding process, but also who had the ability to carry a learned message back to their communities

For these reasons the "Rabbi Max B. Wall Endowment Program" guarantees the continued presence of a course in Judaism on the campus of Saint Michael's College, and continues to expand the scope of the present Judaic study effort by supporting yearly lectures, visiting scholars, symposia, a book endowment for the library's Judaica collection, and other programs. We invite friends of Judaism to help us perpetuate and expand this vital program. We hope and pray you will understand the need and continue to provide nourishment for the programs so carefully initiated by Rabbi Wall.

Rabbi Max B. WallBorn in Poland July 23, 1915, Max B. Wall arrived at Ellis Island with his family on July 4, 1921 and first settled in Denver, Colorado until 1927 when his family relocated to New York City. He received an AB from Yeshiva University and a Master of Hebrew Literature from the Jewish Theological Seminary where he was ordained a Rabbi in 1942. Soon after he became Rabbi of the Congregation Beth-El in Woodbury, New Jersey, a post he held for one year. He enlisted in the Army Chaplain Corps and served with the Ninth Infantry Division during the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of the concentration camps. As the Jewish chaplain he was able to help thousands of displaced persons. Captain Wall was instrumental in the revival of Jewish worship in Munich and was the first to conduct a Jewish service there after the war including the first Rosh Hashanah celebration.

His experiences during the war years help reinforced the importance of interfaith understanding and relationships, a theme which he brought to the Green Mountain State when he answered the call from the Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in Burlington, Vermont in 1946. Along with his beloved wife, Miriam (Mimi), he served Ohavi Zedek as its spiritual leader from 1946-1987. After his retirement he served as Rabbi Emeritus. Rabbi Max Wall died in May 2009.

Max Wall adopted the Green Mountain State as his own and emerged as one of the most renowned religious leaders in northern New England. As spiritual leader of Ohavi Zedek, has become a focal point in Vermont's interfaith movement, joining other clergymen in informal ecumenical study, which has sustained a strong spirit of inter-religious dialogue and fellowship in the Burlington area. He was a beloved religious leader, teacher and a man whose counsel helped many people in his congregation and the larger community. First and foremost he wanted to be remembered as a man who loved people, a humanist, and in kind, this love was returned multifold. Rabbi Wall was a moral educator and activist with an enduring commitment to social justice, advocacy for human rights and a tireless effort to improve the social well-being of all peoples.

For over twenty-five years, Rabbi Wall and Saint Michael's College maintained a very close relationship, culminating in the awarding of an honorary degree at the 1981 Commencement exercises. Both his undergraduate and graduate courses dealing with "Judaism and the History of the Jews in the United States" as well as "The Making of the Modern Jew" were ever popular, and he was singularly responsible for the development of the substantial and unusual Judaica Collection in the College's Durick Library.  

At Saint Michael's, he became one of the Campus' most recognized and remembered figures. Those same characteristics led him to serve on the Governor's Committee on Youth, the Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, and the Vermont State Housing Authority, as well as a member of the Governor's Ethics Advisory Committee. Rabbi Wall also served on the Boards of the Rabbinical Association of America, the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont, Champlain College, and Howard Mental Health and as an Associate Trustee of Saint Michael's College. He was awarded honorary doctorates from the Jewish Theological Seminary, Saint Michael's College and the University of Vermont.

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