This book is the joint effort of scholars from countries across four continents, brought together under the auspices of the Free Ebrei Association. We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to edit this volume and to collaborate with so many talented scholars and activists in the field of intercultural and interreligious dialogue.
First and foremost, we wish to acknowledge the extraordinary influence of Vincenzo Pinto, Director of the Free Ebrei, the Cultural Association, and the Online Journal of Contemporary Jewish Identity. He encouraged us to take up this work and he supported us all along the way. Our deep gratitude goes also to his wife, the late Alessandra Cambatzu, with whom Vincenzo started the research project on Contemporary Jewish Identity in 2012.
We would like to thank our colleagues and friends whose participation in the project has given us this opportunity to engage with important academic questions. We are ever-grateful to the scholars who participated in the European Academy of Religion (EuARe) panel that inspired the volume (Bologna in March of 2019). Moreover we remain indebted to Prof. Alberto Melloni, who made it all possible by inviting us to present our research at that conference.
This volume stands on the shoulders of many past teachers and scholars, and though we cannot mention everyone who contributed, we must thank Prof. Michael Berkowitz, Prof. Philip A. Cunningham, Dr. Clara Ferranti, Dr. Sonia Floriani, Prof. Anna Jellamo, Rabbi Noam Marans, Prof. Mauro Perani, Rabbi David Rosen, Rev. Kevin Spicer C.S.C., Miriam Scola, Prof. Gadi Luzzatto Voghera. All were helpful and generous with their knowledge, and gracious in their patient cooperation in this book’s publication process.
Special thanks go to Prof. Massimo Faggioli for his insights and his judgement, and above all for having believed in our project. We are also grateful to Prof. Jane Arnfield who worked closely with us in evaluating the contributions, and whose acuteness, intellectual agility, and talent remain a model to us all. In addition, we would like to thank our dear copyeditor Stanley Levers for his corrections of some parts of the manuscript.
Recognition is due to Katelyn Chin, Acquisitions Editor responsible for Ancient Near East and Jewish Studies at Brill, who has believed in this project and helped it in every possible way. We are likewise indebted to Erika Mandarino, Assistant Editor in the same Brill department, whose precision through all the editorial stages was invaluable to this project.
We intended this volume as a gift for all those who see the urgent importance of intercultural and interreligious dialogue. As it turned out, the process of creating this book became a form of this very dialogue, an exercise that put its tenets into action. We hope readers will find in this volume some inspiration for their own research and activism.
Magdalena Dziaczkowska and Adele Valeria Messina
Jerusalem and Vibo Valentia, 16 July 2019