McAfee School of Theology Professor Begins Yearlong Study of Judaism in Israel


ATLANTA – Dr. David Garber, associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Mercer University's McAfee School of Theology, is one of 18 American Christian leaders representing diverse religious institutions who are currently taking part in a yearlong study of Judaism, known as the Christian Leadership Initiative (CLI), in Israel.

The highly selective, intensive educational program, which is co-sponsored by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI) and taught by world-class SHI faculty, began last week.

“CLI provides open space for Christian leaders and scholars to experience and study Judaism and Israel from a Jewish perspective,” said Rabbi Noam Marans, the AJC's director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations. “Interreligious understanding is deepened when Christian influentials engage in Jewish learning in ways that enable them to better understand Jewish texts and traditions.”

The program's opening seminar takes place July 15-24. Dr. Garber and his colleagues will return to the U.S. at the end of July and engage in monthly distance-learning sessions leading up to a return to Jerusalem in July 2015 for the concluding seminar.

Institutions represented in the program include schools such as Princeton Theological Seminary, Fuller Theology Seminary and Luther Seminary, as well as organizations such as the Massachusetts Council of Churches, the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri.

With generous support from the Allen H. and Selma W. Berkman Charitable Trust, the CLI has been advancing professional development for top leadership of Christian seminaries, denominations and theological schools since 2008. To date, 41 leaders, representing the full spectrum of Christian denominations in the U.S., have participated in the CLI and maintain the connection with peers, faculty and the institutions through alumni programming.

About the Shalom Hartman Institute

The Shalom Hartman Institute is a center of transformative thinking and teaching that addresses the major challenges facing the Jewish people and elevates the quality of Jewish life in Israel and around the world. A leader in sophisticated, ideas-based Jewish education for community leaders and change agents, the Institute is committed to the significance of Jewish ideas, the power of applied scholarship, and the conviction that great teaching contributes to the growth and continual revitalization of the Jewish people.For more information, visit, or contact Laura Gilinski, chief development and public relations officer, at or +972-2-567-5333.

About the American Jewish Committee

The American Jewish Committee is the global Jewish advocacy organization, with headquarters in New York, 22 regional offices across the United States and 10 offices around the world, including one in Jerusalem. Founded in 1906, the AJC's mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world. For more information, contact Kenneth Bandler at

About the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology

The James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology was established in 1996. Located in Atlanta, on Mercer University's Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus, the School of Theology offers degree programs leading to a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry. The School of Theology also offers several joint programs: an M.Div.-Master of Business Administration, M.Div.-Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and M.Div.-Master of Science in Organizational Leadership with a Concentration in Non-Profit. For more information, visit

Kyle Sears
Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​