Jewish & Latter-day Saint Academic Dialogue
We are pleased to announce a recent joint publication with CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis) and RSC (Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center).
Goals and Methodology of Jewish & Latter-day Saint Academic Dialogue Project
Primary participants: This semi-annual academic dialogue is led by Rabbi Mark Diamond and Dr. Steven Windmueller on the Jewish side, and by Dr. Andy Reed and Dr. Shon Hopkin on the Latter-day Saint side. The primary Latter-day Saint participants include (biographies at the bottom of the page ): Andy Reed, Barbara Morgan Gardner, Quin Monson, Brent Top, Shon Hopkin, Jared Ludlow, and Jacob Rennaker. The primary Jewish participants include: Holli Levitsky, Joshua Garroway, Kristine Garroway, Mark Diamond, Steven Windmueller, and Tamar Frankiel.
Semi-annual meetings: The formal dialogue began at BYU in Spring 2016, continued in Los Angeles in Winter 2016, and has continued with a similar schedule, with a notable visit to Jerusalem in June 2019.
Methodology: Dialogues usually consist of three to four, close-doored academic sessions, one to two public sessions to give those interested an opportunity to stay informed of our discussions and to ask questions, and educational opportunities for the dialogue participants to learn about the religious practices and history on each side, including participating in worship services together. The academic sessions typically include two presentations/papers representing each side’s view on a particular topic, followed by open discussion among the dialogue participants.
Previous Topics: Topics discussed thus far include: Sabbath beliefs and practices; Liturgy; Jewish/Mormon Political Views of Israel; Political Behaviors of Jews/Mormons in the United States; Mormons/Jews in Literature; Jews/Mormons in Cinema; Views on Covenant; Views on the Apostle Paul; Mormons/Jews in Interfaith Dialogue; Jewish/Mormon Practices to Emulate; Biblical Foundations of Mormon Self-Understanding. The publication above resulted from published papers that had originally been presented in the dialogues sessions.
Upcoming Plans and Topics
Fall 2020 (November dialogue sessions via Zoom) Topics to be discussed include Race relations for Jews and Latter-day Saints; Latter-day Saint doctrinal developments; Life cycle practices for Jews and Latter-day Saints; Developing Political Views (among both communities)
Mark S. Diamond is a Professor of Practical Rabbinics at the Academy for Jewish Religion California and a
lecturer in Jewish Studies at Loyola Marymount University. Previously, he served as Executive Vice
President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and Director of the Los Angeles region of the
American Jewish Committee.
Mark is a past president of the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders and has led study tours of
judicatory officials, clergy, diplomats and community leaders, including a mission to the Vatican and
Jerusalem highlighted by an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. He delivered the commencement address
at the 2013 doctoral graduation ceremony of the University of the Incarnate Word, and has taught and
lectured at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Pepperdine University, Baylor University,
Fuller Theological Seminary and Claremont School of Theology. His articles have appeared in
Conversations: The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, e-Jewish Philanthropy, the Jewish Journal of
Greater Los Angeles, the Interfaith Observer, and the Shalom Hartman Institute.
Mark received his Master of Arts degree in Jewish Studies, rabbinical ordination and Doctor of Divinity
(honoris causa) from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is a Magna cum Laude graduate of Carleton
College and also studied at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the Shalom
Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. He and his wife Lois are the proud parents of three grown children,
Adina, Ariella and Jeremy, and daughter-in-law Sara and son-in-law Jason.
Tamar Frankiel served most recently as Provost of the Academy for Jewish Religion, California, a trans-
denominational Jewish seminary that educates rabbis, cantors, and chaplains. She previously served as
President and as Dean of Academic Affairs, and has held the position of Professor of Comparative Religion
at the Academy for thirteen years. She teaches liturgy, world religions, and modern Jewish history.
As an exponent of significant issues in modern Jewish life, she is the author of The Voice of Sarah:
Feminine Spirituality and Traditional Judaism; The Gift of Kabbalah; Kabbalah: A Brief Introduction for
Christians, and co-author with Cantor Judy Greenfeld of Minding the Temple of the Soul and Entering the
Temple of Dreams. Her writings on prayer and mysticism include also two recent books: Loving Prayer: A
Study Guide to Everyday Jewish Prayer (2017), and She Rises While It Is Still Night: Dreaming in the Four
Worlds of Kabbalah (2018), both from Gaon Books.
Her doctorate is from the University of Chicago in the field of History of Religions, with a specialty in
modern Christianity and religion in America. In that field, she is the author of a widely-used textbook on
Christianity and two works on 19th century American religion, Gospel Hymns and Social Religion and California's Spiritual Frontiers.
An Ohio native, Tamar and her husband Hershel have lived in California for more than three decades,
mostly in Los Angeles. Hershel was born in Poland and survived the Shoah as a child, hidden by a Polish
family. They have 5 children and 12 grandchildren; the families live in Los Angeles, Chicago, Jerusalem,
London, and Cincinnati.
Joshua Garroway, Rabbi, Ph.D., serves as Associate Professor of Early Christianity and the Second
Commonwealth at the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Josh earned his doctorate from the Religious Studies Department at Yale University and was ordained at
the Cincinnati campus of HUC-JIR. His first book, Paul’s Gentile-Jews: Neither Jew nor Gentile, but Both,
explores the ways in which Paul's epistle to the Romans constructs Jewish identity, and the role played by
this construction in the ensuing emergence of Christianity. His second book, The Beginning of the Gospel:
Paul, Philippi, and the Origins of Christianity offers a revisionist understanding of the origins of the Greek
term euaggelion, usually translated “gospel,” in earliest Christianity.
Josh is a native of Rochester, New York. He currently lives in Pasadena, California, with his wife, Kristine
Henriksen Garroway, and their three young boys.
Kristine Henriksen Garroway was appointed Visiting Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible at the Los
Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2011. Her scholarly interests
include the status of children in the ancient Near East, Deuteronomistic Histories, Former Prophets,
feminist and gender studies, and archaeology. Before coming to Los Angeles, Dr. Garroway received her
doctorate in Hebrew Bible and Cognate Studies at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
in Cincinnati in 2009. Prior to completing her degree she spent time studying and researching in Israel and
has participated in excavations at Ashkelon, Tel Dor, and Tel Dan. Her recent publications include:
Children in the Ancient Near Eastern Household,Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns (2014)
“Children and Religion in the Archaeological Record of Ancient Israel,” Journal of Ancient Near
Eastern Religions 17 (2017): 116-39.
“2 Kings 6:24-30: A Case of Unintentional Elimination Killing,” Journal of Biblical
Literature 31.1 (2018): 51-68.
Kristine currently resides in Pasadena with her husband and three boys.
Shon Hopkin received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Brigham Young
University, and his Ph.D. in Hebrew Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, focusing on medieval
Hebrew, Arabic, and Spanish literature. While in Austin he served as president of the University Interfaith
Council. In 2011 he was hired to the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University. While at BYU he has served as the Chair of BYU's Religious Outreach Council, the faculty advisor for Students of the Ancient Near East, and the faculty advisor for the Muslim Student Association. He currently serves as Chair of the Department of Ancient Scripture.
Shon has travelled extensively in the Middle East, including extended stays for studies in Syria, Israel/Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey. In January 2016 he traveled to Singapore to give the keynote address as the Christian representative at an interfaith dialogue. In addition to his interfaith interests, Shon teaches courses at BYU on the Hebrew Bible, Isaiah, the New Testament, the Pearl of Great Price, the Book of Mormon, and Ritual Theory. His research focuses on medieval Judaism, the impact of religious beliefs and practices, biblical studies, and ritual theory. He has authored, co-authored, and edited numerous books and articles on Isaiah, the Hebrew Bible, Latter-day Saint beliefs, interfaith understanding, and medieval literature, including Opening Isaiah: A Harmony (with Ann Madsen); Abinadi: He Came Among them in Disguise (edited, Book of Mormon Academy); Mormonism: A Guide for the Perplexed (with Robert Millet, as part of Bloomberg Press’ Guide for the Perplexed series); and the forthcoming Understanding Your Neighbor: Judaism (with Rabbi Mark Diamond, as part of the Widtsoe Foundation’s series).
Shon and his wife live in Orem, Utah and have four children and one grandchild.
Holli Levitsky is the founder and Director of the Jewish Studies Program and Professor of English at Loyola
Marymount University in Los Angeles. Her research and scholarship focus on Holocaust representation
and questions of identity, especially as it relates to exile and displacement. Most recently, she is the co-
editor of, The Literature of Exile and Displacement: American Identity in a Time of Crisis, and the
forthcoming book, Summer Haven: The Catskills, the Holocaust and the Literary Imagination, an edited
collection of literature and essays on the experience of the Holocaust in the Catskill mountain resorts,
hotels, and bungalow colonies in upstate New York.
Since holding the 2001-2002 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Literature in Poland, Holli has
participated in symposia, conferences, and study trips to Germany and to Poland to advance German-
Jewish and Polish-Jewish understanding. She regularly leads workshops for secondary and college
teachers in California and in Poland on teaching the Holocaust. In 2011, her Schusterman Fellowship in
Israel Studies led her to develop a summer course for LMU students and community members in Israel.
"Literature and Faith in the Holy Land" examines the notion of hospitality in the encounter with the other.
The course is accompanied by a rabbi and a priest whose work in the area of interreligious engagement
brings to the students practical and positive applications of this encounter.
Jared Ludlow is a Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University and has been teaching in the
Ancient Scripture Department since 2006. Previous to that, he spent six years teaching Religion and
History at BYU Hawaii, and served the last two years as Chair of the History Department. Jared received
his Bachelor's degree from BYU in Near Eastern Studies, his Master's degree from the University of
California at Berkeley in Biblical Hebrew, and his PhD in Near Eastern Religions from UC-Berkeley and the
Graduate Theological Union. His primary research interests are in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity.
His dissertation was published as a book, Abraham Meets Death: Narrative Humor in the Testament of
Abraham, by Sheffield Academic Press.
Jared has regularly presented papers at the Society of Biblical Literature Meetings and has participated in
Sperry and similar symposia at BYU. He enjoys teaching Bible courses, Book of Mormon, World Religions,
and History. Jared served a LDS mission to Campinas Brazil, and has also lived in Germany and Israel, last
teaching at the BYU Jerusalem Center between August 2011-2012 and August 2016-2017. He likes sports,
snorkeling, and teaching. He is married to Margaret (Nelson), whom he loves greatly, and they have five
children: Jared Jr., Joshua, Joseph, Marissa, and Melia.
Quin Monson is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Brigham Young University. He received his
PhD from Ohio State University in 2004. He founded the Utah Voter Poll and has co-directed the Utah
Colleges Exit Poll. He does research in public opinion; campaigns and elections; survey research methods;
and religion and politics.Quin was appointed the director of BYU’s Center for the Study of Elections and
Democracy effective June 1, 2012. The Center is a nonpartisan research center seeking to increase
knowledge about the practice of democracy in the United States and in other countries. It mentors
undergraduates in research projects in order to teach them about the importance of thoughtful and
rigorous research on democracy and to prepare them for careers or graduate education. The Center is committed to the production and dissemination of research that meets high academic standards, is useful
to policy makers and informs citizens.
Barbara Morgan Gardner is an associate professor of religion at Brigham Young University. She served as
the Youth and Young Adult Religious education leader in Boston, Massachusetts overseeing all students
associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon). As part of this
assignment she served as the LDS Chaplain at both Harvard and MIT, the first female to receive this
assignment, and still serves as the LDS Higher Education Chaplain at Large. Her research interests focus
primarily on religious education, including interfaith dialogue, women in religious education leadership
and LDS international Church education.
Barbara received her master's degree in Educational Leadership and Foundations with an emphasis in
international education development, her Ph.D. in Instructional Technology and did post-doctoral work at
Harvard University in Higher Education Administration and Management. Previous to teaching at BYU she
worked as a seminary and institute teacher as well as a researcher for the Church Educational System.
She was born and raised in Salem, OR, served a Spanish-speaking mission in L.A. California, visitors’
center, and currently resides in Highland, UT. She is married to Dustin Gardner. Barbara enjoys spending
time with her family, learning, teaching, traveling, people, the great outdoors and life!
Andrew C. Reed is a historian of modern Russia and Europe. His main area of research is in Russian Jewish
history with special emphasis on the nature of interactions between Jews and Christians. He earned a PhD
from Arizona State University in Modern European History, MSt from Cambridge University in the Study of
Jewish-Christian Relations, MSt from Oxford University in Slavonic Studies, and a BA in History from
Brigham Young University. At Brigham Young University, Andy teaches courses in World Religions,
Judaism, Islam, and Latter-day Saint Church history and is the faculty advisor to the student interfaith
He is currently writing a book about the renowned Russian-Jewish hebraist, Daniil Avraamovich Khvol’son
(1819-1911) and his scholarly achievements and public efforts to refute the blood libel charge in Russia.
His relevant recent publications include: “The Saratov Case as a Critical Juncture in Ritual Murder History.”
in The Worlds of Ritual Murder: Culture, Politics, and Belief in Eastern Europe and Beyond, Eugene M.
Avrutin, Jonathan Dekel-Chen, and Robert Weinberg, eds. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017),
74-94 and “Convergent Aims: The Revival of Jewish Studies in St. Petersburg and the Search for Russia's
Unaffiliated Jews.”Scripta Judaica Cracoviensia, vol. 11 (2013): 25-46. Andy is married to Kaylyn and they
are the parents of six children (Riley, Bentley, Kelsie, Bradley, Josie, and Wrigley).
Jacob Rennaker serves as the Scholar in Residence and Interim Director of the John A. Widtsoe
Foundation at the University of Southern California. He holds a B.A. in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from
Brigham Young University, an M.A. in Comparative Religion from the University of Washington, and a
Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Claremont Graduate University. His primary research focuses on
comparative religion and literature, with particular emphasis on temples and related sacred spaces as
they appear in biblical, extra-biblical, and ancient Near Eastern texts. Jacob’s additional research deals
with Mormon scripture and theology, especially as it intersects with other ancient and modern religious
traditions. He is an editor for the BYU New Testament Commentary Series and associate director of the
BYU New Testament Commentary Summer Seminar. Jacob has presented scholarly papers at a variety of
academic conferences, including those held by the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology, Mormon Scholars in the Humanities, and others.
Brent L. Top is a Professor of Church History & Doctrine at Brigham Young University. In June 2013, he
was appointed Dean of Religious Education. Prior to that appointment, Professor Top served as the chair
of the department of Church History and Doctrine for four years. Dr. Top served as Associate Dean of
Religious Education from 1997-2002. He held the endowed Professorship in Moral Education for two
years prior to his call as an LDS Mission President of the Illinois Peoria Mission (2004-2007). He received
all of his degrees from Brigham Young University—a BA in history, a Masters degree in Instructional Media
and Ancient Scripture and a PhD in Instructional Science and Technology. Prior to joining the BYU
Religious Education faculty in 1987, he worked for the LDS Church Educational System as a released-time
seminary teacher, an institute teacher, and an administrator. He is the author of more than a dozen LDS
books and numerous articles on historical, religious, sociological and educational subjects.
Steven Windmueller has combined a 45-year career as a Jewish communal professional and as an
academic. From 1995 until 2015 Steven was affiliated with the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union
College-Jewish Institute of Religion, serving for ten years as director of its School of Jewish Nonprofit
Management and four years as dean of the Skirball Campus. He retired in 2016 as the Rabbi Alfred
Gottschalk Professor of Jewish Communal Studies. Previously, he held prominent positions within the
Jewish community, serving on the staff the American Jewish Committee (1970-1973); being named
executive director of the Greater Albany Jewish Federation (1973-1985); and functioning as the
Community Relations Committee Director of the LA Jewish Federation (1985-1995). Steven holds a Ph.D.
in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania; his books, blogs and articles are dedicated
to the study of American Jewish communal trends and the political behavior of America's Jews.
A specialist on political issues and American Jewish affairs, Steven's articles and monographs have
appeared in a wide array of Jewish and general publications and books. His Pew-funded research on the
major national Jewish community relations agencies appeared in a recent publication, Jewish Polity and
American Civil Society: Communal Agencies and Religious Movements in the American Public Square
(Roman and Littlefield, 2002). The Wind Report, an interactive website, www.thewindreport.com serves
as a repository of Steven’s extensive writing.
Over the years, Steven was recognized for his commitment to the Jewish community. In 1995 the Jewish
Communal Professionals of Southern California honored him when he received their Career Achievement
Award. The Human Relations Commission of the County of Los Angeles recognized his service to the
community In 2011 he was selected by BBYO (B’nai B’rith Youth Organization) to receive the Sam Beber
Distinguished AZA Alumnus of the Year Award for his service to the Jewish people. In May of 2014, Steven
was awarded an honorary degree from the Hebrew Union College.
Active on both the national scene and within the Los Angeles Jewish community, he has served on various
boards and foundations. Steven is married to Dr. Michelle Pearlman Windmueller.