On March 25, 2011, Minneapolis Reform Jewish congregation Temple Israel will bestow its 2011 Interfaith Award to Sister Marge Boyle, Minneapolis. The award is given to exceptional leaders who have worked to build bridges and facilitate dialogue and interfaith understanding with the Jewish community.
Created in 1990, during the tenure of the late Rabbi Max Shapiro, the award recognizes individuals in other faiths who have worked tirelessly toward interfaith understanding. It’s symbol is a “shofar,” a ram’s horn, given to award recipients. The shofar is used to symbolize the Jewish call to listen to the voices of others.
“In her Catholic community Marge is an incredible advocate for the Jewish people,” said Temple Israel Senior Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman. “She is devoted to the study of Judaism and has been a part of our Temple family for many years.” Sister Boyle has been heavily involved with Catholic-Jewish reconciliation activities for more than 30 years.
Past award recipients have included Father Michael O’Connell, current pastor of the Church of the Ascension in North Minneapolis, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University professor of theology John C. Merkle, and most recently, in 2009, Reverend James Gertmenian of Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis.
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The award will be presented by Rabbi Zimmerman during the Friday evening Shabbat service, which begins at 6 p.m. Sister Boyle will deliver the evening’s sermon. The service will be followed by a Congregational Dinner, requiring reservations and for which there will be a charge, and that will be followed by a discussion session with Sister Boyle which will begin at 8:15 p.m. Contact Temple Israel for more information: 612-377-8680.
Sister Boyle is a graduate of Stanford University, and earned a Master’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley, where she was involved in various social justice issues and interfaith activities, particularly Christian-Jewish activities.
In 1982, while in Israel, Marge encountered the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, a small Roman Catholic international congregation. The primary work of the Sisters of Sion is Catholic-Jewish reconciliation.
Known formally as The Congregation of the Religious of Our Lady of Sion, the order was founded in 1843 by an Austrian convert from Judaism. Their principles, notes their website, include “a particular responsibility to promote understanding and justice for the Jewish community, and to keep alive in the Church the consciousness that, in some mysterious way, Christianity is linked to Judaism from its origin to its final destiny.”
Sister Boyle’s passion for interfaith work includes regular participation in interfaith and adult learning activities at Temple Israel, such as the weekly Saturday morning Torah Study. She also contributes her time an energies to broadly working for justice and equality in many arenas of society. She actively supports worker rights to collectively bargain and society’s need to assist the disadvantaged.
The Interfaith Award Program is supported by the Knelman Family Fund for Interfaith Relations at Temple Israel.