Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay, national education director at AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, will discuss “Passover: From Liberation to Freedom” at a 7:30 p.m. lecture Tuesday, April 12, in the 3M Auditorium of Owens Science Hall on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas. 

The presentation is sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and is free and open to the public. Co-sponsors are the Minnesota Rabbinical Association and the St. Paul Jewish Community Center.

Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay

Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay

“The Jewish festival of Passover celebrates liberation from slavery and the formation of a covenant that yields true freedom and responsibility,” Ruskay said. “I will explore how this festival and the biblical story on which it is based can inform our understanding of contemporary social-justice issues and inspire people of different faith traditions to build strong and sustainable communities that foster freedom, justice and peace.”

Prior to receiving rabbinic ordination and a master’s degree in Jewish education from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2008, Ruskay served as program director for Face to Face/Faith to Faith, a multifaith youth-leadership and conflict-resolution program for Christian, Jewish and Muslim youth from the Middle East, South Africa, Northern Ireland and the United States run under the auspices of Auburn Theological Seminary in New York.

She also served as the associate director of education at American Jewish World Service and as a volunteer in Bulgaria for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps was founded in 1998 to strengthen the Jewish community’s fight against the causes and effects of poverty in the United States. Each year AVODAH recruits young Jewish adults from across the United States and Canada to spend a year working full time at anti-poverty organizations in New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Washington, D.C.

Ruskay will be the Jay Phillips Center’s rabbi-in-residence from April 11 to 14 at both St. Thomas and St. John’s University in Collegeville. The two universities co-sponsor the center, whose mission is to promote interfaith learning and friendship among people of various religions. Information about the center can be found on its website.