Rudin, A. James

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RUDIN, A. JAMES (1934– ), U.S. rabbi and interreligious leader. Rabbi Rudin, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, grew up in Alexandria, Virginia. He attended Wesleyan University and received his B.A. degree with academic distinction from George Washington University (1955). Rudin received his master's degree and rabbinical ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (1960) and did graduate studies in American history at the University of Illinois. He received two honorary doctorates, one from huc-jir (1985) and the other from Saint Leo University in Florida where he was Distinguished Visiting Professor (2000).

Upon ordination, Rabbi Rudin served congregations in the U.S. Air Force as a chaplain in Japan and Korea. He then was usaf Chaplain Japan & Korea, 1960–62.

He was assistant rabbi of Congregation B'nai Jehudah, Kansas City, mo (1962–64) and rabbi of Sinai Temple, Champaign, Illinois (1964–68). In 1964 he participated in an inter-religious, interracial voting rights drive in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

He was a member of the aj Committee's staff for 32 years retiring in 2000. He was first assistant interreligious affairs director of the American Jewish Committee (1968–1983) working with Marc Tannenbaum, a pioneer in the field of inter-religious relationship, and then as his successor as National Interreligious Affairs (1983–2000). Under his leadership, the ajc became the internationally acknowledged leader in Christian-Jewish and Muslim-Jewish relations He was responsible for developing the American Jewish Committee's work with Evangelicals and with Roman Catholics as well as mainline Protestant churches and later with Islam. He was also an expert on cults. Rudin was a founder of both the National Inter-religious Task Force on Soviet Jewry and the National Inter-religious Task Force on Black-Jewish Relations.

He continued his involvement with ajc as its senior interreligious advisor and as a member of the organization's board of governors.

He was chairman of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations and participated in ten meetings with Pope John Paul ii. Rudin also participated in historic meetings with the World Council of Churches in Geneva and with Eastern Orthodox Christian leaders in Greece. In 1997 the Polish Council of Christians and Jews presented Rudin with its "Person of Reconciliation Award" at a ceremony in Warsaw. In 2003, he received the Golden Medallion Award from the International Council of Christians and Jews.

He worked in close consultation with leaders of the well-known Oberammergau Passion Play that is presented every ten years in Germany. It was his leadership efforts that resulted in many positive changes in the portrayal of Jews and Judaism at Oberammergau in 1990 and again in 2000.

Rudin is the author or editor of eight books: Twenty Years of Catholic-Jewish Relations (1986); Evangelicals and Jews in Conversation, (1978); A Time to Speak: The Evangelical-Jewish Encounter (1987); Evangelicals and Jews in an Age of Pluralism (1989); Prison or Paradise: The New Religious Cults (1980); Why Me? Why Anyone? (1986); and Israel for Christians: Understanding Modern Israel (1983); and The Baptizing of America: The Religious Right's Plan for the Rest of us (2005).

In 2006 he served as a member of the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, an interdisciplinary group that focuses on bioethical legislation and issues. Rudin was also a member of the Camp David/Presidential Retreat Interfaith Chapel Committee and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission.

From 1991 he penned weekly commentaries for the Religion News Service (rns)/Newhouse Syndicate.

Rudin's wife, the former Marcia Kaplan, wrote with her husband. One of their two daughters, Rabbi Eve Rudin, is a senior staff member of the Union for Reform Judaism in New York City.

[Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]