B A C K G R O U N D A N D S E T T I N G
Muhlenberg College is particularly well situated to undertake a venture of this kind. As a college related to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, it has strong ties to the Christian tradition. For many decades, it also has attracted substantial numbers of Jewish students, who typically constitute about 20% of the student body. The College is located in a residential area where Jews and Christians live side by side. Four synagogues (Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist) are within walking distance of the College, as is the Jewish Community Center, which houses a Holocaust resource library.
The IJCU's program was inaugurated in 1989 when Dr. Franklin Sherman, former Dean of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, was appointed founding Director. Dr. Sherman guided the essential development of the Institute's program and served until his retirement in 1996. Upon Dr. Sherman's retirement, Dr. Robert A. Everett took over as Director and headed the IJCU until December 1998. In August 1999, the IJCU appointed a new Director, The Rev. Dr. Peter A. Pettit, Ms. Jeanette Eichenwald in 2006 as the Schools Program Coordinator and Ms. Christine Bartholomew returned as Administrative Assistant in January 2001.