Announcing Starr King Symposium 2012

Message from the President banner

Rebecca Parker

Dear Starr King Friend,

I’m delighted to announce that Starr King’s first Symposium will be held in August 21-23, 2012: “Living in the Differences: Counter-Oppressive, Multi-Religious The( )logies in the 21st Century”. This urban retreat, led by our Provost Dr. Ibrahim Farajajé, inaugurates a new structure in our educational approach: an annual gathering of our entire student body, faculty, staff and trustees for three days of learning, ritual, celebration, food, music, community-building and service. Starr King graduates are also warmly invited to participate, at no cost. We ask that all participants register by August 1 at this link: Symposium 2012 Registration. Several public events in connection with the Symposium are open to all.


Reb Zalman     Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shalomi is our honored guest teacher for the Symposium and is receiving an honorary doctorate from Starr King at the closing ceremonies. His lectures and the closing ceremony are open to the public. Reb Zalman stands at the borders of two traditions: Judaism and Sufism. He is both a Rabbi and a Sufi Shaykh, and has participated in significant conversation and meditation with the Dalai Lama. With his colleague Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, he founded the nationwide spiritual movement now known as Jewish Renewal.


With leadership from Starr King’s core faculty, the Symposium will engage participants in a multi-religious exploration of synergies between the arts, spiritual practice, ritual, the study of sacred texts, and activism for social justice.  Starr King’s adjunct professor Jiwon Chung, artistic director of Kairos Theater Ensemble, will lead us in Theater of the Oppressed work.  We will spend time with the leaders of Beloved Café and learn about the imagination leading to new forms of religious community.   Acclaimed writer and director Amir Soltani, with whom Starr King has a long association through our MASC program, will host a screening and discussion of the latest cut of his move “Redemption,” on the recycling community in Oakland.

The Symposium can be taken for 1.5 units of credit and financial support to assist with travel costs is available for Starr King incoming and continuing degree students who register and apply for aid by July 20th.  Home hospitality is available as well, Register here:

This first-ever Symposium is being created on less than an “organic shoestring” budget, but we are blessed by contributions of many kinds.  Thank you to our co-sponsors: The Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union, Kehilla Congregation, Chochmat HaLev, and the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California.

If you can’t be present but would like to provide financial aid to help a student be able to attend, or to support the Symposium with a gift of any kind, including volunteer time, click here to visit the Symposium web pages to indicate your offering.

Your support for this important gathering –by your prayers, your presence, your gifts and/or your service– is greatly appreciated.

In grace and gratitude,
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker  President and Professor of

P.S.  We still have Shelter Rock Fellowship grant money available that would cut the cost of your UU Studies or Multi-religious Studies Certificate in half! Apply online by August 1.

If you are interested in exploring a Starr King education, or know someone who is, visit and contact our Recruitment and Marketing Director, Crystal H. Weston, at