Xavier professor invited to the White House

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Rabbi Abie Ingber, founding director of Xavier University's Office of Interfaith Community Engagement has been invited by President Barack Obama to the White House for a celebration of Jewish Heritage Month on May 30, 2012.

President George W. Bush first declared in 2006 that May would be Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM). The main priority of JAHM is to raise the national consciousness regarding contributions by Jewish Americans to our country's heritage through a variety of events and programs across all 50 states.

"As leaders in every facet of American life … Jewish Americans have shaped our Nation and helped steer the course of our history," declared President Obama. In the 2011-2012 academic year Ingber's office served as the only Southern Ohio participant in the White House Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge.

An ordained rabbi for 35 years, Abie Ingber is also an adjunct professor of theology at Xavier University. For over 30 years, he was executive director and senior rabbi at Cincinnati's Hillel Jewish Student Center. The son of Holocaust immigrants, Ingber has advocated his entire life on behalf of immigrants and social justice. One of his earliest notable achievements came when he talked his way into John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Montreal bedroom during their famous 1969 "Bed In" to convince them to sign his petition for Russian Jewish emigration. More recently, he has traveled with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society to Darfur to bring refugees the message of hope with which his parents raised him. HIAS work has also taken him to Uganda and Kenya. He has traveled to Ethiopia to accompany Ethiopian Jews (Falash Mura) to their new home in Israel.

In the United States, Ingber has served as vice president of the Interreligious Information Center in New York City and is a founding board member of the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University. With members of the Brueggeman Center, he co-created and is co-executive director of the award-winning exhibit, "A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People," which has toured in more than eighteen cities since its opening in 2005. In 2009, Ingber and his co-directors delivered 31,009 prayers written by exhibit visitors to place in Jerusalem's Western Wall.

Ingber's work at Xavier, one of the United States' Jesuit universities, further exemplifies his mission to engage all faiths and all ages to work together for Tikkun Olam. His office for Interfaith Community Engagement gathers students from all faith and ethnic backgrounds to encounter each other and to serve together for the betterment of all. In 2007, he was the co-convener of the first Catholic-Jewish Lay Conference at the Vatican. Ingber is known across the country and around the world for his unifying efforts and inspiring speeches. In 2008, he received the Eternal Light Award from the Center for Jewish-Catholic Studies in Tampa, Florida. The University of Cincinnati has bestowed on him the Dr. Martin Luther King Award and the Just Community Award. In 2012, Ingber was named a "Champion for Connecting Cultures and Communities" by the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission.