Rabbi Sigal Memorial Lecture

One of the great pioneers of the interfaith movement in West Michigan was Rabbi Dr. Phillip Sigal. Aside from his duties at Ahavas Israel Synagogue, Dr. Sigal was instrumental in opening up the lines of communication among several religions in the area. After his untimely death in 1985, a group of local academics and interfaith enthusiasts established a memorial lecture fund in Rabbi Sigal's honor. From that time forward, IDA has brought to churches, schools and other lecture halls some of the most important voices in religion and social movements of the day. Check out past lectures below:


Susan Henry-Crowe

Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe

2018: Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe

"Social Justice as a Faith Based Imperative"

Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe is the chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society which is the social justice arm of the Methodist church.  In this position, she leads the church on issues including civil and human rights, economic justice, environmental justice, health and wholeness, peace with justice, and women and children.  

Respondents at the 2018 lecture included Marlene Kowalski-Braun, Vice President for Inclusion and Student Affairs at Grand Valley State University and Muaz Redzic, Imam at the Bosnian Cultural Center. 

This year's lecture took place on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at in GVSU's Eberhard Center.


2017: Dr. Simran Jeet Singh

"Islamophobia, Hate Crimes, and the Racialization of Religious identity in America"

Dr. Simran Jeet Singh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Trinity University and Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition. Simran holds graduate degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University, and for the 2017-2018 academic year will be the Henry R. Luce Post-doctoral Fellow of Religion and International Affairs at the NYU Center for Religion and Media. He also currently serves as a Truman National Security Fellow for the Truman National Security Project. As a Sikh-American, scholar of religion, and activist for social justice, Singh explores the way the racialization of religious identity has affected communities locally and nationally, as well as how an interfaith community can respond to discrimination and violence.

Simran is a prolific writer who contributes frequently to various news outlets and digital platforms. He has become a consistent expert for reporters and news outlets around the world in television, radio, and print media. Singh also serves on the board for the Religion Newswriters Association, the premiere organization for religion journalists in the country. 


2016: Reverend Jennifer Bailey

“Racial and Interfaith Justice: A New Vision for Leadership at the Intersections" 

Named one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress, Rev. Jennifer Bailey is an ordained minister, public theologian, and emerging national leader in multi-faith movement for justice. She is the Founding Executive Director of the Faith Matters Network, a new interfaith community equipping faith leaders to challenge structural inequality in their communities. Jennifer comes to this work with nearly a decade of experience at nonprofits combatting intergenerational poverty. Jennifer believes that people of faith can be game changers in the fight to build a more just, compassionate, and peaceful world. 

An Ashoka Fellow, Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow, On Being Fellow and Truman Scholar, Jennifer earned degrees from Tufts University and Vanderbilt University Divinity School where she was awarded the Wilbur F. Tillett Prize for accomplishments in the study of theology. She writes regularly for a number of publications including On BeingSojournersand the Huffington Post. Her first book, tentatively titled Confessions of a #Millennial #Minister is currently under contract with Chalice Press. Rev. Bailey is an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.



Page last modified April 20, 2018