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Think Tank 2022


September 2022
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In Memoriam: Richard Rubenstein

USA—A dear friend of the wider UPF community, Dr. Richard Lowell Rubenstein, age 97—world-renowned author, rabbi, scholar, university president—passed away on May 16, 2021.

Dr. Rubenstein was ordained as a rabbi at Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, studying with his mentor, Abraham Joshua Heschel. He then attended Harvard Divinity School, where he earned his Master of Theological Studies and Ph.D. in the history of religion.

Dr. Rubenstein served as the Hillel director and the Charles E. Merrill Professor of Humanities at the University of Pittsburgh, and then as the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Religion and co-director of the Humanities Institute at Florida State University. Dr. Rubenstein became the president of the University of Bridgeport in 1995 after leaving Florida State University. Among his many books, perhaps After Auschwitz stands among the most memorable, addressing the crisis for theology presented by the horrific reality of the Holocaust. His wisdom, scholarly rigor, penetrating mind, and fearless pursuit of truth impacted the lives of millions around the world. 

Richard Rubenstein, together with his wife, Mrs. Betty Rogers Rubenstein, was a frequent and beloved contributor and active advisor to a number of the peace organizations established by UPF founders Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, including the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, the Professors World Peace Academy, the Washington Institute, the New Ecumenical Research Association, the Council for the World’s Religions, the Assembly of the World’s Religions, the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace, the World Culture and Sports Festivals, the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, and UPF.

Dr. Rubenstein had deep appreciation and respect for the Rev. Moon, admiring his bold, dynamic and path-breaking leadership, having built a formidable global movement out of the ashes of post-colonial and Korean War-devastated Korea. Moreover, Dr. Rubenstein always stood firm in opposing all forms of religious and ethnic bigotry and xenophobia.

He was deeply committed to interreligious dialogue, interdisciplinary studies, and efforts to promote peace and reconciliation. He will be greatly missed. His legacy and historic contributions to peace live on.