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Ethics Institute, Jewish Studies Director Honored by Quebec Catholic Diocese

The director of SUNY Plattsburgh’s Jewish Studies program and the college’s Institute for Ethics in Public Life was honored for his work with the interfaith community of Montreal.

Dr. Jonathan Slater, associate professor of public relations and chair of the Department of Journalism and Public Relations, was awarded the Order of Merit from the Diocese of St.-Jean-Longueuil in Quebec at a June 10 ceremony at the St.-Jean-l’Evangeliste Cathedral in St.-Jean, Quebec. 

Slater, who has served for many years on the executive board of Montreal’s South Shore Jewish Community, has been at the forefront of the community’s interfaith initiatives, according to the diocese. He has worked closely with the interfaith relations committee of the diocese, representing the Jewish community in a number of educational, cultural and spiritual activities that have included the participation in Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and First Nations leaders.

Most recently, Slater shared the platform with retired McGill University biblical scholar Francine Robert in a diocese colloquium on the theme of mercy in Judaism and Christianity as part of the Vatican’s Year of Mercy initiative. Bishop Lionel Gendron said that Slater’s collaborative efforts have allowed members of the diocese “to discover the living spiritual legacy Judaism has handed down (to Christianity) and which is at the foundation of our faith.”

“Being selected for this distinction is a humbling experience,” Slater said. “The diocese goes to great lengths to promote the values of tolerance and respect across a vast territory. Both the South Shore Jewish Community and the diocese have worked together to foster a spiritual and intellectual environment focused on trust and acceptance. I think it’s a model for the province of Quebec and elsewhere, and I am grateful for the opportunity to play a small part in its success.”

Slater is one of 36 to have received the Order of Merit this year. The award was instituted in 1955 and since then, more than 800 individuals and groups have been honored. 

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