Thursday April 9, 2009

In Memoriam: Shirley Flacks and Max Gutmann

In March, the Dayton community lost two champions of interfaith understanding and dialogue: Shirley Flacks and Max Gutmann.

In March, the Dayton community lost two champions of interfaith understanding and dialogue.

Shirley Flacks, 84, one of six co-founders of the Dayton Christian-Jewish Dialogue, died Tuesday, March 24, in Rockville, Md. In the early 1970s, she and her fellow dialogue founders — Flacks' late husband Paul Flacks, the late Father Edward Flannery, the late Father Phil Hoelle, S.M., Eileen Moorman and the late Harold Rubenstein — led the planning of the first national workshop on Christian-Jewish relations, held in Dayton. In the group's 40 years, the group advanced interfaith understanding through thoughtful and considerate dialogue and strong bonds of friendship. The University of Dayton has provided support for the Dayton Christian-Jewish Dialogue since its first years.

Father Bertrand Buby, S.M., said Flacks brought Christian-Jewish relations into the consciousness of many in the community through the friendships and organizations to which she belonged.

Max Gutmann, former chairman and chief executive of Elder-Beerman Stores Corp. and a former University trustee, died Thursday, March 26. A contribution in 2000 from Gutmann and his wife, Darlene, now a University trustee, made possible the Gutmann Lectureship in Judaic Studies. The series started in October 2001 with Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel.

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