The Rabbi Max B. Wall Endowment Program



Rabbi Max B. Wall

Born in Poland July 23, 1915, Max B. Wall came to the United States with his family in 1921 and first settled in Denver,  Colorado. He attended public school, later graduating from Yeshiva University in 1938 and the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1942. Soon after he became Rabbi of the Congregation Beth-El Woodbury, New Jersey, a post he held for two years.  Entering WWII as a chaplain, he was assigned to the European Theater. Following the Nazi period of persecution Rabbi Wall became instrumental in the revival of Jewish worship in Munich and was the first to conduct Jewish services there following the war, including the first Rosh Hashanah celebration.

Answering a call from the Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in Burlington, Vermont in 1946, Max Wall adopted the Green Mountain State as his own.  Since that time, Rabbi Wall has emerged as one of the most renowned religious leaders in northern New England.  As spiritual leader of Ohavi Zedek, he has become a focal point in Vermont's interfaith movement, joining other clergymen in informal ecumenical study which has sustained a strong spirit of inter-religious dialogue and fellowship.  Widely recognized as an exemplary moral educator and activist, Rabbi Wall has served on the Executive Board of the Rabbinical Assembly of America and the New York Board of Rabbis.  In 1987, Rabbi Wall became the Rabbi Emeritus of the Ohavi Zedek Congregation.

For over thirty years, Rabbi Wall and Saint Michael's College have maintained a very close relationship, culminating in the awarding of an honorary degree at the 1981 Commencement.  Both his undergraduate and graduate courses dealing with "Judaism and the History of the Jews in the United States" as well as "The Making of the Modern Jew" were very popular. He also started the Judaica collection which has continued growing under the care of the endowment committee. In the catalogue, look under Subject, then insert  "Judaism," "Judaism-Relations-Christianity" and related terms.

Max Wall's enduring commitment to social justice, his advocacy for human rights and his tireless efforts on behalf of the social well being of all peoples have made him one of the campus' most recognized and remembered figures. Those same characteristics have led him to serve on the Governor's Committee on Youth, the Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, the Vermont State Housing Authority, and  the Governor's Ethics Advisory Committee.

Truly a man for all seasons, Saint Michael's remains especially proud to call Rabbi Max B. Wall one of its own.


The Program

The teaching of courses in Judaica at Saint Michael's College began in 1964 as a conscious and philosophical statement. Saint Michael's College has always been keenly active in promoting interfaith study and as early as 1965, awarded an honorary degree to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

The national relationship between Judaism and Christianity was deemed to be extremely important during the post ecumenical age with emphasis on the fact that a well rounded Christian education had to include an acquaintanceship with ideas and traditions of Judaism. The subject matter, designed in the light of Vatican II, provides a new dimension in understanding Judaic/Christian relationships as well as studying the dual theological and sociological organizations. For these reasons the "Rabbi Max B. Wall Endowment Program" seeks to guarantee the continued presence of a Judaic scholar on the campus of Saint Michael's College and to create a fund to support that end.

The Fund

Established by the friends of Rabbi Max B. Wall in 1983, the Wall Endowment Fund ensures the continuation of the teaching legacy of Rabbi Wall at Saint Michael’s College, sponsors public lectures and symposia on Judaism and Christian-Jewish relations, and contributes to the development of the College library’s holdings in Jewish studies.

The committee responsible for programs funded by the Wall Endowment is charged with presenting educational opportunities for Saint Michael’s students, faculty, and staff, and as a service to inter-faith cooperation and dialogue in the wider community.

The Rabbi Max B. Wall Endowment Fund continues to receive support from friends and admirers of Rabbi Wall and his work for inter-faith understanding and respect in our society. If you would like additional information about the Fund and ways you can contribute to the Rabbi Max B. Wall Endowment, please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at Saint Michael’s College, (802) 654-2557.


Annual  Rabbi Max B. Wall Lecture Series

Marc Tannenbaum, "Judaism and Christianity in Today’s World," January 1985.

Jehuda Reinharz, "The Jews in Germany before 1933: Patriots and Aliens," April 1987

Donald Dietrich, "The Catholic Church and Anti-Semitism in Germany during the Third Reich," October 1988.

Symposium on the 25th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate, The Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions from the Second Vatican Council
October 8-9, 1990 
John Pawlikowski, "Jews, Judaism and Catholic Education: Did Nostra Aetate Make a Difference?" .
    David Novak, "Nostra Aetate after Twenty-Five Years: A Theological Implication" 
    Paul van Buren, "Pluralism and the Jewish-Christian Relationship"

Jon Levenson, "The Sacrifice of the Beloved Son in Judaism and Christianity," April 1992.

Jack Wertheimer, "The American Rabbinate and the Changing Agenda of American Jewry," October 1992.

Symposium on Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Europe March 16, 1994
Francis Nicosia, "New Germany or New Reich? Anti-Semitism in Post-Holocaust Europe" 
    Leon Klenicki, "A Painful Reflection on the Sin of Racism" .

Henry Friedlander, "Nazi Euthanasia and the Final Solution," April 1995

Judith Plaskow, "Feminist Transformations of Ritual: The Jewish Case," April 1996.

Symposium on he Fiftieth Anniversary of  the Founding of the  State of Israel April 23, 1998
    Bernard Wasserstein, "A State for ‘Displaced Persons’? The Shoah and the Establishment of Israel," April 1998.
    Robert Louis Wilken
, "Jerusalem: Heavenly City and Earthly Center," April 1998.

Julie Goschalk,
"Crossing the Abyss: When a Daughter of Holocaust Survivors Meets Children of Nazis." Offered in conjunction with the month-long exhibit, Anne Frank: A History for Today, April 1999.

Steven Wasserstrom,
"Sharing Secrets: The Role of Esoterism in Jewish-Muslim Interconfessionalism," April 2000.

Symposium:  The Vatican and he Holocaust October 22, 2001
    Dr. Michael Phayer,
"Pius XII and the Holocaust"
    Rabbi Richard Rubenstein,
"Was Pius XII 'Hitler's Pope'?"

Lenn E. Goodman, "Crosspollinations. Philosophically Fruitful Exchanges between Jewish and Islamic Thought," March 24, 2003.

Alan F. Segal, Ingeborg Rennert Professor of Jewish Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University,
"From Here to Eternity: The Afterlife in Judaism," January 29, 2004

Susannah Heschel, “The Myth of Europe in America’s Judaism,” October 2004

Douglas Greenberg (president and CEO of Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation),
“Henry’s Harmonica: History and Memory in a Genocidal World,
March 22, 2006.

Ellen Cannon,  professor of political science and public policy at Northeastern Illinois University, CEO of Cannon Consulting Group.
"The American Jewish Electorate in the 21st Century: Will They Have Clout?" Oct. 2006

Jules Chametzky, Dr., Emeritus Professor Department of English, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
"It All Adds Up: The influence of Jewish American Writers on American Literature," March 12, 2008.

Paul S. Hasia, Dr., and Sylvia Steinberg, Professor of American Jewish History, New York University.
"We remember with reverence and love: American Jews and the myth of silence after the Holocaust, 1945-1962," April 20, 2009.

Doris Bergen, Prof. , Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of TorontoUniversity
"Military Chaplains and the Holocaust", April 8, 2010