The Schaalman Award is named for Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman, who was born in 1916 in Munich, Germany. As a child, Schaalman endured instances of anti-semitism, intolerance and exclusion. In 1935, he managed to evade the advance of the Nazis and the Holocaust by enrolling in Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, from which he was ordained in 1941. He additionally completed his B.A. and M.A. at the University of Cincinnati in 1937, attending both schools concurrently. His ministry took him to Cedar Rapids, IA, and, later, Chicago, where he would spend the rest of his life. In 1956, Schaalman was named Senior Rabbi of Emanuel Congregation of Chicago, a position he held for more than thirty years, after which he remained Rabbi Emeritus until his death.
Schaalman is widely known for his interreligious activism. He advocated for constructive dialogue, believing that interreligious friendships could improve and heal the world. He had a close relationship with Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Bernadin of Chicago, for whom he performed a memorial service after Bernadin’s death in 1996. The Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman Interreligious Leadership Award was established in his honor in 2000 and intended to advance interreligious understanding, engagement, and leadership.
Each year CTS students are invited to submit an essay and proposal for an interfaith project. One entry is selected as the Schaalman recipient and receives a $500 cash prize and $500 microgrant to implement their project.
The IRI offers a full scholarship each year for a student in Muslim Studies at Chicago Theological Seminary. Combined with directed, interfaith recruiting efforts, this scholarship will enhance religious diversity in our student body and Muslim representation in our community.
Additional, partial scholarships for Muslim students will be funded by CTS as other students are recruited, enabling us to continue growing our Muslim student population.