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Chamberlain Interfaith Fellowship

The Chamberlain Interfaith Fellowship (CIF) is a unique and enriching opportunity for TBS 11th graders. The CIF is a selective program that engages up to six high school juniors from the TBS community and up to six college students from Eastern University (EU) in Pennsylvania in a year-long program of interfaith learning, relationship-building, and dialogue. CIF participants will experience the educational, spiritual and relational aspects of both Judaism and Christianity. 


The fellowship is built around two travel / hosting experiences which will include opportunities for joint worship, interfaith dialogue, community service, and relationship building. Each fall, the CIF Fellows from EU travel to Needham and are hosted by the families of the CIF Fellows from TBS. Each spring, the CIF Fellows from TBS travel to Pennsylvania and are hosted by the CIF Fellows from EU. There are also brief required readings, a few in-person class sessions, and a few Zoom sessions in preparation for each travel / hosting experience.


Dr. Joseph B. Modica, Eastern University Chaplain, and Rachel Happel, TBS Senior Director of Learning and Engagement, serve as the CIF Mentors, lead the learning sessions, and travel with their respective groups. 


There is no cost to families for this fellowship. Travel, food, lodging and educational materials are all covered by a generous donor.


For more information, please contact Rachel Happel (







More About the Chamberlain Interfaith Fellowship


The Chamberlain Interfaith Fellowship is in honor of the late Dr. Ted J. Chamberlain (d. 2010), who served as Vice President for Student Development at Eastern University for many years. The fellowship carries forward Ted’s unique ability to craft relationships of meaning by bringing together Christian and Jewish students for an opportunity to learn about each other’s faith tradition; reflect upon commonalities and differences in the spirit of emerging friendship; grow spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually; and engage in a social justice project for the common good of society and the world. CIF enables fellows to experience what the late Krister Stendal of Harvard University once referred to as “holy envy” – a deep appreciation of the beauty, depth, and power of another religious tradition. 



Testimonials from CIF Alumni


"For me, the Chamberlain Interfaith Fellowship was an amazing experience, and I’d absolutely do it again. I think the CIF is an important experience because in day-to-day life no one actually gets to hear or learn about other people’s faiths. We just have our own assumptions and stereotypes, while the rest is filled in by the news, our friends briefly mentioning something, or things we read online...The CIF connected me with a group of people who have different beliefs than me, and they live their lives far more differently than I could ever imagine...Both Christians and Jews have so much to learn from one another, and the CIF is an amazing opportunity for people to learn about our similarities and differences. Overall, the CIF was an incredible experience filled with lots of learning, but also lots of fun. Road trips, social time, group meals, axe throwing, and ice cream all led to awesome bonding experiences with both the fellows and adults as well. I hope that anyone who wants to have fun while learning something new about another faith, or even more about their own faith, participates in the Chamberlain Interfaith Fellowship. It’s a once in a lifetime program, and you won’t regret taking up the opportunity." 

(Dylan, Cohort 8, 2022-2023)


"The experience that I have had over the past year is incomparable to any that I have experienced over the course of my life, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to participate in the fellowship. I now view the world from a wider perspective and feel much more prepared to engage in discourse with those who have differing worldviews than me. A specific event that will always stick with me is a conversation that I had over lunch in the conference room at TBS when the Eastern fellows visited Needham. I had a fascinating discussion with one of the fellows about our differing opinions on how the Earth was created. I spoke about my belief in evolution, while he spoke about his belief in the biblical understanding of how God created the planet. My scientific opinion and his religious opinion worked with, not against, each other to create a greater understanding for both of us...The opportunity to create meaningful discussion as well as long-lasting friendships is an opportunity that cannot be found in a lot of other places. I hope that future generations of Chamberlain fellows get to experience these same wonderful conversations and experiences in the years to come...In a world where divisiveness is everywhere, taking part in experiences like the CIF are not just helpful, but necessary." 

(David, Cohort 5, 2019-2020)


"One part I really loved was going to our respective prayer spaces and learning together. To get to learn about how these other religious people live and ask questions with no judgment is a unique experience I was fortunate to have. I also had a ton of fun getting to go to church and seeing how others pray. The Chamberlain Interfaith Fellowship gave me a space to learn and grow from my peers and ask questions from people my own age. When we went to church, there was a baptism, which was so cool to get to see! Through CIF I got to see this and many other awesome things. Another cool part was getting to teach about my own religion. To get to show how I pray and learn to people who aren’t exposed to my religion is also an experience most people wouldn’t have until later in life. I loved watching others wonder and watch our traditions and get to show off a part of my life that is really important to me. The Chamberlain Interfaith Fellowship is an amazing opportunity that gives space for learning, growth, and opportunity, and I think it is an incredible experience that everyone should have." 

(Danika, Cohort 7, 2021-2022)

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