Dr. Sandmel is chair of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, the consortium of Jewish organization that is the official Jewish dialogue partner of the Vatican, the World Council of Churches, and the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox churches. From 2014-2022 he served as Senior Advisor on Interreligious Affairs at ADL (Anti-Defamation League). From 2002-2014, he held the Crown-Ryan Chair of Jewish Studies at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He has also served as Senior Advisor on Interreligious Affairs to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
From 1998-2001, he was the Jewish Scholar at the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies in Baltimore. There, he directed the National Jewish Scholars Project, a major initiative to promote a new discussion within the Jewish community and between Jews and Christians about the differences and similarities between the two traditions. Rabbi Sandmel coordinated the publication of “Dabru Emet: A Jewish Statement on Christians and Christianity,” a groundbreaking event that generated international attention in the interfaith community and wide media coverage.
Rabbi Sandmel has also been involved in Jewish-Muslim dialogue and in the tri-lateral dialogue between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. At the Catholic Theological Union, he team-taught a course on three traditions and led interfaith study trips to Israel and the Palestinian territories. He served on the steering committee of In Good Faith, a CTU sponsored tri-lateral dialogue involving the wider community. He has participated in the World Forum for Peace in Muslim Societies in Abu Dhabi and is a founder member of IJMA – the Inter Jewish Muslim Alliance.
Rabbi Sandmel is the founding rabbi of Congregation Bet Ha’am in Portland, Maine and has served congregations in Cleveland and Chicago.
Rabbi Sandmel lectures and publishes widely on contemporary issues in Jewish-Christian relations, Jewish-Muslim relations, religion in contemporary society, and the foundations of Judaism and Christianity in antiquity. He contributed the commentary on First Thessalonians to the Jewish Annotated New Testament (Oxford University Press, 2011, second edition 2017). He is the co-editor of Christianity in Jewish Terms (Westview, 2000), to which he has also contributed an essay. In addition, he is the lead editor of Irreconcilable Differences? A Learning Resource for Jews and Christians (Westview Press, 2001), a study and discussion guide that focuses on core theological issues on the boundary between Judaism and Christianity.
Rabbi Sandmel completed his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania where he studied the history and literature of Judaism and Christianity in the Greco-Roman world. He received his BA with honors from the Ohio State University and was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati.
Rabbi Sandmel will receive the Eternal Light Award this fall at a public event in Tampa Bay. The event will also mark the 25th anniversary of the Saint Leo University Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies.