Pat ReifThe annual Pat Reif Memorial Lectureship was created in 2002 in honor of Patricia A. Reif, IHM, PhD. A scholar, educator, and activist, Reif taught philosophy and chaired the graduate department in religious studies at Immaculate Heart College. In 1984 she founded the MA program in feminist spirituality at Immaculate Heart College Center. Active in many social justice issues, including domestic abuse, poverty, immigration, welfare rights, and the anti-nuclear movement, Reif co-founded the Interfaith Hunger Coalition and the Southern California Interfaith Task Force on Central America (SCITCA).

The funding of the Patricia A. Reif Memorial Lecture Fund is a joint effort of CGU, the Immaculate Heart Community, the Immaculate Heart College Alumnae Board, the Immaculate Heart College Center, the MSMC Religious Studies Department, and the MSMC Office of the Graduate Dean. The lecture fund is dedicated to advancing the ideals she represented.


21th Anniversary Pat Reif Memorial Lecture

“Are my Ancestors your Ancestors?”

Rabbi Mira Rivera, BCC

Join us for a special talk with Rabbi Mira Rivera, BCC. Rabbi Rivera is the first Filipina-American to earn an M.A. in Jewish Studies and receive rabbinical ordination at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.


‘My daughter Arielle Korman led me to a community where I could find renewal. She received a summer ministry fellowship to serve at a synagogue in New York City called Romemu. With violin on her back and on the wings of her song, she opened the door for me. She returned to college. I stayed. There I reunited with Dr. Renee Hill, a proud African-American woman with whom I had once linked arms on a Jewish holiday. We spoke about holding each other up as best practice in Jewish spaces. I watched her claim the treasure of Torah as fully hers. And we have stood since then. As co-founders of Harlem Havruta at St. Mary’s, the Be Not Afraid Church, we have built Sukkot booths and Passover tables, welcoming the stranger and the estranged. We have provided respite from interrogation in our places of worship. We walk with other faith leaders in Harlem, especially with Rev. Dr. Mary Foulke and her St. Mary’s community. In 2022 I was invited by the Jewish Community Center in Harlem a few blocks away to be their Rabbi-in-Residence and envision how we can support young Jewish families and uphold the aspirations of our neighbors in this historically black community. We aspire to be Beloved Community@JCC Harlem, not a moribund monolith but as partner neighbors in the original spirit of “beloved community” as imagined by theologian Josiah Royce’s, and later the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s.

Her achievements:

Rabbi Mira Rivera, BCC (Board Certified Chaplain) was born in Detroit, Michigan. She grew up in the Philippines under the care of her maternal grandmother. Rivera has studied in Varanasi, India, and taught meditation and yoga to women all over the world. She danced for the Martha Graham Dance Company under the artistic direction of Yuriko Kikuchi, toured in Actors’ Equity productions while earning a BFA in Film from Tisch School of the Arts of New York University. She taught dance to New York City public school youth with the National Dance Institute.  Currently she is Rabbi-in-Residence at JCC Harlem, Lunar Collective, and Edot: The Midwest Regional Jewish Diversity Collaborative.

Monday, October 16, 2023 | 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM PDT
Albrecht Auditorium and Live-streaming
Contact: Janice Poss, Pat Reif Memorial Lecture Coordinator, at for more information.

This event is free and open to the public.

ZOOM link to join meeting on Oct. 16 ONLY:

Past Speakers

  • (2022) Shannen Dee Williams,  University of Dayton, America’s Real Sister Act: The Hidden History of Black Catholic Nuns in the United States
  • (2021) Valarie Kaur, Revolutionary Love: Seeing No Stranger
  • (2020) Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Chicago Theological Seminary, The Information Apocalypse is Here: Our current technology rewards information that is false or misleading, corrupting thought and debasing society. How can we fight back?
  • (2019) Kim R. Harris, Loyola Marymount University, Welcome Table: Liturgical Justice Through Sacred Song
  • (2018) Kwok Pui Lan, Emory University, Metaphor, Moral Reasoning, and Women’s Protest Movements
  • (2017) María Pilar Aquino, University of San Diego, Feminist Theology: Overcoming Violence, Embodying Liberation
  • (2016) Ivy Nallammah Josiah, You Can’t Beat a Woman: Violence at Home and Violence by the State
  • (2015) Margaret Farley, Yale University Divinity School, Gender, Sexuality, and Ethics: New Perspectives
  • (2014) Lisa Isherwood, University of Wales
  • (2013) Amy-Jill Levine, Hartford International University for Religion & Peace
  • (2012) Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock, Saving Paradise: Moral Conscience, Beauty, and the Glory of Humanity
  • (2011) Mercy Amba Oduyoye, Trinity Theological Seminary, Ghana
  • (2010) Riffat Hassan, University of Louisville & Kebokile Dengu-Zvobgo, Pitzer College, A Praxis of Social Transformation: The Feminist Scholar as Activist
  • (2009) Ivone Gebara, the Brazilian Sister of Notre Dame, Happiness and the Construction of Right Relationship – A Feminist Perspective Feminism & Religious Identities
  • (2008) Venerable Dhammananda (Ven. Dr. Chatsumarn Kabilsingh), Path to Ordination of Women in Buddhism: Challenges and Opportunities
  • (2007) Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Harvard Divinity School, Scripture and Power: A Feminist Exploration
  • (2005) Musa Dube, University of Botswana, HIV + Feminism in the Global Aids Epidemic
  • (2004) Beverly Jean Wildung Harrison, Union Theological Seminary, New York
  • (2003) Chun Hyun Kyung, Union Theological Seminary, New York
  • (2002) Mary E. Hunt, WATER (Women’s Alliance for Theology and Ritual)

For more information contact Janice Poss, Pat Reif Memorial Lecture Coordinator, at