History – Challenge Program

History – Challenge Program

In 1960 two religious leaders began a journey to understand and know one another. One was a Rabbi and one a Roman Catholic Priest. Rabbi Raphael Levine, serving Temple De Hirsh Sinai, and Father William Treacy, serving the Archdiocese of Seattle, began a warm friendship that enabled them to see each other as a part of one extended human family, breaking town walls of misunderstanding and separation between religious faiths.

Recognizing and acknowledging that the grace of their encounter with each other was not outside of their spiritual traditions but rather was at the heart of those traditions, they realized that their own faith communities would benefit from interacting with members of different faiths. They came to believe that our whole society would benefit from witnessing faith leaders engaging each other with deep respect, warmth and curiosity. On KOMO TV they began a series of Sunday evening conversations called Challenge that started in 1960 and ran weekly for fourteen years, discussing the issues of the day from the perspective of different faith traditions.  The catalyst for Challenge began in response to Rabbi Levine’s concern about the anti-Catholic sentiment that was expressed during the election of John F Kennedy.

They produced 26 shows for 14 years. You can see several of their shows on our YouTube channel. These shows, while using some language we no longer use, hold up remarkably well in terms of thoughtfulness about challenging issues.

In 2017 Jeff Renner organized the production of a pilot of Challenge 2.0. We had planned to produce six to eight episodes per year. Then Weigel Communications, looking to fulfil the spirit of working in the public good, contacted John Sharife of Seattle Community Colleges Television and asked about any shows being produced. We entered into an agreement with Weigel and SCCTV to produce twenty-six shows per year. Jeff Renner, Emmy Award winning meteorologist and journalist from KING 5 News serves as the show’s producer and host.

Challenge 2.0 can be viewed on this website or our YouTube channel.