How Identity Ages:
A panel discussion

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07:00 PM

How Identity Ages: A Panel Discussion

On Thursday October 10, Houston Grand Opera presents a panel discussion at the Holocaust Museum Houston about the impact of aging on our identity, spirituality and mental health.

HGOco’s Director, Carleen Graham, moderates the panel with Dr. Matthias Henze, Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism, Founding Director, Program in Jewish Studies Rice University, Dr. Robert Curt Peterson, Assistant Professor of psychiatry & behavioral sciences at Baylor College of Medicine and staff Psychologist at the Menninger Clinic, Juanita Rasmus, pastor at St. John’s United Methodist Church Downtown.

The Museum will be open for private viewing from 6-7pm.

  • Where: Albert and Ethel Herzstein Theater, Holocaust Museum Houston- 5401 Caroline Street Houston TX 77004
  • Date: Thursday October 10, 2019
  • Time: 7 pm-8:30 pm
  • Free but registration required: Register Here
  • Parking available on site for $8

This program is part of Houston Grand Opera’s Seeking the Human Spirit initiative, where we explore the theme of identity throughout the 2019-20 season in a series of community events.

Panelist Bios


Matthias Henze

Matthias Henze earned a Master of Divinity in Protestant Theology from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and moved to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. in Harvard’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. After completing his doctorate in 1997, Dr. Henze joined Rice’s department of religion, where he is now the Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism. His areas of interest include the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Jewish literature and thought at the time of the Second Temple, the history of biblical interpretation, apocalyptic literature, Syriac language and literature, and the Qumran fragments.

Dr. Henze has written and edited ten books and has published over fifty academic articles. His most recent book is Mind the Gap: How the Jewish Writings between the Old and New Testament Help Us Understand Jesus (Fortress Press, 2017). He is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha.

While at Rice Dr. Henze has won five teaching/mentoring awards, the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize (2003), the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching (2009, 2010, 2015), and the Graduate Student Association Teaching/Mentoring Award (2015). He was named a founding fellow of Rice’s Center for Teaching Excellence. In 2009 he founded Rice’s Program in Jewish Studies, of which he continues to serve as director.

Dr. Henze has finished over 30 marathons. He has run at least one marathon on each of the seven continents, including Antarctica.

Curt Peterson

Dr. Curt Peterson is a Staff Psychologist on the Professionals Program at The Menninger Clinic. Dr. Peterson treats high achieving adults who experience stressful lifespan adjustments. During his 20 years as a clinician, Dr. Peterson has assisted patients with their identity transitions as they develop and mature through life. Dr. Peterson’s research interests have centered around the relationships between adult developmental challenges and depression. And, more specifically, his areas of investigation include the development of clinical methods for integrating questions about spirituality during identity transitions. Dr. Peterson earned his doctorate at Temple University. He is a Licensed Psychologist in Texas, Georgia and Alabama and is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine.

Juanita Rasmus

Juanita Rasmus is a pastor, Spiritual Director, and contemplative with a passion for outreach to our world’s most impoverished citizens. Pastor Juanita co-pastors the St. John’s United Methodist Church located in Downtown Houston with her husband Rudy. In 2009, Juanita was diagnosed with kidney cancer, but she wasn’t afraid. Instead, she waited to see what lesson the disease would bring. In August 2010, The Art Project Houston (TAPH) was launched, emerging from Juanita’s recovery from cancer. TAPH is a therapeutic art program for the homeless, hungry, and transitioning community of Houston and those concerned about their plight. During her battle to recovery, Juanita rediscovered her identity as an artist and wanted to share with others how art became such a vital part of her healing journey. Her desire for the project is to help people express their creativity, thus empowering them through artistic endeavors.