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New York City

Tikvah Advanced Institutes

Applications Now Closed
Stipend Range: $1,000 - $5,000
Explore the Fall 2013 Advanced Institutes

The Tikvah Advanced Institutes aim to provide accomplished professionals from around the globe the opportunity to study big ideas, great texts, and current issues with some of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners. Institute Participants will receive a generous stipend that will cover living expenses in New York City during their time there.

The Israeli Economy: A Strategy for the Future

April 28, 2014 – May 2, 2014

Instructors: Dan Senor and Ohad Reifen

This course will examine the various dimensions of the modern Israeli economy, with a view to defining a strategy for promoting economic growth, strengthening the social fabric, and sustaining Israeli power and Jewish sovereignty. Led by prominent public intellectual, investor, and Start-Up Nation author Dan Senor and SUN Institute policy director and former Israeli budget department official Ohad Reifen, this course will explore both a series of fiscal policy ideas, as well as the sources of Israeli entrepreneurship. It will include discussions with prominent Israeli political leaders and high-tech entrepreneurs, looking back and looking ahead at how economic vitality can help sustain the Zionist project.

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Liberalism, Conservatism, and the Jews

May 12, 2014 – May 23, 2014

Instructors: Peter Berkowitz, Yuval Levin, Meir Soloveichik, William Kristol, and William Galston

Most Jews have strong political beliefs—about the role of government, the uses of power, the meaning of social justice, and the proper place of religion in public life. But what, if anything, do these varying beliefs have to do with Judaism? Should Jewish politics be governed by what Judaism teaches, or by what is best for the Jews? In contemporary political life, should Jews be liberals or conservatives? This seminar will explore these questions as a problem of political philosophy, drawing on both the foundational texts and ideas of modern liberalism and conservatism and the Jewish writings, classical and modern, that suggest a uniquely Jewish political persuasion.

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The Jewish Idea of God

May 27, 2014 – June 1, 2014

Instructors: Micah Goodman and Clifford Orwin

If ideas have something like gravitational force, then the idea of God is as powerful and massive an idea as any. A change in one’s notion of the divine shapes and re-shapes the other ideas that govern our lives—ideas about power, freedom, time, meaning, and politics, just to name a few. This seminar will explore how the Jewish idea of God has affected the way we think about the human condition. Drawing on select texts from Genesis, Deuteronomy, Ecclesiastes, and Plato, we will ask big moral and political questions: Do biblical ideas promote a restless, active politics aimed at bringing the divine plan to fruition in history, or a moderate and humble political philosophy that understands the limits of human agency? What is the relationship between God, man, and nature? How does the idea of the Messiah alter the fundamental tenets of Jewish theology? Should the messianic age be understood as an escape from a world dominated by politics or a completion and perfection of such a world?

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War and Human Nature

June 9, 2014 – June 20, 2014

Instructors: Frederick W. Kagan, Barry Strauss, Eric Edelman, Charles Hill, and Stephen Rosen

This course will explore the place of war in human life from a variety of angles: what drives men to fight; what makes war moral or immoral; how soldiers and civilians live with the specter of killing and dying; what war means for statesmen and generals, for ordinary soldiers and passionate revolutionaries, for wives and children. Drawing on a mix of classical texts, war histories, and modern studies of warfare, the seminar will explore the ways in which statesman and strategists think about the deeper human questions, and how our moral ideas about the meaning of war shape different war strategies. We will also look at what the new sciences of man—especially evolutionary biology and neuroscience—may teach us about the place of war in human life; and how new technologies—especially weapons of mass destruction and the use of drones—are shaping and re-shaping the human meaning of war, for better and perhaps, tragically, for much, much worse.

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The Future of the Family

July 7, 2014 – July 18, 2014

Instructors: Eric Cohen, Gilbert Meilaender, Dara Horn, Meir Soloveichik, W. Bradford Wilcox, Jack Wertheimer, Ryan Anderson, and Jonathan Last

This seminar will examine the state of the family in modern society and the idea of the family as explored in some of the great theological, philosophical and literary texts of the Judeo-Christian West—from the Hebrew Bible, to Plato and Shakespeare, to Tolstoy and Sholem Aleichem, to Simone de Beauvoir and Joseph Soloveitchik. We will explore the big arguments about the meaning of the family, as well as the facts and trends that show us how the institution of the family is truly faring in modern times. And we will look at a range of concrete reform ideas—both cultural and political—that aim to strengthen family life for the generations ahead.

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Is Judaism a Religion?

July 28, 2014 – August 1, 2014

Instructor: Leora Batnitzky

From the eighteenth century onward, modern Jewish thinkers have been concerned with the question of whether or not Judaism can fit into the modern category of religion. After all, Judaism has historically been a religion of law, and hence of practice. Adherence to religious law, which is in some measure public in nature, does not seem to fit into the category of faith or belief, which by definition is individual and private. In this advanced institute we will see that the clash between the modern category of religion and Judaism as it has been traditionally practiced gives rise to many of the creative tensions in modern Jewish thought as well as to the question of whether Judaism or Jewishness are matters of religion, culture, or nationality.

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Jews, Power, and the Bible

July 28, 2014 – August 1, 2014

Instructor: Micah Goodman

Dr. Goodman, Israeli author of bestsellers on the thought of Moses Maimonides and Judah Halevi and founder of Ein Prat Academy, will focus on prominent biblical texts that address the challenges of power and sovereignty. The story of the Jewish people in the 20th century is a movement from persecution and powerlessness to sovereignty and power. The story of biblical Israel also sees a powerless people gaining land and negotiating political power’s promise and peril. On the hypothesis that the history of modern Zionism mirrors biblical history, this institute seeks to illuminate Zionist thought through the biblical lens.

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Reason, Revelation, and Jewish Thought

July 28, 2014 – August 1, 2014

Instructor: Moshe Halbertal

Is reason a sovereign authority in the realms of morality and metaphysics? Led by the prominent philosopher Moshe Halbertal, this institute will explore this question through Biblical, Rabbinic, and Medieval Jewish texts. Is there recognition of independent moral obligation outside of revelation within Jewish tradition? What role do value judgments have in the interpretive process and in the development of Jewish law, generally? What role does Jewish philosophy assign to reason in shaping and orienting faith? This last issue will be dealt with by reading Maimonides’ Guide, and the controversy that evolved around Maimonides positions. 

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Divine Justice and Human Creativity in Jewish Literature

August 3, 2014 – August 8, 2014

Instructor: Dara Horn

In the biblical Book of Job, Job’s challenge to God—“Why do people suffer undeservedly?”—is oddly answered with God’s challenge to Job: “Why aren’t you as creative as I am?” This advanced institute will address these twinned questions—the dilemma of divine justice and the related dilemma of human limits—through the lens of both ancient and modern Jewish literature.

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Zionist Statesmanship: Ben-Gurion and Begin

August 3, 2014 – August 8, 2014

Instructor: Daniel Gordis

Can one speak meaningfully of a distinct craft of “Zionist Statesmanship”? Of what might such a craft be constructed, and on what issues would it hinge? One way of examining this set of questions is to look at the lives of David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin, bitter archrivals who – though each played a pivotal role in the creation of the State of Israel and eventually served as Prime Minister – had profoundly different views on the Jewish use of power, the place of Jewish text and tradition in the formation of Jewish policy, and the degrees to which Jewish statesmanship ought to be rooted in the past as opposed to focused on achieving a better future.

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The Rabbinic Mind and Divine Law

August 3, 2014 – August 8, 2014

Instructor: Christine Hayes

What does it mean to say that a text is divine and the norms it teaches are divine? Attributing divinity to a normative system or law would appear to establish its authority and justify our fidelity to it, but how and why does it do so? What traits do we suppose a law possesses when we refer to it as divine and why do we suppose that those traits will establish its authority and justify our fidelity?

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Who Should Apply?

The Tikvah Advanced Institutes are aimed at men and women who wish to influence the intellectual, religious, and political life of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.

Applicants may include those pursuing study or careers in:

  • US or Israeli public policy, including national security and economics
  • The rabbinate
  • Academia
  • Journalism
  • Jewish Education
  • Jewish communal leadership
  • Law & Business

Fall 2013 Participant Bios