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Right, Left, and the Jews: The Torah Community and the Future of American Politics

A Tikvah Institute for Yeshiva Men | New York City | August 15-August 18, 2016 / 11 Av-14 Av 5776

Program Overview

About the Program

The Tikvah Institute for Yeshiva Men is a four-day summer learning experience, geared to talmidim of the North American Yeshiva world interested in exploring the relationship of Torah Jewry to the greatest political questions of our time and to the challenges that traditional Jewish men and women face in contemporary American society.

The program will commence with a welcome dinner on Monday, August 15, and meet from August 16th to August 18th (12-14 Av) at the Tikvah Fund headquarters in New York City.  The institute is fully subsidized, including tuition, travel expenses, books, activities, and a learning stipend.

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the online blog Cross Currents, will be the program dean. Tikvah’s Executive Director, Eric Cohen, will serve as the anchor faculty member throughout the institute. Additional speakers will include Rabbi Ahron Lopiansky of the Yeshiva of Greater Washington – Tiferes Gedaliah; philosopher and Princeton professor Robert P. George; Rabbi Aaron Kotler, the CEO of Beth Medrash Govoha; and political analyst and editor William Kristol.

The seminars will explore a range of topics, moving from fundamental questions of moral and political thought to concrete issues of communal and public policy in America. Sessions will include:


Economics & The Torah

Which social policies best serve communities of faith? Does there exist a uniquely Jewish understanding of wealth, industry, and property? This unit will explore the moral dimension of economics, including the effects of different public policies on the wealthy and the poor, the young and the old, the family and the community. There will also be a focus on the moral meaning of wealth within the modern Jewish community. Rabbi Ahron Lopiansky will present a comprehensive Torah-based perspective on questions of justice and the common good, focusing especially on economic theory.

The Jewish Family

The modern, progressive vision of marriage is not like the consecrated union of husband and wife that has sustained the Jewish family for so many generations.  How can religious Jews continue to sustain their families in a social and political world that undermines the Jewish ideal? How should the Torah community approach feminism, the redefinition of marriage, and a shift away from the importance and authority of the family in modern life? Instead, what would a Jewish pro-family agenda look like in modern America? Discussions will include careful analysis of Jewish texts and the work of leading thinkers in social policy, with an eye toward understanding the changing realities of American family life and the various Jewish responses for those who seek to sustain Torah values.

National Security

The civilized nations of the world face great threats in the age of ISIS and Iran, radical Islam and authoritarian Russia, violent terrorism and political intimidation. The Jewish people – in Europe, in the United States, and in Israel –  are often on the front lines of the great struggles of our age. A resurgent anti-Semitism threatens Jewish communal life in Europe, and Israel’s most committed enemies are now on the path toward nuclear weapons. What responsibility do American Jews bear in strengthening American leadership abroad and the U.S.-Israel relationship?  What is the Jewish understanding of power and statecraft? How should Jews defend their lives, their land, and their place in the world?

The Future of Jewish Education

Providing children with a strong Torah education is critical to perpetuating Judaism. But how can American Jewish day schools grow, or even stay viable, with crippling costs? Should Jews join the movement to secure public funds to help finance religious schools? And what types of learning are best suited to educating committed Torah Jews and future Jewish leaders in modern American society?


Email info@tikvahyeshiva.org with any questions.

Photo Credit (Image with President Reagan): Chabad.org