Instructors: Meir Soloveichik and Robert Nicholson
Stipend: $1,000 (NYC area residents); $2,000 (Domestic US); $3,000 (International)
This institute is offered in partnership with The Philos Project
American life has been shaped by Christians and Jews from its founding. Christian faith and Christian ideals have always been central to America’s cultural and civic identity, including the Hebraic idea of founding a new and exceptional nation. And even in our secular age, Christianity still permeates our ideas of freedom and responsibility, our understanding of religion and democracy, and even some government policy. For the most part, Jews have flourished in this largely Christian society; and while dislike and distrust of Jews has surely not been absent from some sectors of American Christianity, especially in eras past, American Jews have benefited greatly from Christian tolerance and Christian friendship.
When it comes to modern Israel, Christians have emerged as passionate allies of the Jewish people, seeing American support for the Jewish state as both a religious ideal and a political responsibility. Christian Zionism has flourished, rooted in a mix of admiration for the Jewish achievement of re-founding the Zionist State and in Christianity’s theological reckoning with its anti-Jewish past and its own redemptive hopes for the future. But there is also a growing sector of American Christians whose Zionism is more in question, and whose attachment to the Jewish state is less firm.
This advanced institute will examine the Jewish-Christian relationship in America from a variety of angles: In a time of social breakdown and political dysfunction, what is the state of the Jewish-Christian alliance in America? What can be done to strengthen and deepen this moral and political alliance, while still respecting the permanent theological differences between faithful Jews and Christians? How do different sectors within American Christianity approach the Jewish people and the State of Israel, and how do different sectors of the Jewish community look upon American Christians? How can Jews and Christians rely on and learn from one another as traditionalist allies in a secular age?
In this advanced institute, theologian Rabbi Meir Soloveichik and Philos Project executive director Robert Nicholson will help us understand the history of Jewish-Christian relations in the United States, so that we can better understand the various dimensions of the contemporary Jewish-Christian relationship—moral, theological, cultural, and political. On which issues should Jews and Christians approach one another as friends and allies? In what ways will Christians and Jews forever be strangers? And does the current moment—defined by the twin threats of postmodern secularism and radical Islam—mark a new era in the Jewish-Christian relationship?
Alumni of the Tikvah Advanced Institutes are not eligible to apply for the Fall 2016 institutes, but may ask to audit.