In a series of eight enlightening and entertaining lectures, Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik explores the Jewish ideas that inspired America’s founding generation and helped make the United States such an exceptional home for the Jews.
Use our in-depth study guide to see original source material, put historical events in context, and probe each episode more deeply with thought-provoking discussion questions.
Meet Meir Soloveichik
Rabbi Dr. Meir Y. Soloveichik is director of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and the rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel, the oldest Jewish congregation in the United States. Prior to this, Soloveichik served as associate rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan. Rabbi Soloveichik has lectured throughout the United States, in Europe, and in Israel to both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences on topics relating to Jewish theology, bioethics, wartime ethics, and Jewish-Christian relations. His essays on these subjects have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Mosaic, Commentary, First Things, the Jewish Review of Books, Tradition, and the Torah U-Madda Journal. In August 2012, he gave the invocation at the opening session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. He is the son of Rabbi Eliyahu Soloveichik, grandson of the late Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik, and the great nephew of the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.
Rabbi Soloveichik traces the life of Jonas Phillips, a German Jew who came to America in 1756 as an indentured servant and became a dedicated patriot who fathered of one of America’s most important Jewish families.
The Yiddish Letter and the Declaration: The Incredible Story of Jonas Phillips, the First Truly American Jew | 55:15
What relation did the founding have to Judaism? Rabbi Soloveichik investigates the story surrounding the creation of the United States’ official seal and the committee convened to determine that what the seal would be.
America’s Passover: Franklin, Jefferson, and the Seal of the United States | 1:13:42
After George Washington’s inauguration, the divided Jewish communities of the new nation sent him three separate letters. His responses teach us a great deal about America's relationship with the Jewish people.
Continue to Water them with the Dews of Heaven | 1:15:23