Our Faculty

The Tikvah Scholars Program is anchored by a world-class faculty, selected for its breadth of scholarship and passion for seminar-style teaching. Under the leadership of our dean, Rabbi Mark Gottlieb, our faculty is comprised of leading college professors, rabbis, journalists, public intellectuals, and key policy figures. Below, please find a listing of our summer 2021 faculty members.

Dr. Harry Ballan

Harry Ballan is Senior Director of the Tikvah Fund and Founding Dean of both the Tikvah Online Academy and the Abraham Lincoln Teachers Fellowship. Dr. Ballan holds a BA, MA, MPhil, and PhD from Yale University and a JD from Columbia Law School. He clerked for Chief Judge Wilfred Feinberg of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and was for many years a Partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, a leading international law firm where he is currently Senior Counsel. He has taught at several leading universities on subjects ranging from law and intellectual history to neuroscience, and was Dean of Touro Law School before joining Tikvah.

Rabbi Shlomo Brody

Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Brody is the co-dean of Tikvah Online Academy and founding director of the Tikvah Overseas Student Institute. A columnist for The Jerusalem Post since 2007, Brody previously served for a decade as a senior instructor at Yeshivat Hakotel and as a junior research fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute. Brody’s writings focus on making Jewish texts accessible to broader audiences while applying them to contemporary social and ethical dilemmas. His work has appeared in Mosaic, First Things, The Federalist, Tablet, Tzohar, The Forward, Hakirah, and other popular publications, and has been cited in Israeli Supreme Court decisions. His first book, A Guide to the Complex: Contemporary Halakhic Debates (Maggid), received a 2014 National Jewish Book Award. A summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College, he received rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, an MA in Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University, and his PhD from Bar Ilan University Law School, where he continues to serve as a post-doctoral fellow. Originally from Houston, Texas, Rabbi Brody now lives in Modi’in with his wife, Rocky, and five children.

Rabbi Yakov Danishefsky

Yakov Danishefsky is a licensed clinical social worker, specializing in trauma, sex-addiction, couples-therapy, and other life-adjustment challenges. He is also a speaker and educator for various Jewish organizations, blending spirituality, philosophy, and psychology. As both a therapist and teacher, Yakov is warm and personable, as well as direct and depth-oriented. He earned semicha and a masters in Jewish philosophy from Yeshiva University, completed his masters in social work from Walden University, and was a member of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. Yakov recently began a private practice, Mind Body Therapy(www.mindbodychicago. com), and he lives in Chicago with his wife and four children.

Dr. Sherif Girgis

Sherif Girgis is an associate professor of law at Notre Dame. He is completing a doctorate in philosophy at Princeton and just finished working as an appellate litigator at Jones Day in Washington, D.C., where he went following his law clerkships for Justice Samuel Alito, Jr., of the U.S. Supreme Court. Sherif earned his juris doctorate at Yale Law School, his master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Princeton, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude in 2008. Sherif is co-author of What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, cited by Justice Alito in United States v. Windsor, and Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination, released by Oxford University Press in 2017. He has also spoken at more than 100 conferences and debates and written on moral and legal issues in academic and popular venues including the Yale Law Journal, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, the American Journal of Jurisprudence, the Cambridge Companion to Philosophy of Law, Public Discourse, National Review, Commonweal, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

Rabbi Mark Gottlieb

Rabbi Mark Gottlieb is Senior Director of the Tikvah Fund and founding Dean of the Tikvah Institute for High School Students at Yale University. Prior to joining Tikvah, Rabbi Gottlieb served as Head of School at Yeshiva University High School for Boys and Principal of the Maimonides School in Brookline, MA, and has taught at The Frisch School, Ida Crown Jewish Academy, Hebrew Theological College, Loyola University in Chicago, and the University of Chicago. He received his BA from Yeshiva College, rabbinical ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, and an MA in Philosophy from the University of Chicago, where his doctoral studies focused on the moral and political thought of Alasdair MacIntyre. Rabbi Gottlieb is a member of the Orthodox Forum Steering Committee and serves on the Editorial Committee of Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought. He lives in Teaneck, NJ, with his wife and family.

Dr. Jacob Howland

Jacob Howland is McFarlin Professor of Philosophy (emeritus) at the University of Tulsa. He earned a BA from Swarthmore College and a PhD from Penn State. His research focuses on ancient Greek philosophy, history, epic, and tragedy; the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud; Kierkegaard; and literary and philosophical responses to the Holocaust and Soviet totalitarianism. His most recent book is Glaucon’s Fate: History, Myth, and Character in Plato’s Republic (Paul Dry, 2018). His other books include Plato and the Talmud (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and Kierkegaard and Socrates: A Study in Philosophy and Faith (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

Dr. Rita Koganzon

Rita Koganzon is the associate director of the Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy and assistant professor in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. She is a political theorist specializing in the history of political thought. Her research focuses on the themes of childhood, education, and the family in political thought. She is the author of Liberal States, Authoritarian Families, a study of the family and education in the thought of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, and has published widely on the family and education. She received her PhD in government from Harvard University, and her BA in history from the University of Chicago.

Dr. Hugh Liebert

Dr. Hugh Liebert is an associate professor of American politics in the Department of Social Sciences at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, where he teaches courses in political philosophy, American politics, and civil-military relations. He also serves as director of West Point’s Graduate Scholarship Program. Liebert is the author or editor of six books, including Plutarch’s Politics: Between City and Empire. He holds a PhD and MA from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and a BA from Harvard University.

Mr. Aaron MacLean

Aaron MacLean is the director for policy at The Paul E. Singer Foundation. A combat Marine veteran, he was educated at St. John’s College, Annapolis, and Balliol College, Oxford. He served as an infantry officer in Afghanistan, and his final assignment in the Marine Corps was teaching English literature at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was the 2013 recipient of the Apgar Award for excellence in teaching. From 2014 to 2017, Aaron was the managing editor of The Washington Free Beacon. He has been a NextGen National Security Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a Marshall Scholar, and a Boren Scholar. He lives in Virginia, where he was born.

Dr. James Otteson

James R. Otteson is John T. Ryan Jr. professor of business ethics and Rex and Alice E. Martin faculty director of the Notre Dame Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. He received his BA from the University of Notre Dame and his PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago. Prior to Notre Dame, he taught at Wake Forest University, Yeshiva University, NYU, and Georgetown. He specializes in business ethics, political economy, the history of economic thought, and eighteenth-century moral philosophy. His books include Adam Smith’s Marketplace of Life (Cambridge, 2002), Actual Ethics (Cambridge, 2006), Adam Smith (Bloomsbury, 2013), The End of Socialism (Cambridge, 2014), The Essential Adam Smith (Fraser Institute, 2018), Honorable Business (Oxford, 2019), and The Essential David Hume (Fraser Institute, 2021). His most recent book is Seven Deadly Economic Sins (Cambridge, 2021). His next book is The Ethics of Wealth Redistribution (with Steven McMullen; Routledge, forthcoming in 2022).

Dr. Daniel Polisar

Daniel Polisar is the co-founder and executive vice president of Shalem College in Jerusalem, Israel’s first liberal arts college. He previously served as the president of the Shalem Center from 2002-2013 and also as its director of research, academic director, and editor-in-chief of its journal, Azure. From 2006 to 2009, he served as the founding chairman, within the Office of the Israeli Prime Minister, of the National Council for the Commemoration of the Legacy of Theodor Herzl. Dr. Polisar received his BA in politics from Princeton University and his PhD in government from Harvard University, where he was the recipient of Truman and Fulbright scholarships, as well as of a Mellon Fellowship. His research interests include Zionist history and thought, Israeli constitutional development, and the history and philosophy of higher education.

Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin

Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin serves as the president of the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty and is also a resident research fellow at the Tikvah Fund. He received his PhD in history from the CUNY Graduate Center, held postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton University and Yeshiva University, and taught at both CUNY and Princeton. He is also a Chaplain in the Army National Guard with the rank of Major. Rabbi Rocklin has served as a member of the Rabbinical Council of America’s Executive Committee and Military Chaplaincy Committee, and as a congregational rabbi in Connecticut. His writings have appeared in a number of publications, including The Los Angeles Times, National Review Online, The Daily Wire, The Forward, The Public Discourse, and Mosaic.

Dr. R.J. Snell

R.J. Snell is the director of academic programs at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, NJ, editor-in-chief of The Public Discourse, and occasional visiting instructor at Princeton University. He earned his MA in philosophy at Boston College, and his PhD in philosophy at Marquette University. Research interests include the liberal arts, ethics, natural law theory, Thomas Aquinas, the Catholic intellectual tradition, and the work of Bernard Lonergan, SJ. He is the author of Through a Glass Darkly: Bernard Lonergan and Richard Rorty on Knowing without a God’s-eye View (Marquette, 2006); Authentic Cosmopolitanism (with Steve Cone, Pickwick, 2013); The Perspective of Love: Natural Law in a New Mode (Pickwick, 2014); Acedia and Its Discontents (Angelico, 2015); and co-editor of Subjectivity: Ancient and Modern and Nature: Ancient and Modern, as well as articles, chapters, and essays in a variety of scholarly and popular venues. He and his family reside in the Princeton area.

Dr. Jenna Storey

Jenna Silber Storey is an assistant professor in Politics and International Affairs at Furman University, executive director of Furman’s Tocqueville Program, and a board member of Veritas Preparatory School in Greenville, SC, where her three children are currently studying. In 2018- 2019 she won the Silas N. Pearman award for teaching in Furman’s first-year Engaged Living Program. Dr. Storey received her PhD from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, and her BA from the University Professors Program at Boston University. Her work has appeared in edited volumes as well as in Perspectives on Political Science, The Washington Post, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, First Things, realclearbooks.com, The New Atlantis, VoeglinView, and The Boston Globe. She co-authored a book with her husband, Benjamin Storey, Why We are Restless: On the Modern Quest for Contentment, which was published by Princeton University Press in 2021.

Dr. Flagg Taylor

Flagg Taylor is an associate professor of political science at Skidmore College and the director of the Periclean Honors Forum. His teaching ranges widely in the history of political philosophy. His scholarship has focused on totalitarianism and dissent, liberalism, and executive power. Taylor is editor most recently of The Long Night of the Watchman: Essays by Václav Benda, 1977-1989 (St. Augustine’s Press, 2018), and is currently writing a book on Czech dissent in the 1970s and 1980s. He serves on the academic council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Taylor is the host of Enduring Interest, a podcast on important yet neglected or forgotten books and essays.

Ms. Sarah Wapner

Sarah Wapner is the impact and recruitment officer at the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought of Yeshiva University. A native of Toronto, Sarah received her undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto, where she majored in political science and Jewish studies. Sarah is an alumna of summer fellowships at the Tikvah Fund, the Hertog Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute, and she served as a consultant for Tikvah’s College Division. Sarah is a graduate of the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators and she is a member of the Tikvah Young Professionals Policy Forum.

Dr. Jonathan Yudelman

Jonathan Yudelman is currently a Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Research Associate at the James Madison Program at Princeton University, and in 2021-2022 will be a postdoctoral fellow at the Program on Constitutional Government, Harvard University. His main area of research is ancient and modern political theory and the early modern origins of liberalism. He earned a PhD from Boston College in political science, and holds an MA in philosophy and a BA in Jewish thought, both from the Hebrew University. He has written on cultural, political, and religious issues in the American Mind, Azure, City Journal, First Things, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and other publications.

Each of our master teachers brings a unique and passionate vision to his or her work. We hope to provide students with faculty who are more than just teachers; students get to meet with teachers in informal settings such as meals and during free-time to learn from the faculty as citizens and role models.

Contact Us