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Great Debates in Politics and Policy
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Alumni Testimonials



My experience in the JMW seminar gave me an incredible opportunity to connect my political interests with a meaningful Jewish perspective. I’ve always had an interest in current events but felt a gap in how it connected to my religious life. Tikvah taught us how Jewish beliefs and values can shape a healthy society. We read great, thought-provoking literature that really opened my mind to current secular and religious philosophies. The open group discussions with my peers showed how every person has a unique way of looking at things and to respect those viewpoints. The Tikvah seminar really helped me take the spiritual growth I have acquired throughout the year and harness it into fundamental beliefs that will help shape my future.

– Reuben Hartman
WITS / Yeshivat Shalavim (Shana Bet) / YU

The Tikvah program was a perfect addition to my year in Israel. The program helped me contextualize many of the ideas I learned in yeshiva and understand how these ideas can engage with contemporary perspectives on politics and morality. In intellectual seminar discussions, I spoke about and debated hot topics with peers, enabling me to concretize and strengthen my beliefs as a Jew entering college. Looking back on the year, I sincerely appreciate the knowledge I gained through the provocative and influential literature that Rabbi Brody assigned for us. I am confident that the experience Tikvah afforded me will assist me in my future academic endeavors.

-Aiden Englander

DRS Yeshiva HS / Yeshivat Hakotel / Columbia University


Tikvah’s Jews, Morality and the West program was a highlight of my year! Through the informative reading material, in-depth seminar-style discussions, and diversity of participant opinions, the program helped me understand the interconnectedness between my religious, secular, and political values and prepared me to defend them in the future. The curriculum was selectively crafted to expose us to a variety of topics and perspectives. Rabbi Brody fostered an intellectual and comfortable environment for the participants to react to the readings and debate their practical applications. By joining Tikvah, I gained increased confidence, an incredible network of peers, and an expansive knowledge of politics and current events as they relate to Judaism. I highly recommend this extremely rewarding program!

-Serena Bane
Frisch School / Midreshet Lindenbaum / Barnard College


During my year in seminary, I immensely enjoyed taking a break from the beit midrash to connect politics and Judaism in a religious environment. As someone who is very interested in politics, it was great to learn about policy questions through a Jewish perspective. We read thought-provoking books like Jews and Power and Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination that brought up important religious questions that enhanced my Torah studies this year. We had lively debates led by Rabbi Brody that got to the heart of every book and always left me wanting to learn more. I am so thankful for the opportunity to make new friends while discussing captivating and relevant books.
– Abigail Lieber

Central High School / Tiferet / Hunter College


The Tikvah Overseas Students reading seminar provides an excellent opportunity for yeshiva students to deepen their grasp on societal trends impacting the Jewish community and broader society. The reading materials are fascinating and informative. Discussions, led by an experienced and engaging teacher, allow participants to express opinions, exchange ideas, and develop a sensitivity for the subtleties of the great debates in social thought. This intellectual stimulation combined with a reasonable sprinkling of friendly banter made Tikvah one of the highlights of my year in Israel.

– Moshe Gordon
Israel Henry Beren High School (Ner Yisrael) / KBY / YU

The Tikvah Israel program definitely enhanced my year of learning Torah and personal growth. The sessions with Rabbi Brody were always insightful and thought-provoking. These discussions allowed me to apply the ideas gained in yeshiva to issues facing the modern world. Tikvah has really strengthened my ability to see society through the lens of Torah and its eternal values.

– Coby Melkin
Berman Hebrew Academy / Yeshivat Hakotel (Shana Bet)/ University of Pennsylvania


The Tikvah program gave me the incredible opportunity to see how my Torah learning translated into the world at large. The atmosphere of collegiality set by Rabbi Brody allowed for open discussion and the diverse points of view provoked frank and lively discussions which are so crucial in applying the ideals of Judaism as we navigate a secular world. Important political concepts like liberty and rights were debated in a religious Torah framework. As I reflect on the program, I feel that it really enhanced my year-long learning of Torah and will guide me on my lifelong journey. I will take the ideas and friendships that I made and cherish them for years to come.

-Joshua Koegel

Rambam Mesivta / KBY / Macaulay Honors College

The Tikvah Overseas Student program was a critical part of my year in Israel. It provided an intellectual forum, outside of midrasha, to explore questions of morality, arguments for the liberal arts, and dilemmas related to social gaps. I consider these topics critical to discuss before entering college, where I will surely encounter them in both conversation and practice. Tikvah was a remarkable opportunity to supplement my midrasha studies and prepare me for my future educational experiences.

– Arianna Kigner
Frisch / Nishmat / University of Maryland




Avital Gold

Student and Operations Coordinator