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Tikvah Institute for High School Students

June 26, 2016—July 7, 2016

Program Overview

Designed for current juniors and seniors, the Tikvah Summer Institute for High School Students at Yale University will explore the big questions that face Jews, Americans, and societies everywhere — including the future of freedom and democracy, the spirit of modern economic life, the moral challenges of technology, and the relationship between men and women. University-style seminars will be taught by leading academic, political, and religious scholars, drawing upon the riches of the Western and Jewish tradition to consider some of the great dilemmas of the modern age.

The institute is sponsored and subsidized by the Tikvah Fund, an educational institute and think tank based in New York and Jerusalem. All programming will be conducted in accord with halakhic standards of behavior. Prayer services and strictly kosher meals will take place in the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale.

The tuition fee for the 2016 institute is $875, which covers books, materials, and all food costs. All other expenses, including boarding costs, instructional costs, and activities, are fully subsidized by the Tikvah Fund. Full and partial need-based tuition scholarships are available by application.


Core Topics

Politics & Zionism
Square.Politics & Zionism
What does it mean to be a citizen? What’s the purpose of government – in the West and in Israel? What are liberals and conservatives arguing about? What are the virtues—and dangers—of democracy? How does religion impact the character of the Jewish state? We will investigate the possible answers to the core questions of self-government and the roots of our current political debates with Matthew Continetti, editor-in-chief of The Washington Free Beacon. Dr. Daniel Rynhold of Yeshiva University will lead an in-depth study of modern Zionism and Jewish perspectives on the intersection of politics and religion.


Square.EconomicsWhat is the meaning of economic life? How is wealth created? What are the moral dimensions of capitalism? Is it really preferable, ethically and economically, to alternative systems? How should we think about inequality? How should we think about material prosperity and its role in human flourishing? What about the virtues of work and the necessity of rest? Should we fear the profit motive or embrace it? Dr. James Otteson, professor of Political Economy at Wake Forest University, will introduce the major dilemmas of economic theory and practice from a moral and philosophical perspective. Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman, rosh yeshiva at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, will explore how these ideas relate to the Jewish tradition and the condition of modern Jewry.


Square.TechnologyOur phones and tablets have made us quicker and often more productive, but are we better for it? We communicate constantly, but are we really more connected with each other? Professor R.J. Snell of Eastern University will examine the impact of technology on the human condition, exploring how the richness of our personal relationships and the nature of human aspiration have been affected by technological change. Dr. Daniel Mark of Villanova University will explore how traditional Jewish teachings offer the modern Jew guidance in negotiating technological progress.


Marriage & Family
Square.Marriage & FamilyMarriage, family life, and the importance of parents in raising children are values in crisis. But what do great works of philosophy and literature have to say about these values? What do teachings of the Jewish tradition have to say, and is there a way to advance these ideas and commitments in a modern society? Sherif Girgis of the Witherspoon Institute will explore literary and philosophical arguments about the meaning of the family, as well as the facts and trends that show us how the institution of the family is truly faring in modern times. Mali Brofsky of Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim will examine Jewish views on men, women, and children and how tradition can strengthen family life for generations ahead.


The institute will also feature special sessions on The Jewish Citizen, involving close study and vigorous debate on pressing moral and political challenges facing Jews in the modern era. Each discussion will conclude with a vote, during which students will take a concrete policy-position regarding hot-button contemporary concerns such as the status of Israeli settlements, the cost of Jewish education, and the Jewish partnership with American evangelical Christians.

Evening lectures and panel discussions will explore a variety of themes related to the core curriculum, while giving students opportunities to learn from faculty members and visiting high-profile lecturers and panelists. Participants will be invited to submit brief written reflections on the course materials and offerings throughout the program.


Application Information

Applications are now closed. For more information write info@tikvahsummer.org.