These are our core commitments.

Would you like to join us?

First: The Jews are an exceptional people; Jewish civilization is a treasure for the world; the Jewish state is a heroic achievement.

Second: American self-government—with its cherished principles of religious liberty, a free economy, and strong communities—is a precious inheritance.

Third: The rising generation of American Jews has a responsibility to enter the public arena—inspired by the great thinkers and statesmen of past ages—in order to defend our loftiest ideals and our enlightened interests.

Fourth: Mentors matter; young Jews need models of excellence in politics, education, journalism, religious leadership, law, and business.

The Tikvah-Beren Collegiate Forum is a community of select college students from across North America committed to the Jewish people and their flourishing, dedicated to the preservation of the American project, morally courageous in the face of ideological intolerance, and eager to pursue a serious liberal education. Our members can attend as many events as they like throughout the school year. Some are held in a digital classroom; some are in person. All are of the highest quality. Below you can read about the seminars and working groups that we are offering in winter/spring 2023.

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Current Members: Select Your Classes Here



Current Affairs Working Group: Israel and American Foreign Policy

Members of this working group will meet twice a month to discuss ideas, events, and policies that affect the US-Israel relationship. Landmark developments in Israel’s relationships with its Arab neighbors, turbulent electoral politics, the growing conservative movement in Israel, and unpredictable ties with American Jews warrant a focused investigation. How should Jews and American policymakers respond to these events? Can a uniquely Israeli conservative movement provide effective guidance?

Current Affairs Working Group: American Law and Culture

Members of this working group will meet twice a month to discuss legal and cultural shifts in America that are of immediate importance to the American Jewish community. The legal regime is evolving with regard to marriage, abortion, free speech, and other key facets of American citizenship. Recent Supreme Court rulings will have a major impact on the role of religion in public schools and in the public square more generally. How should Jews think about these decisions?

The Poets of Jewish Transformation: The Twentieth Century

In this three-session sequence, we will focus on three great modern Jewish poets, reading some of their verse as well as commentary by brilliant critics. We will begin with a study of the Zionist poetry of Rahel Bluwstein, whose work encapsulated the longing and despair of 20th-Century Jewry prior to the founding of the Jewish state. We will then continue by looking at Jacob Glatstein, whose poetry grappled with the paradox of Jewish suffering alongside Jewish chosenness. We will end with an examination of Natan Alterman, whose poetry opens a window into the opening years of the Jewish state.

Athens and Jerusalem Reconsidered: Philosophy and the Hebrew Bible

In this three-session sequence, we will explore how three political philosophers have brought Biblical texts into the broader western conversation about the good life and the good society. In time with the liturgical cycle of Torah readings and holidays, we will see how Leon Kass explicates the Ten Commandments, how Ronna Burger analyzes Moses as a political leader, and how Clifford Orwin discovers the political teachings of the Book of Esther.

All that the LORD has Spoken We Will Do: Philosophy and Jewish Law

In this three-session sequence, we will read and discuss three essays that analyze the laws of kashrut, Shabbat, and circumcision. In all three cases, the essayist discern universal teachings in the way that Jewish law has structured life for people that live by it. Our discussions will explore the contention that law can be a vehicle for infusing wisdom into the rhythm of life - and that this has been the unique genius of Jewish civilization.

How Fundamental is Religion to the American Character?

In this three-session sequence, we will examine the idea that religion is a fundamental part of the American character that must be protected for the good of the country. Should there be special protections for religious exercise in America? What stake, if any, do American citizens have in fostering strong religious communities even if they are not a part of them? We will read three outstanding essays that explore these questions from different angles.

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