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 fall/winter 2022.
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 capricious ties with American Jews warrant a focused orientation. 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?
Agnon: Days of Awe
Shmuel Yosef Agnon was one of the most beautiful and illuminating writers of the modern era. The only Hebrew language novelist to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, Agnon’s stories always touch profoundly on the agonies and the triumphs of the Jewish spirit. In this three session mini course, we will focus on four Agnon stories that explore the themes of the Jewish High Holiday season.
Philosophy and the Hebrew Bible
In this three session mini course, we will examine the philosophy at the heart of Tanakh. We will begin by exploring the origins of meaning in one’s life through the writings of King Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes. We will then continue with an exploration of revelation and rationality, both building blocks of Western Civilization. Finally, we will end with a discussion of the Tanakh’s understanding of nationalism, universalism, and particularism.
Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism: Exploring the Connection
In this three session mini course, we will explore what some have called "the new anti-Semitism." Is it correct to characterize activism against the modern state of Israel this way? We will begin by reading an essay by the Jewish hero Natan Sharansky on the legacy of Theodore Herzl and the continued relevance of his original vision. We will then look at the utopian error that can lead inexorably to a hatred of Jewish distinctiveness. Finally, we will turn directly to the question of anti-Zionism and read a careful analysis of the phenomenon through time.
Judaism and Modern Politics
In this three session mini course, we will examine contemporary politics from a Jewish perspective and Jewish approaches to our modern political challenges. We will explore the shortcomings of Jewish statecraft that have resulted from the long experience of powerlessness in the diaspora. We will analyze the threat to Jewish existence that comes from the waning of American religiosity. And we will end by looking at a critique of Jewish liberalism and a potential model for a Jewish conservatism.