Tikvah Institute For Yeshiva Men – Second Season

We are excited to announce that applications are now being accepted for this summer’s Tikvah Institute for Yeshiva Men.

Buoyed by a dream last year, we launched a program aimed at some of the best and brightest of the yeshiva world. We were not sure at first whether we would find enough applicants to make the Tikvah Institute worth running. Our optimism paid off, BH. We were swamped with applicants, and acceptance became quite competitive.

It was a diverse bunch when measured by age, geography, learning background, and prior exposure to secular disciplines. What participants shared proved more important. All had spent serious time learning in yeshivos and identified with the yeshiva world. All were bright and intellectually curious. Most importantly for the objectives of the program, all shared the conviction that the Torah speaks to the broader concerns of communities and nations, both Jewish and non-Jewish. While the ordinary avodah of the yeshivah man must focus on mastering more Shas and poskim, applicants looked to bein hazmanim to explore elements of Torah that broaden the mind and prepare one for a life of potential leadership within the Torah community.

We’re ready for the second iteration of the program, and it is even more exciting than last year’s hugely successful (as measured by participant feedback) debut – largely through the creativity of my colleague, Rabbi Mark Gottlieb.

Part of the mission of the Tikvah Fund is ensuring that some of the key traditional political and economic values that make nations great will live on in the next generation. Tikvah recognized that there is a natural affinity for these values in the Orthodox community. That community does not always recognize the place of those values within the clash of ideas in general society, or the impact that dilution of those values would have on the Torah community, here and even in Israel. (We are talking core values here, not partisan politics.) The summer program seeks to equip talented bnei Torah with the conceptual background to advance those values, and the confidence in their rootedness in Torah hashkafah to want to do so.

Thus the multiple daily components of the program, about which more can be found on the website. Briefly, the week will provide historical and conceptual background to the great political and economic theories of modern society. This will come by way of quick immersion in key material, taught by world-class instructors. It will explore the Torah material in regard to these idea, and examine what the Torah expects the Torah Jew to do by way of advancing and sharing its positions. It will deal with the ways in which challenges to these ideas will impact on the Torah lifestyle in the short run, and what can and should be done to respond to those challenges.

There is more on the website. If a reader skipped all of the framework, he would still have to get excited by the faculty. The Torah side includes personalities that any knowledgeable ben Torah would be excited to be with: Rav Ahron Lopiansky, Rav Yitzchak Breitowitz, Rav Yirmiyahu Kagan, and Jonathan Rosenblum. (Pretty impressive how many colleagues from Cross-Currents and Klal Perspectives we managed to include, if I do say so myself!) A week – including a heimish Shabbos – spent interacting formally and informally with such Torah thinkers will leave a lasting impression.

The secular side includes A-list thinkers. Roger Scruton is nothing less than a philosopher of rock-star status, if you can excuse the oxymoronic description. William Kristol is not only one of the architects and bulldogs of contemporary conservative thought, but one of America’s most listened-to social commentators. Robert George is one of the most formidable intellectuals in America, period – as well as the thinker who has made talking about natural law (best known to yeshiva students through Daf alef (yes – look there!) amud beis of the Vilna Shas, Berachos) possible once more.

While the prospect of learning from and interacting with giants in their respective Torah and secular disciplines will sound exciting, even greater chizuk will come from spending a week with bright, motivated bnei Torah from other yeshivos and backgrounds.

Please spread the word. Help us identify potential candidates for the program (which includes all expenses, plus a stipend!). They will be grateful – and, in the long run, so will Klal Yisrael.

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5 Responses

  1. Moshe Shoshan says:

    IS there a program for women? If not, why not?

    [YA – Last year there was indeed a separate program for women that was very successful. Tikvah looks forward to resuming it next summer.]

  2. Bob Miller says:

    I’d hope that at some point, Jewish thought would be compared and contrasted on a deep level with both socialism and libertarianism.

    [YA – Guaranteed!]

  3. lawrence kaplan says:

    You got Roger Scruton! I am impressed.

    [YA – You should be. Come by and visit. We won’t be talking about Daas Torah 🙂 ]

  4. Jacob Suslovich says:

    Why can’t you publish articles or even books stating the positions taken at your conference so that those who are not “the best and brightest of the yeshiva world” can study these ideas? The Orthodox Forum has been ding that for years.

    [YA – Should I read this as an offer on your part to underwrite the costs of editing and publishing?]

  5. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    In response to Jacob Suslovich’s honest suggestion, how about crowd-funding?

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