• The Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought

  • Director and Staff

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    Director: Rabbi Dr. Meir Y. Soloveichik

    Rabbi Dr. Meir Y. Soloveichik is director of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and rabbi at Congregation Shearith Israel in Manhattan. He graduated summa cum laude from Yeshiva College, received his semikha from RIETS, and was a member of its Beren Kollel Elyon. In 2010, he received his doctorate in religion from Princeton University. Rabbi Soloveichik has lectured throughout the United States, in Europe, and in Israel to both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences on topics relating to Jewish theology, bioethics, wartime ethics, and Jewish-Christian relations. His essays on these subjects have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, First Things, Azure, Tradition, and the Torah U-Madda Journal.


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    Assistant Director: Dr. Stu Halpern

    Stu Halpern earned his BA from the University of Pennsylvania, his MA in Psychology in Education from Teachers College at Columbia University, an MA in Bible from Revel, and his EdD from the Azrieli Graduate School of Education and Administration. He co-edits the Mitokh Ha-Ohel book series, and is on the Steering Committee of the Orthodox Forum. At Revel, Stu plans and organizes educational initiatives both for the student body—periodic lectures, the annual Shabbaton and Year-end Student-Faculty Reception—and the broader Jewish community, including yemei iyun at The Jewish Center, Congregation Rinat Yisrael, and Congregation Ohab Zedek. Stu now also serves as the Revel Coordinator of the dual-degree program in Jewish Studies and Jewish Education that Revel has initiated with Azrieli (see under “Degrees and Programs”).


    Resident Scholar: Dr. Matt Holbreich

    Prof. Matthew Holbreich, 30, earned his PhD in political science in 2011 from the Department of Political Science at Notre Dame University, where he was a Lilly Presidential Scholar. His dissertation, “Tocqueville and the French Tradition of Political Liberty,” argues that Rousseau, Constant, Guizot, and Tocqueville articulated a version of freedom that combines individuality and community. Since 2005, he has presented papers at twelve professional conferences, and in 2010-11 he worked as an editorial intern for the Review of Politics. He is currently pursuing a JD at NYU School of Law, where he is a Jacobson scholar. Matthew’s research interests include Lincoln’s political thought, especially his use of Biblical Themes. Prof. Holbreich’s involvement with the Straus Center includes collaborating with Straus Center director Rabbi Soloveichik, and Jonathan Silver, on a book entitled Hebraic Ideas for the American Republic, a source reader of foundational American documents inspired by the Jewish Bible; and serving as a guest lecturer in various Straus Center courses and programs, in which he has lectured on the Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincoln.

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