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Straus Center Fall 2022 Reading Groups: From Daniel Deronda to the Pages of Tradition

Image collage of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, the Straus Center logo, Tradition Journal, Daniel Deronda, rabbis learning and the American flag with the Bible

As part of the Straus Scholars Program of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, Straus Scholars participate in weekly reading groups outside the classroom that cover the great texts of the West and Judaism.

On the Beren campus, Straus Center Clinical Assistant Professor Rabbi Dr. Dov Lerner and Straus Center Resident Scholar Dr. Shaina Trapedo are co-leading a Daniel Deronda reading cohort, which will study Mary Ann Evans' (published under her pen name, George Eliot) 1876 novel that shocked Victorian readers with its focus on Jewish life in Britain and the origins of Zionism in the late 19th century.

Straus Center Director Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik and Straus Center Program Officer Tal Fortgang are teaching the other Beren campus group, which will dive into the text of Menachem Begin’s Revolt. The book provides a window into the difficult political, religious and military decisions Begin and his Irgun militia faced in their campaign to enact a Jewish state in British Mandatory Palestine, years before Begin would turn Israeli politics upside-down as prime minister.

On the Wilf Campus, Yisroel Ben-Porat, Ph.D. candidate in early American history at CUNY Graduate Center and an editor at The Lehrhaus, is teaching Great Essays in American Religion, covering a wide set of sermons, histories, speeches and articles central to the Western canon and what they can offer Modern Orthodoxy.

Rabbi Itamar Rosensweig, maggid shiur (professor of Jewish law and jurisprudence) and chair of the Jewish studies department at the Sy Syms School of Business, is leading Philosophy of Halakhah (Jewish law), with a special focus on the intersection of analytic philosophy of law and halakhah. Finally, Straus Center Rabbinic Intern Yehuda Goldberg is studying several key articles from Tradition, the Rabbinical Council of America’s journal of Jewish thought, in the From the Pages of Tradition group.

To learn more about the Straus Scholars Program, including our fall 2023 application, click here.

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