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YU News

Straus Center Welcomes Three New Staff Members

This fall, the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought welcomes three new members to its team. Dr. Tevi Troy joins as the inaugural Senior Scholar & Impact Office Director, Yisroel Ben-Porat serves as the new Programming & Communications Officer, and Sarah Wapner returns as the new Impact Officer.

Tevi Troy

Dr. Troy is a Senior Fellow and director of the Presidential Leadership Initiative at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a best-selling presidential historian, and a former White House aide. Dr. Troy is the author of four books, including Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump, which the Wall Street Journal listed as one of the five best political books of 2020. “As a big believer in Torah Umadda,” said Dr. Troy in an interview with YU News, “I want to help Yeshiva students who are committed to their Orthodoxy also find ways to fit into American society. Too often, people seem to choose one or the other: religious life or secular integration. I think my experience has shown that both are possible, and I want to convey lessons from my experience to students.” Dr. Troy looks forward to advancing the mission of the Straus Center. “As for the Straus Center,” he added, “I think it is a perfect place for accomplishing this mission, as it attracts top students who are interested in the best ideas that both Jewish tradition and Western philosophy have to offer.”

Yisroel Ben-Porat

Yisroel Ben-Porat, who led reading groups for Straus Scholars last year, is a PhD Candidate and Dissertation Fellow in early American history at CUNY Graduate Center. Previously, he taught history at The City College of New York and Queens College. He graduated summa cum laude with a BA in History from Yeshiva University in 2018. At the Graduate Center, he earned his en-route MA in History in 2020 and advanced to doctoral candidacy in 2021. His dissertation, “Hebraic Puritans: Old Testament Politics in Early New England,” focuses on how Puritans used the Hebrew Bible as a legal and political text in the seventeenth-century Atlantic world. His publications include a book chapter in the Straus Center's edited volume Esther in America (2020), four book reviews, and articles in various popular venues

Sarah Wapner

Sarah Wapner, who served as the Straus Center’s Impact and Recruitment Officer from 2020 to 2022, is an educator at the Ramaz Upper School and a faculty member at the Tikvah Fund. She previously served as a program manager for strategic partnerships at a private foundation in New York City. Sarah received her undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto, where she majored in political science and Jewish studies. She also taught history and Jewish studies at Bnei Akiva Schools of Toronto. Sarah is an alumna of the Krauthammer Fellowship (2021-2022) as well as fellowships at the Hertog Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. She is also a graduate of the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators. Her writing has appeared in The Jewish Review of Books.