The mission of the Straus Center is to help develop Jewish thinkers and wisdom-seeking Jews by deepening their education in the best of the Jewish tradition, exposing them to the richness of human knowledge and insight from across the ages, and confronting them with the great moral, philosophical, and theological questions of our age. In pursuing this mission, Yeshiva University stands in a special place: its students arrive with a deep commitment to Jewish life and to the study of Torah and Talmud, yet are also eager to learn from the best of Western thought.
The Straus Center is dedicated to bridging an immersion in Torah study with a formative academic experience, thereby furthering Yeshiva's mission of Torah Umadda and securing Yeshiva's critical role in the future of the American Jewish community. Working in concert with the faculty, and guided by an academic advisory committee, the center constructs courses that bridge a variety of disciplines and expose students to both halakhic and Western schools of thought. The Straus Center also hosts, throughout the academic year, public forums at Yeshiva University's campuses on great human questions that have engaged Jewish and non-Jewish thinkers. Visiting faculty invited by the Straus Center participate in both the teaching of these courses and Straus Center events. Through these efforts, the center provides a vibrant community at the University that enhances the academic lives of all its students.
At the same time, the Straus Center seeks to cultivate the Orthodox intellectual and civic leaders of the future. The center sponsors special programs for select undergraduates from Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women and for select RIETS students, including advanced tutorials and independent study courses, mentoring, summer seminars, and travel abroad that expose them to leading thinkers and teachers from both the United States and Israel. These students are also guided in learning the art of expressing ideas to the wider society, allowing them to serve mankind by bringing genuinely Jewish ideas to the world: an essential aspect of Yeshiva's mission and of Judaism itself.
While its primary focus is to serve the students of Yeshiva University, the Straus Center also aims to establish Yeshiva University as an intellectual catalyst and beacon for all Jews. The center stages events, such as a series of full-day learning experiences in Jewish communities throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel. These symposia and lectures are major events that focus on some of the most critical and controversial questions affecting world Jewry, and promote ideas-focused conversations about Jewish life and the Jewish future. Yeshiva University, through the Straus Center, thereby involves members of the larger community in the continuing adventure of Jewish intellectual engagement.