Esther Book


Exile and Esther

Straus Center Senior Program Officer Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern reviews Erica Brown's book on Esther — Esther: Power, Fate, and Fragility in Exile — from Maggid Books for Tradition. READ MORE








Digital Age

Navigating Identity in the Digital Age

On Feb. 26, 2020, the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, in partnership with the Wurzweiler School of Social Work and the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program, hosted Dr. Eli Gottlieb for a presentation on “Identity in the Digital Age.” Dr. Gottlieb, currently a visiting associate professor at George Washington University, previously ran the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem and is an expert in both philosophy and the psychology of religion. READ MORE


Lincoln and Jerusalem

Lincoln in Jerusalem

On Feb. 16, 2020, the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought once again partnered with Beit Avi Chai in Jerusalem for a sold-out event on the impact of the Hebrew Bible on America.

Following the success of the Israel launch for the Straus Center’s best-selling Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land in the summer of 2019, this evening, the night before Presidents Day in the United States, offered a lecture by Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, the Straus Center’s director, on “Abraham Lincoln, the Bible, and Leadership.” READ MORE



Politics and the Bible at Pepperdine

On Feb. 6, 2020, the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought and the Pepperdine School of Public Policy presented a panel on “The Role of Religion in Politics and the Role of Politics in Religion” celebrating the release of the Straus Center’s best-selling book Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land: The Hebrew Bible in the United States (Toby Press, 2019). READ MORE



Remembering Rembrandt

On Jan. 21, 2020, Yeshiva University Museum hosted an evening dedicated to exploring “Rembrandt’s Legacy.” The conversation, attended by over 200, was introduced by Dr. Jacob Wisse, director of the museum and associate professor of art history and was moderated by Straus Center director Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik. It featured a lecture by fascinating discussion about the life and art of Rembrandt between philanthropist Thomas Kaplan and Arthur Wheelock Jr., former curator of northern baroque paintings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and professor of art history at the University of Maryland, College Park. Kaplan is the owner of the Leiden Collection, one of the largest assemblages of Dutch art in the world. Following a captivating lecture by Rabbi Soloveichik on Rembrandt’s renditions of biblical characters, the panelists discussed the legacy of the beloved artist in commemoration of the 350th anniversary of his death. READ MORE



Straus Scholars meet with Lord Sacks

Torah and Western Thought Across the Pond

From Jan. 13 to Jan. 16, 2020, the Straus Scholars of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought participated in a winter break trip to England, which featured seminars, site visits and exhibition tours centered upon the intersection of Torah and history, art, politics and philosophy, as well as a seminar with Lord Jonathan Sacks. READ MORE




Book launch

From Mitzrayim to Manhattan

What can the Egyptian exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art teach us about the Jewish people’s exodus from Egypt? Quite a bit, according to Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University. READ MORE




On Shabbat Parshat Vayeshev, our resident scholar Chaya Sima Koenigsberg delivered a Seudah Shlishit shiur at the Mount Sinai Jewish Center in Washington Heights entitled, “A Kinah in Kislev.”


A Kinah in Kislev

On Shabbat Parshat Vayeshev, our resident scholar Chaya Sima Koenigsberg delivered a Seudah Shlishit shiur at the Mount Sinai Jewish Center in Washington Heights to a full audience entitled, “A Kinah in Kislev.” Her lecture, which took place on the 23rd day of Kislev, commemorated the murder of the most well-known medieval Jewish woman, Dolce of Worms, who was killed on the 22nd of Kislev in 1197. READ MORE





Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik addressing Stern students

New Bi-weekly Seminar 

This past week the Straus center launched a new bi-weekly seminar for the Beren Campus Straus Scholars given by the director of the Straus Center, Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik. The first work being addressed in the seminar is Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt”l’s famous speech Kol Dodi Dofek. READ MORE


Dr. David Shyovitz

The Holy Family

On November 20, 2019, Dr. David Shyovitz, Associate Professor in Northwestern University’s History Department, Director of the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies and author of A Remembrance of His Wonders: Nature and the Supernatural in Medieval Ashkenaz, addressed Straus Center faculty and the Wilf Campus Straus Scholars in a fascinating lecture that examined the family life and the afterlife in medieval Jewish thought. READ MORE 


BYU Logo

Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik speaks at Brigham Young University

On November 19, 2019, Straus Center Director Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik and Senior Advisor to the Provost and Senior Program Officer of the Straus Center Dr. Stu Halpern addressed a warm and welcoming packed house at Brigham Young University, in a celebration of the Center’s best-selling book Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land: The Hebrew Bible in the United States. READ MORE



Gil Troy

Gil Troy

On November 4, 2019, the Straus Center scholars and students in the Graduate Program In Advanced Talmudic Studies For Women of the Graduate Program (GPATS) had the pleasure of hearing from Gil Troy, the Distinguished Scholar of North American History at McGill University. READ MORE





Be, Become, Bless: Jewish Spirituality between East and West


On October 28th, the Straus Center Scholars Program and GPATS hosted Rabbi Yakov Nagen for a joint lunch and learn. Rabbi Nagen, a graduate of Yeshiva College, RIETS, and the Bernard Revel Graduate School, completed his PhD in Jewish philosophy at Hebrew University and currently teaches Talmud and Kabbalah at the Otniel Yeshiva in Israel. His unique approach draws together traditional Jewish sources with ideas from Eastern religions traditions. READ MORE






Religious Freedom

Lively Debate on the Media and Religion at The Straus Center

On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center For Torah and Western Thought, the BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies and the J. Reuben Clark Law Society co-sponsored a panel discussion titled “The Media and Religion: Trends and Challenges.” The event took place at Congregation Shearith Israel Synagogue as part of the conference “What’s Next for Religious Freedom,” a two-day series featuring respected scholars and industry leaders participating in sessions including “Anticipating a Landmark Religious Liberty Decision: Are Smith’s Days Numbered?,” “Strategies and Conflicts Over Religious Liberty,” and “Advancing Religious Freedom through Faith-Friendly Workplaces, among others. READ MORE

Poyas-Mordecai House Garden in Charleston, South Carolina

Straus Semikha Fellows Culminate Rabbinic Seminar with Visit to Charleston, SC

As part of its ongoing study of the role of Judaism and Jews in Early America, the Program on Early America and the Jews at the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought returned to historic Charleston on June 11, 2018, this time with rabbinical students, to explore Jewish Life during the Civil War. READ MORE


Soloveichik and Podhoretz on stage in discussion

A Conversation of Biblical Proportions

What could be better than a night at the movies with Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik and John Podhoretz? Especially when the movies are about Moses? In a pre-Shavuot event in a packed auditorium at the YU Museum, the two men traded pointed observations as they screened film clips, exploring the depiction of Moses on film—and what those depictions say about our times and our culture. READ MORE





Finding Meaning in Modernity

On the eve of Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut, Leon Kass, philosopher and bioethicist, and Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, director of The Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, discussed memory, patriotism, Israel and meaning in an animated dialogue at Congregation Shearith Israel. READ MORE