Rabbi Dr. Meir Y. Soloveichik: Director
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.
Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern: Senior Program Officer
Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern is Senior Advisor to the Provost (the chief academic officer) of Yeshiva University and Senior Program Officer of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, and is responsible for developing educational and communal initiatives that bridge Torah and general studies. Dr. Halpern received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in Psychology in Education from Teachers College at Columbia University, a master’s degree in Bible from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, an MBA in Nonprofit Management from Touro University, a doctorate in education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Education and Administration, and rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Chaim Brovender. He has edited or co-edited 16 books, including Gleanings: Reflections on Ruth; Books of the People: Revisiting Classic Works of Jewish Thought; and Torah and Western Thought: Intellectual Portraits of Orthodoxy and Modernity, and has lectured in synagogues, Hillels and adult Jewish educational settings across around the world.
Dr. Neil Rogachevsky: Tikvah Postdoctoral Fellow
Neil Rogachevsky received his PhD in French history from the University of Cambridge in 2014. His dissertation, “The French Army and the Plebiscite of 1870,” is a study of civilian-military relations in the French Second Empire. In addition to Cambridge, Dr. Rogachevsky did graduate work at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, Georgetown, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the University of Toronto. His academic work has appeared in French History as well as in the volume Diaspora Lobbies and the U.S. Government, published in 2014 by NYU press. A native of Toronto, Dr. Rogachevsky received his BA from McGill University. Dr. Rogachevsky is also a journalist and essayist whose writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Mosaic, The American Interest, The Atlantic, Commentary, Haaretz and other publications. Curriculum Vitae
Dr. Matt Holbreich: Resident Scholar
Prof. Matthew Holbreich, 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. He is currently pursuing a JD at NYU School of Law, where he is a Jacobson scholar. Prof. Holbreich’s involvement with the Straus Center includes collaborating with Straus Center director Rabbi Soloveichik, and Jonathan Silver, on Proclaim Liberty, 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.
Dr. Chaya Sima Koenigsberg
Chaya Sima Koenigsberg is a Resident Scholar at the Straus Center. She received her BA in psychology from Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women and MA and PhD in Jewish philosophy from Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. Chaya Sima’s doctoral research focused on midrashic esotericism in medieval Jewish thought and her dissertation, “Prayer as a Prism” conceptualized the relationship between the Written and Oral Torah in the thought of R. Eleazar of Worms (The Rokeah). While pursuing her graduate studies, Chaya Sima served as a member of the Judaic studies faculty and 9th grade advisor at Manhattan High School for Girls in NYC and Shevach High School in Queens, NY. She holds a teaching certificate from Michlalah Jerusalem College for Women in Israel, completed the Educational Leadership Advancement Initiative program through the Lookstein Center at Bar-Ilan University, and is currently a Visiting Research Scholar at Fordham University. Chaya Sima’s lectures and courses for the Straus Center bridge her love of Torah and interests in philosophy, art, and music.
Rabbi Dov Lerner: Resident Scholar
Rabbi Dov Lerner is a resident scholar as the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought—the responsibilities of which include teaching courses in the college, mentoring students, conducting research, and publishing material reflective of the center’s emphases. He received a BA in English Literature from Yeshiva University and his semicha from RIETS, and went on to receive an MA in religion from the University of Chicago, where he served as the Hillel’s Orthodox Advisor on campus. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago writing on Malbim’s Exegetical Pedagogy, and serves as the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates.
Rabbi Yaakov Taubes: Communication and Program Officer
Rabbi Yaakov Taubes is the Communication and Program Officer at the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought. He earned his BA from Yeshiva College, an MA in Medieval Jewish History from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He is also a PhD Candidate in Medieval Jewish History at Revel. Previously, Rabbi Taubes served as the OU-JLIC Educator at the University of Pennsylvania Hillel. He has several published articles and has lectured in a number of communities. Rabbi Taubes also serves as the Rabbi at the Mount Sinai Jewish Center in Washington Heights.