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Faculty, Staff, and Advisory Board

The Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought

Faculty and Staff


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. He is the author of Providence and Power: Ten Portraits in Jewish Statesmanship, a book devoted to ten of the most consequential Jewish leaders in history.

Latest Writings

Stu Halpern

Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern: Deputy Director

Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern is Senior Advisor to the Provost (the chief academic officer) of Yeshiva University and Deputy Director 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 Esther in America; Gleanings: Reflections on RuthBooks 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 around the world.

Latest Writings 

Tevi Troy

Dr. Tevi Troy: Senior Scholar and Impact Office Director

Dr. Tevi Troy is a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a former Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, and a best-selling presidential historian. His latest book is Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump, named as one of 2020’s top political books by the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Troy has extensive White House experience, having served in several high-level positions over a five-year period, culminating in his service as Deputy Assistant and then Acting Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. Dr. Troy has a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and an M.A and Ph.D. in American Civilization from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Troy lives in Maryland with his wife, Kami, and four children.

Latest Writings

Shaina Trapedo

Dr. Shaina Trapedo: Resident Scholar and Recruitment Officer

Dr. Shaina Trapedo is an Assistant Professor of English at Stern College. She is committed to exploring the connections between literacy, cultural identity, and social engagement in her teaching and scholarship. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine, and her current book project, From Scripture to Script: David, Daniel, Esther and the Performance of Early Modern Identity, considers the affordances and risks of hermeneutic engagements on the Renaissance stage.

Latest Writings

Dov Lerner

Rabbi Dr. Dov Lerner: Clinical Assistant Professor

Rabbi Dr. Dov Lerner is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought—with responsibilities for teaching courses in the college, mentoring students, conducting research, and publishing writings reflective of the center’s intellectual emphases. He received both his BA in English literature and his semikha from Yeshiva University, and his MA, in Religion, and Ph.D., in the History of Judaism, from the University of Chicago's Divinity School. In 2023, Rabbi Lerner was selected for The Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Scholars Programme. He lives in Queens, NY, with his wife and two children, where he serves as the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates.

Latest Writings 

Yisroel Ben-Porat

Dr. Yisroel Ben-Porat: Communications and Program Officer and Lecturer

Dr. Yisroel Ben-Porat taught history at City College and Queens College for four years, and he served as Managing Editor of The Lehrhaus. He successfully defended his PhD in early American history at CUNY Graduate Center in 2024, after graduating summa cum laude from Yeshiva University in 2018. 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 peer-reviewed article in the journal Tradition, a book chapter in the Straus Center's edited volume Esther in America (2020), and numerous pieces in The Lehrhaus, TraditionOnline, Jewish Journal, and Torah Musings. His work has been featured by a variety of media venues, including Mosaic and 18Forty, and he has appeared as a guest on multiple podcast episodes.

Latest Writings


Yonatan Kurz: Rabbinic Intern

Yonatan Kurz is currently pursuing semikha at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and an MA at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. A proud alum of the Straus Scholars Program, Yonatan graduated summa cum laude from Yeshiva College in 2023, majoring in Political Science and Jewish Thought and Philosophy with a minor in Psychology while learning in Rav Michael Rosensweig’s shiur. Before his time at YU, Yonatan spent two years in Israel at Yeshivat Sha’alvim. He has served as a legal research intern for the Orthodox Union's general counsel, a participant in American Enterprise Institute’s Summer Honors Program, and a Beren Summer Fellow for the Tikvah Fund. Yonatan is an incoming rabbinic intern at the Jewish Center in Manhattan, and after receiving his semikha and graduate degree, he hopes to attend law school.

Academic Advisory Board

Selma Botman

Dr. Selma Botman: Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Selma Botman, who grew up outside of Boston, holds a BA in psychology from Brandeis University, a BPhil in Middle Eastern studies from Oxford University and an AM in Middle Eastern studies and PhD in history and Middle Eastern studies from Harvard University. A scholar of modern Middle Eastern politics and society, she has published three books and a number of scholarly articles. She has also taught a range of courses on the modern Middle East and international development.

Karen Bacon

Dr. Karen Bacon: The Mordecai D. Katz and Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Karen Bacon earned her bachelor's degree, summa cum laude, from Stern College for Women and served as valedictorian of her graduating class. She earned her doctorate in microbiology from the University of California at Los Angeles and did post-doctoral research both at UCLA and at Indiana University. A trend-setter, Dr. Bacon was appointed as the first Stern College alumna to be granted a full-time appointment at Yeshiva College, where she served for two years as Assistant Professor of Biology. Dr. Bacon has been Dean of Stern College for Women since 1977, and in 2015 she was appointed The Mordecai D. Katz and Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In this enlarged role she also serves as the Dean of Yeshiva College and is working to unite the faculty on curricular initiatives, academic policies and research collaborations. Dr. Bacon has co-authored articles in scientific journals and books including the Journal of Bacteriology and the Journal of Ultrastructure Research. Other work include "A Biochemical Response to a Halakhic Challenge: The Case of the Ethiopian Jews" which appeared in the Torah U-Madda Journal, "Women and Jewish Education" in Tradition Magazine, and "Yeshiva University: A Model for Undergraduate Science Research" published in CUR Quarterly.

Cynthia Wachtell

Dr. Cynthia Wachtell: Founding Director, S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program & Research Professor of American Studies

Dr. Cynthia Wachtell, the founding director of the S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program and a research professor of American Studies, earned her PhD in the History of American Civilization and an AM in English at Harvard University. She jointly earned an MA and a BA, summa cum laude, from Yale University in American Studies. She is also the editor of The Backwash of War: An Extraordinary American Nurse in World War I and author of the path-breaking study War No More: The Antiwar Impulse In American Literature1861-1914

Eliezer H. Schnall

Rabbi Dr. Eliezer H. Schnall: Director of the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program, Yeshiva College & Clinical Professor of Psychology

Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Schnall is Clinical Professor of Psychology at Yeshiva University. His research interests include health psychology, psychology and religion, and multicultural clinical psychology, especially as it relates to Jewish clients. Dr. Schnall has published in such noted academic journals as Psychology and Health, Journal of Religion and HealthJournal of the History of the NeurosciencesJournal of Management History, and the Journal of Counseling and Development. He has lectured widely, and his research has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, on CBS television news, and in numerous other national and international media.

Affiliated Faculty

Jacob Wisse

Jacob Wisse: Associate Professor of Art History at Stern College for Women

Jacob Wisse is an Associate Professor of Art History at Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University, where he has been named Lillian F. and William L. Silber Professor of the Year. He received his BA in Art History from McGill University; and his MA and Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University, specializing in northern European art of the late Medieval and Renaissance eras. His book on City Painters in the Burgundian Netherlands is to be published by Brepols Press. In collaboration with Rabbi Dr. Soloveichik, he has developed and taught interdisciplinary courses that bridge visual culture and Jewish thought, such as The Image and the Idea, Rembrandt & the Jews – Art as Midrash in 17th-century Amsterdam, and Wholly Moses – in Art, Culture and Jewish Thought.



Rabbi Shalom Carmy: Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Bible at Yeshiva College

Rabbi Shalom Carmy teaches Jewish studies and philosophy at Yeshiva University, where he is Chair of Bible and Jewish philosophy at Yeshiva College. He is also the Editor Emeritus of Tradition, the theological journal of the Rabbinical Council of America; an affiliated scholar at Cardozo Law School; and a member of the Erasmus and Dulles Forums. He is an expert on biblical theology and interpretation; modern Jewish thought (with an emphasis on Rabbis Soloveitchik and Kook); religious Zionism; liberal arts and religion; the interface of traditional Talmud study, modern scholarship, and theology; and the life of the thinking religious individual. Rabbi Carmy has twice been Professor of the Year at Yeshiva College and received the Baumol Teaching Award. He publishes regularly in Tradition, First Things, and other journals.


Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Schiffman: Clinical Assistant Professor of Jewish Education at Azrieli Graduate School

Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Schiffman is an assistant professor at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, an instructor at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. He has been on the rabbinic staff of Kingsway Jewish Center in Brooklyn, New York, since 2011 and practices as a licensed psychologist in New York. He received his MA from Azrieli, his rabbinic ordination from RIETS, and his doctorate in psychology from St. John's University. He is the author of Psyched for Torah: Cultivating Character and Well-Being through the Weekly Parsha.


Dr. David Lavinsky: Associate Professor of English at Yeshiva University 

Dr. David Lavinsky is associate professor of English at Yeshiva University. He specializes in medieval literature and cultural history; vernacular practices and epistemes; late scholasticism; hermeneutics and translation; heresy; Jewish-Christian relations; manuscript studies and the history of the book. Dr. Lavinsky has published in numerous academic journals including Speculum and The Medieval Review and is the author of The Material Text in Wycliffite Biblical Scholarship.




Rabbi Daniel Feldman: Rosh Yeshiva at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary

Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman is a Rosh Yeshiva at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University, as well as an instructor in the Sy Syms School of Business, and has taught for the Wurzweiler School of Social Work and the Katz School of Continuing Education. He also serves as the Executive Editor of the RIETS initiative of YU Press. He is an alumnus of Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh and received his ordination (Yoreh Yoreh and Yadin Yadin) from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, where he was a fellow of the Bella and Harry Wexner Kollel Elyon.


Edward Reichman

Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman: Rabbi Isaac and Bella Tendler Chair in Medical Ethics at Yeshiva College; Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine and Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Population Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman is an emergency medicine physician in the Bronx, New York, and a professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Department of Epidemiology & Population Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He received his rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University and writes and lectures internationally in the field of Jewish medical ethics. His research is devoted to the interface of medical history and Jewish law. He has been a mentor of the Medical Ethics Society of Yeshiva University since its inception. He is the author of The Anatomy of Jewish Law: A Fresh Dissection of the Relationship Between Medicine, Medical History & Rabbinic Literature.



Dr. David Johnson: Associate Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva College; Chair, Department of Philosophy at Yeshiva University 

Dr. David Johnson is an associate professor of philosophy at Yeshiva College. He holds a PhD from Princeton University. Dr. Johnson is interested in logic, epistemology, and the philosophy of religion. He is the author of Hume, Holism, and Miracles and Truth Without Paradox. 




Joseph Angel

Dr. Joseph Angel: Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University

Dr. Joseph Angel is a scholar of ancient Judaism with a focus on religion and history in the Second Temple Period. He is the author of Otherworldly and Eschatological Priesthood in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which explores the imaginative depictions of angelic and messianic priestly figures in the Dead Sea Scrolls as a reflection of the religious worldview of the Qumran community and broader segments of Second Temple society. His other publications include articles on ancient Jewish magic, the Second Temple of Jerusalem, and Qumran liturgy, as well as commentaries on Second Temple period texts such as the Damascus Document and “New Jerusalem.” He is the recipient of research fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt and Yad Hanadiv/Beracha Foundations.



Rabbi Dr. Itamar Rosensweig: Maggid Shiur, Mazer Yeshiva Program; Chair of Jewish Studies, Sy Syms School of Business; Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Yeshiva College

Rabbi Dr. Itamar Rosensweig is a maggid shiur (professor of Jewish law and jurisprudence) at Yeshiva University, a dayan (rabbinic judge) and chaver beit din at the Beth Din of America, and the rav of the Shtiebel of Lower Merion. He holds a secondary appointment as an assistant professor of philosophy at Yeshiva College and serves as the chair of Jewish studies at the Sy Syms School of Business. He received his semikhaYoreh Yoreh and Yadin Yadin, from RIETS, where he was a fellow of the Wexner Kollel Elyon and editor-in-chief of the Beit Yitzchak Journal of Talmudic and Halakhic Studies. He received his BA, with honors, in physics and philosophy from Yeshiva University and an MA and PhD in medieval Jewish history from YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School. He also holds an MA in Philosophy from Columbia University and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.


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