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Essays by Straus Scholars

The Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought

Cover of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Screwtape Teshuva

Writing for the Times of Israel, Straus Scholar Joshua Shapiro looks to C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters as a proper outline for how to internalize and apply the teachings of the High Holidays. READ MORE






Rabbi Leo Jung

Rabbi Leo Jung: Observing Modernity While Preserving Tradition

Writing for the 2021-2022 edition of Chronos: The History Journal of Yeshiva University, Straus Scholar Yonatan Kurz looks at how Rabbi Leo Jung combined the traditional Orthodox faith of Europe with the modern lifestyle of America and ushered his congregation in New York City and the nation into what would eventually be called American Modern Orthodoxy. READ MORE




Maimonides and Medicine

Maimonides and Medicine

Co-writing for the 2021-2022 edition of Chronos: The History Journal of Yeshiva University, Straus Scholar Yonatan Kurz analyzes Maimonides' contributions to the worlds of science and medicine. READ MORE






Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev

Talmud Torah in Daily Life: The Conflicting Ideals of Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev and Rav Hayyim Volozhiner

Writing for the 2021-2022 edition of Chronos: The History Journal of Yeshiva University, Straus Scholar Benjamin Gottesman examines the conflicting ideals of the Hasidic Rav Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev and the Mitnagdic Rav Hayyim Volozhiner in terms of daily Torah study. READ MORE



Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting - Tree of Life

What Threatens American Jews?

Writing for The Wall Street Journal's Future View, Straus Scholar Natan Ehrenreich comments on the rise of antisemitism in America. READ MORE







Sermon From Capitol Hill

Former Straus Scholar Ben Atwood looks at the biblical language President Abraham Lincoln used in his second inaugural address. READ MORE






The 2022 Elections

Writing for The Wall Street Journal's Future View, Straus Scholar Natan Ehrenreich comments on what lies ahead for the 2022 midterm elections. READ MORE






Cancer Research

Paving the Way for New Cancer Treatments

Straus Scholar Avishai Samouha co-published a research paper for Dove Medical Press' Cancer Management and Research journal highlighting a novel treatment option for mutated colorectal cancer (CRC). READ MORE






Jacob Judah Leon

Middoth for Ezekiel and Solomon

For his senior thesis, Straus Scholar Baruch-Lev Kelman reexamines Jacob Judah Leon's Retrato through the lens of the Talmudic Tractate Middoth to reveal a creative reinterpretation of the Temple descriptions of I Kings, II Chronicles, and Ezekiel. READ MORE







Hiding Behind Lincoln

From their humble upbringings to their political bravery, Straus Scholar Jonathan Fenster argues in Compass that Esther and Abraham Lincoln have more in common than one would think. READ MORE






Painting of men standing around some with face masks

Nathan the Wise and Religious Tolerance

Writing for The Forward, Straus Scholar Michael Weiner looks to the play Nathan the Wise by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing for guidance after another Islamic terror attack occurred in France over the depiction of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. READ MORE





Painting of an ancient structure

In Defense of Cities

Despite the bad name they get from the story of the Tower of Babel, Straus Scholar Yehuda Goldberg argues in The Lehrhaus that these cosmopolitan centers and concrete jungles can recognize and extoll God’s primacy, creating a common conception of good. READ MORE





Headshot of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

What Do We Owe the Dead? 

Writing for JTA News, Straus Scholar Michael Wiener reflects on the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and how Jewish tradition can guide our response. READ MORE






Zoom logo

College Amid COVID

Writing for The Wall Street Journal's Future View, Straus Scholar Michael Weiner weighs in on how the shift to online classes has impacted his view on tuition costs. READ MORE





Headshot of Rav Abraham Isaac Kook

Rav Kook's Vision

For his senior thesis, Straus Scholar Eliott Dosetareh examines the thoughts of Rav Abraham Isaac Kook in Hebrew Universalism: The Future Vision of Rav Kook. READ MORE






Opening soon sign

What Does the Bible Teach Us About Reopening America?

Straus Scholar Baruch-Lev Kelman looks to the Bible for guidance on how America should approach its COVID-19 reopening process. READ MORE





Building dome

A Republic If You Can Keep It

Writing for The Imaginative Conservative, Straus Scholar Michael Weiner argues that religion provides more than just salvation. It can also be a major source of social value, providing shared history, institutions, and cultural norms, which integrate us into a moral community. READ MORE





Painting of an ancient city with smoke and flames

Three Medieval Accounts of Exile

Straus Scholar Michael Weiner explores the different ways Medieval Jews viewed exile and how each path impacted the theological and psychological mindsets of the Jewish people at the time. READ MORE





Israeli flag

Religious Identity or Cultural Connection?

Writing for Tradition, Straus Scholar Michael Weiner argues that deepening American Orthodox engagement with Israel is not a characteristic of a new religious identity, but rather an embodiment of traditional religious identity that has been carried over from two millennia of Diasporic Jewish life. READ MORE





Painting of people sitting all together with one man standing and raising his hand

The Debate Over Slavery

Straus Scholar Jonathan Fenster examines how Jews approached the issue of slavery in the time of the Civil War. READ MORE

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