Tikvah Institute for Jewish Thought at JTS Presents Innovative Rabbinic Seminar Program

Press Contact: Eve Glasberg
Office: (212) 678-8089
Email: evglasberg@jtsa.edu

March 8, 2011, New York, NY

The Tikvah Institute for Jewish Thought of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), in cooperation with the Tikvah Fund, will host a series of four seminars for selected congregational rabbis this spring. The seminars, which will be held in March and April, will focus on broad moral themes that have both contemporary urgency and Jewish dimensions. The topics include War and Morality, Economics and the Human Good, The Challenges of Bioethics, and God and Politics. Each seminar will be taught by a pair of distinguished teachers, who will work together with Professor Alan Mittleman, the director of JTS’s Tikvah Institute.

The goals of the program are to enrich the capacity of a group of intellectually talented rabbis to think about the great cultural issues of our time in more sophisticated ways, to bring Jewish thought to bear on the issues, to help the rabbis educate their congregants more effectively about these matters, and to build a network of like-minded individuals who will continue to strengthen one another’s rabbinates.

An additional goal is to identify visionary, entrepreneurial rabbis and to offer them the possibility of funding their proposals for the improvement of Jewish life in North America. To this end, all invited participants will be asked to write a brief essay on how contemporary Jewish life can be improved and to propose concrete programs for how to implement their vision. The last day of each seminar will be devoted to panels for the presentation of these ideas. All participants will submit their essays in advance; each paper will be read by all of the participants. The Tikvah Fund will consider the most promising proposals for financial support.

Following is the faculty for each seminar:

War and Morality

Jean Bethke Elshtain, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, Divinity School, the University of Chicago, with appointments in Political Science and the Committee on International Relations, and holder of the Leavey Chair in the Foundations of American Freedom, Georgetown University. Her books include Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy and Sovereignty: God, State, and Self.

Moshe Halbertal, the Gruss Professor at New York University Law School and professor of Jewish Thought and Philosophy at the Hebrew University, and a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. In 2008, he received an honorary doctorate from JTS, and he is the recipient of the Bruno Award of the Rothschild Foundation, and the Goren Goldstein Award for the best book in Jewish Thought in the years 1997 to 2000.

Economics and the Human Good

William Galston, the Ezra K. Zilkha Chair in Governance Studies and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The author of 8 books and more than 100 articles, he specializes in issues of American public philosophy and political institutions.

Yuval Levin, the editor of National Affairs, the Hertog Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a senior editor of The New Atlantis, contributing editor to National Review, and a contributing writer to Newsweek and First Things. He has been a member of the White House domestic policy staff, executive director of the President’s Council on Bioethics, and a congressional staffer.

The Challenges of Bioethics

Gilbert C. Meilaender, professor of Theology at Valparaiso University in Chile and a fellow of the Hastings Center. He has been a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. He edited (with William Werpehowski) The Oxford Handbook of Theological Ethics, and his most recent book is Neither Beast Nor God: The Dignity of the Human Person.

Louis Newman, the John M. and Elizabeth W. Musser Professor of Religious Studies, the Humphrey Doermann Professor of Liberal Learning, and the director of the Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. His latest book is Repentance: the Meaning and Practice of Teshuvah.

God and Politics

Leora F. Batnitzky, professor of Religion at Princeton University and the director of Princeton’s Tikvah Project on Jewish Thought. In 2002, she received Princeton’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. She is the editor of the forthcoming Martin Buber: Schriften zur Philosophie und Religion and coeditor of the journal Jewish Studies Quarterly.

William Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard, the influential journal of politics and ideas, and a regular panelist on Fox News Sunday and an analyst for the Fox News Channel. He has published widely in areas ranging from foreign policy to constitutional law to political philosophy. He is the coauthor, with Lawrence Kaplan, of the best-seller, The War Over Iraq.

The Tikvah Institute for Jewish Thought is an academic program with a public dimension that is devoted to a searching intellectual encounter between the best sources of Jewish and broader Western reflection on the deepest problems of human life.

Visit JTS at www.jtsa.edu