On August 31, we were privileged to hear from Senator Joseph Lieberman, one time U.S. vice-presidential candidate, who was the inaugural speaker for the new Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought in their series “Great Conversations on Religion and Democracy.” His appearance marked the first of many opportunities to hear from top scholars and rebbeim such as the Fall Lecture Series sponsored by the Office of Alumni Affairs, Kollel and Medreshet Yom Rishon programs and YU shbbatonim in local communities, and much more.

Before a crowd of more than 1,000 people, Senator Lieberman and Dr. Soloveichik discussed religion in America, Lieberman’s political career, and his new book, The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of Shabbat. Jina Davidovich ’12S described the conversation as “absolutely fabulous:” “I was extremely impressed by the caliber of the questions and the depth of Senator Lieberman’s responses. They addressed key points important to America and our University while showing how much Judaism has to give to the world at large.”

Dr. Soloveichik said, “It is only YU that promotes a profound commitment to the study of Torah and engagement with the best of Western thought. The Zahava and Moshael Straus Center will build upon this foundation by bridging an immersion in Torah study with formative academic experiences, thereby cultivating men and women who embody both Torah excellence and academic excellence. In so doing, the Center will seek to further Yeshiva’s mission of Torah Umadda and the University’s critical role in the future of the American Jewish community.”

In the coming year, the Straus Center will host “Great Conversations” with other prominent figures in public life, who will address the relationship between faith and democracy in an extended discussion. England’s Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is scheduled to visit YU in October. In addition, there will be seminars on “Jewish Ideas and American Democracy” offered to undergraduate students and to rabbinical students of RIETS.

Homecoming, of course, will give alumni and friends of YU a chance to experience Torah Umadda from some of the best YU professors and personalities. The CJF’s Kollel and Midreshet Yom Rishon program will start the day off with Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter speaking about “Achieving Atonement in the Season of Atonement: Focusing on Interpersonal Relationships” and Professor Smadar Rosensweig, who will discuss “Profiles in Courage: Personal Redemption in Tanakh.” Later in the day, alumni college classes will be taught by Professor Ruth Bevan, “Mamlachtiyut: Jews, Israel and Power”; Professor Lisa Rosh, “Developing Leadership Talent”; Rabbi Dr. Ephraim Kanarfogel, “Dreams as a Determinant of Jewish Law and Practice in Medieval Europe”; Rabbi Mark Dratch, Jewish Ethics”; Professor Nora Nachumi, “Jane Austen”; and Professor Gabriel Cwilich, “Natural Science and Contemporary Theater: Two Worlds in Conversation.” To secure your spot in any of these lectures, register online today at yu.edu/homecoming.

The Office of Alumni Affairs Fall Lecture Series will run from September to November. The first speaker will be Rabbi Daniel Feldman on September 22, followed by Rabbi Yonason Sacks in November. Visit yu.edu/alumnievents to check out the roster of upcoming programs for more details.


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