Rabbi WiederRabbi Jeremy Wieder is the Joseph and Gwendolyn Straus Professor of Talmud in Yeshiva University’s Mazer Yeshiva Program, an Adjunct Professor of Bible at Yeshiva College and a prolific lecturer on Talmud, Bible and Jewish law. A 1991 YC graduate, he received an M.S. in American Jewish History from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and rabbinical ordination from RIETS and holds a PhD in Judaic Studies from New York University. Rabbi Wieder was one of the first Americans to win the International Bible Contest.

1. What is your favorite aspect of your job at YU?
I most enjoy the dialogue and discussion that I get to have with students both in the beit midrash in morning seder and during shiur itself.

2. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Patent law, which combines science and law, the two disciplines that I find most intellectually engaging and stimulating.

3. What is the communal responsibility of a rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University?
I can speak only for myself and how I perceive my role. First and foremost, I am privileged to teach Torah to our students, including many who will become educators and rabbis in our community.  This commitment to teaching students extends beyond their time in our Yeshiva, as I find that I am called on by former students to provide guidance as they encounter complex halakhic issues that demand a high level of halakhic expertise.  I also feel a responsibility to teach Torah in the community more broadly, whether by online dissemination of shiurim given in the Yeshiva or by teaching Torah in contexts that extend beyond the walls of the Yeshiva.

I am very aware that even as we are commanded to observe Torah and mitzvoth, we live in a world in which fealty to Torah and to halakhah is voluntary. I firmly believe that Torah gives meaning and value to our lives and that we ought to turn to Torah and halakhah for guidance on how to lead our lives, even when the answers aren’t those that we would come up with on our own. I aspire to teach Torah in a way that inspires others to see this as well.

4. What is your goal as a rosh yeshiva and Bible teacher, both academically and with regards to the kinds of values you would like to help instill in your students?
Academically, I hope to help my students develop the textual skills that will enable them to be lifelong learners of Torah, broadly construed. More importantly, I aspire to help them create a connection to Torah that will foster ongoing commitment to Torah and to community after they leave the walls of the Yeshiva, and hopefully to be passionate about that commitment.

5. What would your current and former YU students be surprised to learn about you?
One of my favorite activities is to recharge my batteries by running on the trails in Palisades State Park above the Hudson River. Those who know me well like to comment on my “back to basics” running footwear; I like to keep it as close to barefoot as possible.


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