By: Binyamin Fox (‘21)

During the course of the 2019-2020 school year, the MTA Honors College program is concentrating on the history of the unique relationship between Torah and secular culture throughout the generations. Over the summer, Honors College members began reading the work “Judaism’s Encounter with Other Cultures,” edited by Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, which describes this unique relationship in a fascinating and detailed manner. Honors College members will be continuing to read sections of the book throughout the year. This past Monday, November 18th, the Honors College had the privilege of hearing from Rabbi Dr. David Berger, Dean of the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University, who authored one of the chapters in this work. In preparation for Rabbi Dr. Berger’s talk, Honors College members read a section of his article, in which Rabbi Dr. Berger describes Judaism’s growing acceptance of secular culture and worldly pursuits in the lead up to and the advent of the Enlightenment in Europe. In his presentation, Rabbi Dr. Berger, described this growing trend, outlining the differences between Middle Age and Enlightenment responses to secular culture by European Jewry, as well as explained the philosophical and intellectual debates following the publishing of the Rambam’s philosophical works. Honors College members were grateful to learn from Rabbi Dr. Berger and his vast knowledge and expertise in this area, and are looking forward to a continued year of knowledge and growth.


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