By Samuel Gelman
Communications and Program Officer
The fall 2021 semester is well underway, and the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, in collaboration with Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women, is offering numerous courses for Straus Scholars and Yeshiva University undergraduate students to study the great texts and traditions of the West and Judaism.
On the Beren Campus, Dr. Steven Fine is teaching Jewish Art & Visual Culture, while Rabbi Dr. Dov Lerner is offering Genesis and Ethics. Straus Center Director Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik is teaching two courses downtown: The Jews of Early America and Shakespeare and the Talmud, which is being co-taught by Dr. Shaina Trapedo. New courses include Rabbi Dr. Lerner’s The Thought of Rabbi Sacks and Dr. Mordechai Schiffman’s Psychology and Jewish Thought.
“Students will analyze an array of Torah sources and psychological theories on essential topics related to human nature, including whether we are born good or evil, the relationship between cognition and emotion, the necessary components of character development and ingredients for living the good life, and the nature of mental illness and the challenges of therapeutic treatment,” said Dr. Schiffman of his psychology course.
On the Wilf Campus, Dr. Neil Rogachevsky is once again teaching political theory, this time delving into Modern Political Thought. Rabbi Shalom Carmy is offering The Thought of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Rabbi Itamar Rosensweig is lecturing on Kant’s Moral Philosophy, while Rabbi Dr. Lerner is teaching Maimonides and His Enemies.
“By covering both the gamut of Maimonides’ major works and studying their reception over the course of time, the students will see both Maimonides’ innovations in context and how they shaped the last eight centuries of Jewish thought,” Rabbi Dr. Lerner said of his course on the influential Jewish thinker.
The Straus Center is also offering Biblical Ideas and American Democracy, which traces the intersection of Jewish texts and the American story, through its Graduate Certificate in Political and Social Thought. Co-taught by Dr. Rogachevsky and Rabbi Soloveichik, the class is open to Beren and Wilf campus juniors and seniors.