YU Professors Discuss the Future of the Book With Frisch Students

YU Ideas Goes on the Road

On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, three members of Yeshiva University’s faculty spoke to juniors honors students at The Frisch School in Paramus, New Jersey, about “The Future of the Book.” The presentation was part of YU Ideas, an initiative originated by Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern, senior advisor to the provost, who also organized the visit.

Following an introduction by Rabbi Eli Ciner, principal of Frisch, the three speakers—Dr. Joshua Waxman, assistant professor at Stern College for Women; Dr. Nora Nachumi, associate professor of English; and Dr. Aaron Koller, associate professor of bible and chair of the Robert M. Beren Department of Jewish Studies—spoke to the students about various topics regarding the future of the book. These included how the book and its technological advances has impacted Jewish learning throughout the ages, the advantages of reading a novel versus the experience of watching a film, new ways to analyze data to gain new insights and Torah in the age of big data.

(l-r): Aaron Koller, Rabbi Eli Ciner, Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern, Dr. Joshua Waxman and Dr. Nora Nachumi

The speakers conveyed to the students the unique experience one has while reading. Using the film “Persuasion” as an example, Dr. Nora Nachumi said, “Reading literature can put us inside a character’s head to create the illusion that we are directly experiencing the character’s thoughts and emotions. Films cannot do this as easily because they rely on what viewers hear and observe.”

Dr. Waxman summed up the future of the book and its unique characteristics stating, “Despite the technological advances, books will not be replaced anytime soon.”