Frequently Asked Questions
Who will lead the Tikvah Summer Institute on God, Ethics, and American Democracy?
Rabbi Mark Gottlieb is Senior Director of the Tikvah Fund and Dean of the Tikvah Fellowship. Prior to joining Tikvah, Rabbi Gottlieb served as Head of School at Yeshiva University High School for Boys and Principal of the Maimonides School in Brookline, MA and has taught at The Frisch School, Ida Crown Jewish Academy, Loyola University in Chicago and the University of Chicago. He received his BA from Yeshiva College, semikha from RIETS and and an MA in Philosophy from the University of Chicago. He lives in Teaneck, NJ with his wife and five children.
Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik is director of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western at Yeshiva University and associate rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan. He graduated summa cum laude from Yeshiva College, received his semikha from RIETS and was a member of its Beren Kollel Elyon. In 2010, he received his doctorate in religion from Princeton University. Rabbi Soloveichik has lectured throughout the United States, in Europe and in Israel to both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences on topics relating to Jewish theology, bioethics, wartime ethics, and Jewish-Christian relations. His essays on these subjects have appeared in Commentary, First Things, Azure, Tradition and the Torah U-Madda Journal.
Dr. Gilbert C. Meilaender holds the Richard and Phyllis Duesenberg Chair in Theological Ethics at Valparaiso University. He is also a Fellow of the Hastings Center. Before coming to Valparaiso in 1996, he taught at the University of Virginia (1976-78) and Oberlin College (1978-96). Professor Meilaender was a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics (2002-2009), and has served on the editorial board and as an associate editor of theJournal of Religious Ethics. He has also served as an associate editor for Religious Studies Review, on the editorial board of the Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics, and on the editorial advisory board of First Things. His published work falls generally into the area of religious ethics, and he edited (with William Werpehowski) The Oxford Handbook of Theological Ethics (2005). He is the author of Body, Soul, and Bioethics; The Taste for the Other: The Social and Ethical Thought of C. S. Lewis; and most recently of Neither Beast Nor God: The Dignity of the Human Person (Encounter Books, 2009).
What will the program’s content and format be?
The seminar will have three parts. Part I, “God and Human Nature,” will focus on such fundamental questions as: What is unique about human nature, and what does the Torah mean when it informs us that we are created in the image of God? Is human reason alone sufficient for such knowledge, or must it be corrected or supplemented by biblical teaching? What is virtue, and is it still possible in the modern age? And what about human freedom? What should Jews celebrate about the advance of modern science, and what are the dangers posed by technology to our ethical lives?
Part II, “Jewish Ideas and American Democracy,” will bring classic Jewish texts about government into conversation with the foundational works of American political life. Participants will investigate the following questions: How did Jewish notions of politics impact the governing principles of the United States? How did biblical ideas figure in the debates about democracy and monarchy that took place during the time of America’s founding? What is the role of religion in American public life? What unique message might Judaism offer America today?
Part III, “Morality in the Public Square,” will take place during evenings throughout the seminar, with discussion and debate about the great ethical issues of modern democratic life—including abortion, the meaning of marriage, the ethics of warfare, the purpose of the welfare state, and the scope of religious freedom. Participants will be joined by a variety of distinguished guests—leading academics, rabbis, public intellectuals, and political leaders—to help us think about these great issues.
The Institute will be centered around a series of twice-daily seminars in which students and faculty will engage in lively discussion of the assigned texts. These seminars will be supported by daily small discussion groups led by program faculty and staff.
Beit Midrash study, shiurim, visits from influential individuals in politics, journalism, scholarship, and the academy, and other formal and information educational and cultural opportunities will take place during some afternoons and evenings.
What kind of programming will be offered on Shabbat?
On Shabbat, students will focus their attention on matters concerning God and his relationship with Man. This spiritual atmosphere will be cultivated by lively prayer services, Beit Midrash study and shiurim led by Rabbi and Mrs. Cheses and visiting scholars, and plenty of time for social interaction, rest, and relaxation.
Who is eligible to apply to the Tikvah Summer Institute on God, Ethics, and American Democracy?
The Institute is open to current high school juniors and seniors enrolled in North American high schools.
What will the basic financial, room and board, and religious arrangements be?
The program is fully subsidized by the Tikvah Fund, and includes tuition, room, board and activities.
Students and faculty will be housed a short walk from the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale, which will provide three strictly kosher meals per day and where students will participate in daily prayer services.