• The Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought

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    Over the course of the year, the Straus Center hosts “Great Conversations" on Religion and Democracy Building on the Theme of Biblical Ideas and American Democracy. In addition to hosting events, the Straus Center is also a publisher of several books and organizes Shabbat events. Learn more about our events and publication endeavors below.

    Shabbat and Weekend Events

    The Straus Center organizes a series of lectures and panels in Jewish communities throughout North America featuring the director of the Straus Center as well as other rabbis, theologians and academics. These lectures feature, each in its own way, the bridging of Jewish thought and the Western intellectual tradition. On Shabbatot and/or Sundays, audiences are asked to engage disciplines such as history, economics, politics, philosophy and literature from a perspective grounded in Torah. Along with the lectures, further reading on the subjects addressed are distributed to the community, so that members of these communities can continue to engage the subjects addressed over Shabbat.

    Subjects include:

    Jefferson, Adams and the Jews
    What If Shylock Came to Bet Din?: The Merchant of Venice Revisited
    The Talmudic Marriage of Henry VIII
    Lord Jakobovits and Margaret Thatcher: The Story of a Philosophical Friendship
    The Scandalous Yichus of the Jewish Messiah
    Locusts, Giraffes and the Meaning of Kashrut
    Can Hate Be a Virtue?
    A Nation Under God: Jews, Christians and the American Public Square
    The Return of the King: J. R. R. Tolkien and Jewish Messianism
    Yiddish: Metaphysics of a Mameloshn

    Book Projects

    The Straus Center is currently overseeing the preparation, composition and publication of several books that can have an important impact on the intellectual formation of religious Jews as well as all serious students of the Jewish intellectual tradition. Subjects include Jewish theology, the engagement by prominent Torah figures of academic disciplines and the influence of biblical ideas on the development of American public life. Each one of these books will not just deepen the reader’s understanding of Judaism but also illustrate how Jewish ideas have, and can continue to, profoundly impact the world.

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