• History of YU

  •  Norman Lamm

    Dr. Norman Lamm

    Dr. Norman Lamm—a distinguished rabbi, philosopher, teacher and author—was elected president of Yeshiva University in August of 1976, succeeding Dr. Samuel Belkin and Dr. Bernard Revel. He was the University's third president and the first native-born American to head the nation's oldest and most comprehensive institution of higher learning under Jewish auspices. He served as chancellor and rosh ha-Yeshiva of YU's affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary from 2003 until his retirement on June 30, 2013.

    Born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1927, Dr. Lamm received his elementary and high school education at Yeshiva and Mesivta Torah Vodaath. In 1945, he entered Yeshiva College where he continued his Jewish learning and undertook a liberal arts program with a major in chemistry. He graduated summa cum laude in 1949 and was class valedictorian.

    Upon graduation, Dr. Lamm pursued advanced scientific studies at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn while continuing his Judaic studies and rabbinic scholarship at Yeshiva. He was ordained as a rabbi at YU's affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in 1951 and earned a PhD in Jewish philosophy from the University's Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies in 1966.

    During the 17 years preceding his election as president, Dr. Lamm served on the Yeshiva University faculty, culminating in his appointment as the Erna and Jakob Michael Professor of Jewish Philosophy in 1966.

    The author of 10 books, Dr. Lamm has gained wide recognition for his writings and discourses on interpretation of Jewish philosophy and law, especially in relation to problems involving science, technology and philosophy in the modern world.

    Dr. Lamm's writings and teachings on Jewish law have been cited in two landmark decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court: the 1966 Miranda decision regarding police interrogation of suspects held in custody and a 1967 case involving guarantees against self-incrimination. Also in 1967, Dr. Lamm testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee on the right of privacy from the perspective of Jewish law.

    Please visit the Lamm Heritage Web site to learn more about Dr. Lamm's thought and work.

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