Jewish Philosophy: General Jewish Philosophy

Rabbi Elchanan Adler

Rabbi Elchanan Adler has served since 1998 as a Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, where he occupies the Eva, Morris and Jack Rubin Chair in Rabbinics. His affiliation with Yeshiva began in 1988 as a fellow of the prestigious Gruss Kollel Elyon. While there, he edited Volumes 3 and 4 of Beit Yosef Shaul, and received the Imrei Shefer writing award. Prior to his appointment as a rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Adler served as a shoel u’meishiv/sgan mashgiach (mentor/counselor to students). An accomplished speaker and writer, Rabbi Adler has lectured in communities across the country and is the author of Sefer Mitzvas HaShabbos (on the evolution of the mitzva of Shabbat, 2008), Yerach Tov (on Birkat HaChodesh, OU Press, 2014,) Asher Chanan (Discourses and Essays) and Eis Lechenina (on the Shabbos Musaf amida) as well as numerous Torah articles in both Hebrew and English on diverse topics of Jewish thought. Rabbi Adler also served as co-editor of the Torah journal, Or HaMizrach, from 2003 to 2006, overseeing the publication of seven issues of the Journal. Before joining Yeshiva, Rabbi Adler studied at Yeshivas Beis Yosef-Novardok, Mirrer Yeshiva and Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem, where he received semikha (rabbinic ordination) from Rav Dovid Feinstein. Rabbi Adler holds a BA summa cum laude in psychology from CUNY and an MS in secondary Jewish education from Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, where he received the Axelrod Scholarship Award for Academic Excellence. Rabbi Adler’s shiurim are known for their substantive content and organized presentation. His talks often combine rigorous halachic analysis with practical psychological insight. He resides in Passaic, New Jersey, with his wife Miriam, a clinical psychologist and their 5 children. Sample Titles Tefillah/Prayer Praying for the Sick: Origins and Perspectives Praying for a Miracle: Implications of a “Forgotten” Ruling in Hilchos Chanuka Dare We Make Demands of Hashem? – Insights Gleaned From Viduy Maaser, Mikra Bikurim, Birchas Kohanim and Mi SheBeirach Birchas Kohanim: From Aharon HaKohen Until the...

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Rabbi Hayyim Angel

Rabbi Hayyim Angel is the National Scholar of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals (jewishideas.org). He also teaches advanced Bible courses to undergraduates and rabbinical students at Yeshiva University, and lectures widely. He has published over 100 scholarly articles, primarily in Bible, and is author or editor of thirteen books. He received his B.A. in Jewish Studies Summa cum Laude from Yeshiva College, his M.A. in Bible from the Bernard Revel Graduate School, his M.S. in Jewish Education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education, and his Rabbinical Ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University. Sample Titles The Chosen People in an Age of Political Correctness: What does it mean? God Insists on Truth: Two of the most Audacious Biblical Prayers, and how later Rabbinic Thinkers dealt with them How Open Minded Should We Be? An Overview of Kohelet and its Controversies Rambam’s influence on Tanakh study The use of modern literary tools and scholarship in traditional Tanakh learning Ezra: the first Modern Day Rabbi Afterlife in Jewish Thought, and Implications for...

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Rabbi Kenneth Auman

Rabbi Kenneth Auman has been an adjunct professor of Jewish studies at Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University since 1993. Rabbi Auman is also spiritual leader of the Young Israel of Flatbush, where he has served since 1984. Rabbi Auman is well known among his congregants and students for his warmth, humor and impressive scholarship, and has become a highly sought-after speaker in history, halakha and hashkafa. In addition to his rabbinical and teaching roles, Rabbi Auman is active in many community causes. Rabbi Auman has served as president of the Vaad Harabonim of Flatbush, established the Kehillah Kashrus Rabbinical Board, served as rabbinic advisor to the Get organization, was president of the Rabbinical Council of America and has played an important role in maintaining the Flatbush eruv. Rabbi Auman earned a BA in Jewish studies at Yeshiva College and an MA in medieval Jewish history from Bernard Revel Graduate School in Jewish Studies. He received both Yadin Yadin and Yoreh Yoreh semikha from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Rabbi Auman previously served as spiritual leader of Young Israel of Stamford and Inwood Jewish Center. He began his teaching career at SAR Academy in the Bronx and Ramaz Upper School in Manhattan. Sample Titles ISRAEL: The modern State as heir to the ancient kingdom May one go on the Har Habayit? Does arguing with G-d make any sense? The Mitzvah of chessed Shidduchim, Bashert, and dating The Jewish wedding ceremony How does prayer work? The seudat havra’ah and other cheerful topics What’s in a name? Attempting to be an honest employer or employee Receiving blessings from angels Family Dynamics Dreams and their significance The mitzvoth of Yibbum and chalitza – Jewish continuity Kavod hamet Reward and Punishment: Is the World Fair? The Halachic Obligations of Non- Jews How Much Are We Influenced by our Surroundings? The Mitzvah of Living and Settling in the Land of Israel Does Gd Judge us on Our Present or on Our Future? Halachic...

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Rabbi Mordechai Becher

Rabbi Mordechai Becher, originally from Australia, an instructor at the James Striar School of Yeshiva University and a senior lecturer for the Gateways Organization. Rabbi Becher received his ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. He taught at Ohr Somayach, Neve Yerushalayim and Darchei Binah in Jerusalem for 15 years, served in the Israel Defence Forces and taught in a number of Rabbinic training programs. His latest book, Gateway to Judaism, published by Shaar Press, is now in its sixth printing. Rabbi Becher has lectured for the UJA, Jewish Federations, the Zionist Organization of America, Hillel and is on the speakers’ bureau of the Israeli Consulate in New York. Rabbi Becher has answered thousands of questions on the Ask-the-Rabbi website, and has taught in Canada, the United States, England, Israel, South Africa, Australia and Russia. Sample Titles “An Eye For An Eye”: What Does it Really Mean? What If We Found Moshe’s Tefillin – Archaeology and Halachah Occupied or Liberated: Whose Land Is It Anyway? Jewish State or State for Jews? The Ideal of a Jewish State in Jewish Thought Cloning in Halachah “Triage” Rationing Resources, and Priorities in Medical Emergencies The Sabbath : Who Invented the Weekend Anyway? Exile of the Body, Exile of the Soul: The Exodus as a Metaphor. Freewill and Conditioning: A Delicate Balance. Jewish Law in a Non-Jewish Society Strings Attached: The Mitzvah of Tzitzit From Cairo to Cambridge: Jewish Treasures of Egypt (Cairo Genizah A/V) A Prophet for Our Time: The Life and Philosophy of Rabbi Samson Raphael...

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Rabbi Yosef Blau

Rabbi Yosef Blau has been mashgiach ruchani (spiritual guidance counselor) at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University since 1977. He also serves as spiritual guidance counselor for students at Yeshiva College. Rabbi Blau earned a BA in 1959 from Yeshiva College and an MS at Yeshiva’s Belfer Graduate School of Science in 1960. He was ordained at RIETS in 1961. Rabbis Blau is president of the Religious Zionists of America and served as national president of Yavneh, the National Religious Jewish Students’ Association. He is a former national vice president of the National Conference of Yeshiva Principals. An author of many articles on Jewish thought, Rabbi Blau became a member of the Orthodox Forum in 1989. He is a former member of the executive board of the Orthodox Caucus, was a delegate from the Religious Zionists of America to the World Zionist Congress and was elected a member of the Vaad Hapoel of the World Zionist Organization. Sample Titles Preserving the Jewish Character of Israel Challenges facing religious Zionism Halakhic Responses to scientific, economic, and social changes in society Women’s role in Orthodox Judaism The ethical dimension in Judaism Relating to non-Orthodox Jews Living in democratic America: An Orthodox Jewish perspective Moshe and Aharon: Balancing Truth and Peace Religion and Superstition A historical analysis of Orthodoxy in...

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Rabbi Benjamin Blech

Rabbi Benjamin Blech, a Maggid-shiur at Yeshiva University, is an internationally recognized educator, religious leader, author and lecturer. He has written 12 highly acclaimed and best-selling books, with combined sales of close to half a million copies, including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Judaism and Understanding Judaism: The Basics of Deed and Creed, which was chosen by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations as the single best book on Judaism in our generation. Together with an accompanying six-hour video, filmed by the producers of 20/20 and featuring Rabbi Blech, Understanding Judaism: The Basics of Deed and Creed is used in study groups in numerous synagogues and universities around the country. His book Taking Stock: A Spiritual Guide to Rising Above Life’s Financial Ups and Downs was featured in a full-page article in the New York Times and his If God is Good, Why Is The World So Bad? has been translated into Indonesian, where it has had a powerful reception in the wake of the country’s tsunami. Rabbi Blech’s most recent book is The Sistine Chapel: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican. Coinciding with the 500th anniversary of Michelangelo’s starting work on the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, this groundbreaking book is already the subject of huge interest, discussion and controversy. Translated into 15 languages, available in 25 countries, a first printing of 100,000 copies by HarperOne, movie and TV rights presently in negotiation with three major film companies and with national TV coverage, this major work proves that Michelangelo incorporated many teachings of Jewish Midrash and Kabbalah into the Sistine Chapel. As a result of a personal meeting with the late Pope John Paul II, Rabbi Blech was instrumental in securing the loan of Jewish manuscripts for exhibition in Israel and he is involved in further negotiations for the return of precious Judaica held by the Vatican that may prove to be of historic significance. Rabbi Blech, a 10th generation rabbi, is rabbi emeritus...

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Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander

Rabbi Dr. Kenneth (Kenny) Brander is Vice President for University and Community Life at Yeshiva University.  He concurrently serves as the inaugural David Mitzner Dean of Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future. The CJF shapes, enriches and inspires the contemporary Jewish community by convening the resources of Yeshiva. It does so by infusing the student body with the spirit of leadership and a sense of klal Yisrael. CJF serves to build, cultivate and support communities, rabbinic and lay leaders, and individuals. Furthermore, CJF is creating a global movement that promotes the values of Yeshiva. Rabbi Brander is rabbi emeritus of the Boca Raton Synagogue, founding dean of the Boca Raton Community Kollel and founder of the Weinbaum Yeshiva High School of Broward and Palm Beach counties. During his 14 years of service to that community, he oversaw its explosive growth from 60 families to some 600 families. Rabbi Brander is a 1984 alumnus of Yeshiva College and received his ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in 1986. At RIETS, he had the distinction of serving as personal aide to the esteemed Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. He also received special ordination from Machon Puah, a center of medical ethics in Israel, and from former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu in the field of medical ethics. He received his PhD in general philosophy from Florida Atlantic University. Sample Titles Playing God: Can I Choose my Child? PGD and Genetic Screening – A Torah Perspective My Egg, My Husband, Her Womb, Whose Child? The Ethics of Reproductive Medicine Through the Prism of Jewish Law The Ethics of Reproductive Medicine in Jewish Law: A Torah Perspective End of Life Issues Through the Prism of Halakhah Fertility Procedures The Gift of Life: Donating Organs; A Jewish Perspective Our Health and Well-being: Compassionate and Halakhic Treatment of the Terminally Ill Patient Stem Cell Research – The Definition of Life as seen in Parshat Mishpatim Ethics of War “Is Zionism Diametrically Opposed to Judaism?” Contemporary...

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Rabbi Ozer Glickman

Rabbi Ozer Glickman is a rosh yeshiva at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University, where he has been teaching Talmud and halakha to semikha students since 2000. He has also taught Halakha and American legal theory at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and is affiliated with its Program in Jewish Law and Interdisciplinary Studies. Rabbi Glickman is former senior vice president of strategic risk management and global head of corporate treasury for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and is an expert in investment risk management. Rabbi Glickman’s talmidim have remained extremely devoted to him and to spreading his words of Torah long after graduation. These students publish a weekly sicha from Rabbi Glickman, which is available by e-mail and on yutorah.org. Rabbi Glickman received his BA in philosophy from Columbia University and has pursued graduate studies in philosophy and religion at the University of Toronto. He also holds an MBA in finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University, where he was a University Fellow. Rabbi Glickman studied at Yeshivat Merkaz ha-Rav and received rabbinic ordination from RIETS, as well as from leading rabbinic figures in Israel and the Diaspora. In addition to his academic and financial pursuits, Rabbi Glickman commits himself to service to the Jewish community. He is chairman of the educational advisory committee of Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah in Israel. Rabbi Glickman has lectured widely on topics ranging from personal finance to Jewish philosophy and the laws of Shabbat. Sample Titles What happened to God in Modern Orthodoxy? Can Spirituality co-exist with Personal Ambition in a Materialist Society? Lessons for Jewish Leadership from the Global Economic Crisis History, Philosophy, or Fantasy: Unpacking Midrashei Aggadah Recalcitrant Husbands, Abusive Wives, and the Halachos of Divorce: A Report from the Front Lines Halachic Riddles and Enigmas in the Halachos of [Kiddush, Tefillah, Shabbos, or any other Orach Chayim topic] The Jurisprudence of Nezikin: The Inner Philosophy of Jewish Civil Law The Jurisprudence...

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Rabbi Meir Goldwicht

Rabbi Meir Goldwicht, a prominent Israeli scholar and educator, is the Joel and Maria Finkle Visiting Israeli Rosh Yeshiva and a rosh yeshiva at the Yeshiva Program/Mazer School of Talmudic Studies at Yeshiva University. He is also head rosh yeshiva at the Irving I. Stone Beit Midrash Program. Rabbi Goldwicht received semikha from the renowned rabbinic authorities Rabbi Zalman Nehemia Goldberg, former Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem HaRav HaGaon Betzallel Zolti and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, HaRav Rashi of Israel. Rabbi Goldwicht delivers Hebrew and English shiurim (lectures) extensively across the metropolitan area, throughout the United States and in Israel, including weekly evening shiurim in 5 New York area communities. He has delivered more than 1,000 inspiring shiurim every year to grateful audiences. Rabbi Goldwicht is also rosh kollel at Camp Mesorah. Sample Titles Chazal’s Perspective on Daily Life Situations The Secret of the Strength and Power of our People, from Megillat Esther Until Today Greek Culture Then and Now Yerushalayim Kisei Hashem, Yesterday and Today in the Perspective of Chazal...

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Rabbi David Horwitz

Rabbi David Horwitz is a rosh yeshiva and the Rabbi Dovid Lifshitz Professor of Talmud at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University. He also is an instructor of Jewish history and Jewish philosophy at Yeshiva College and teaches an advanced shiur (lecture) for the Yeshiva Program/Mazer School of Talmudic Studies. In 1997, Rabbi Horwitz received Yeshiva’s 13th Annual Moshe and Madelaine Baumel Judaic Faculty Incentive Award, which honors outstanding Jewish studies educators at the University and RIETS. Rabbi Horwitz is an alumnus of Yeshiva University High School for Boys (where he won the National Bible Contest, Chidon Hatanach), Yeshiva College, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and received his semikha (rabbinic ordination) from RIETS, where he was a fellow of the Gruss Kollel Elyon. Sample Titles Issues in Sefiras HaOmer Inyanei Pesach Halachic Issues in Japan Sefirat HaOmer – Is Verbalization Necessary? Halakha and the Scientific Revolution Rav Horowitz Sefer Hamadda Human Effort and Determinism in Ralbag Memories of the Rav Torah Umadda Rambam vs The Chachmei Ashkenaz on the Haggadah – some surprising differences An Argument of Rav and Shmuel – Matchil B’Gnut U’Lsayem B’Shevach – Spiritual Redemption and Talmud Torah The Corporate Completeness of Kelal...

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