The Jewish Theological Seminary has received a grant from the Tikvah Fund to create the Tikvah Institute for Jewish Thought, an academic and public program devoted to a searching intellectual encounter between the best sources of Western and Jewish reflection on the deepest problems of human life.
JTS was selected by the Tikvah Fund based on its academic excellence and its mission to advance Jewish life in the modern world. In addition to its orientation as an "engaged academy," JTS has unparalleled scholarly resources, one of the largest concentrations of Jewish Studies experts outside of Israel, and a student body poised to become the next generation of Jewish intellectuals, communal leaders, rabbis, and educators.
The initial focus of the Institute will be an educational program for the general JTS student body, focusing on how Jews have framed and attempted to answer the "big questions." At the heart of the program will be a team-taught course featuring JTS professors from the History, Jewish Thought, and Jewish Literature departments. There will also be a two-semester seminar for a select group of "Tikvah Scholars" on contemporary Jewish philosophy. Leading exponents of Jewish thought will be invited to campus to interact with the Tikvah Scholars and to give lectures open to the general public.
The Tikvah Institute will coordinate with JTS's Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies to organize conferences and promote events devoted to Jewish thought.
The program will begin in full in 2010-2011; 2009-2010 will be a start-up year in which the professors and administrators involved in the program will meet to plan the core courses and surrounding activities.
The mission of the Tikvah Fund is to promote serious Jewish thought about the enduring questions of human life and the pressing challenges that confront the Jewish people. Previous recipients of Tikvah Fund grants include Princeton University and New York University.
Further information about the Tikvah Institute is available by contacting Dr. Alan Mittleman, director of the Tikvah Institute and chairman of JTS's Department of Jewish Thought, at (212) 678-8054.