The Tikvah Scholar-in-Residence Program

The Tikvah Scholar-in-Residence Program is directed at outstanding graduates and young scholars interested in spending a year of research, writing and learning in the company of some of the most gifted and creative scholars in the field of Law and Jewish Civilization.

Application Process: See detailed information for prospective Scholars on how to apply to the Tikvah Scholars Program.

Intellectual Life of The Tikvah Scholar Program

The Program consists of the following strands:

The Tikvah Scholar Forum: Center Directors Moshe Halbertal and Joseph Weiler lead a forum series on the theme that reflect upon the Mission Statement of the Center, with 5 sessions each semester, to teach the Scholars how to think, question, differentiate, internalize, and communicate complex issues pertaining to Law & Jewish Civilization. The Forum thus provides essential, heuristic tools for the Scholars to become and serve as responsible, independent thinkers at the forefront of each academic field as well as in the general public setting. The principal texts and discussions will always be in English. (Sample texts include: Biblical and Rabbinic Literature, Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, Mendelssohn’s Jerusalem, The Declaration of the Independence of Israel, and recent proposals for a Constitution of the State of Israel). The previous Forum themes include: “Judaism and Constitution, Judaism as Constitution”; “Intersection between Legal and Jewish Hermeneutics”; “Reconsidering the Private and Public Spheres in Law & Jewish Civilization”; “Religious Law and the Challenge of Science and Contemporary Mores."

The Mentorship and Writing Project: Each of the Scholars will be mentored by one of the Tikvah Fellows in residence and expected to engage in a research or reflection exercise resulting in a paper or article within the broad theme of Law & Jewish Civilization. The previous Tikvah Fellows include: ProfessorsYehoyada Amir (Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem), Gary Anderson (University of Notre Dame), Elisheva Carlebach (Columbia University), Robert Chazan (New York University), Ruth Gavison (Hebrew University), Moshe Idel (Hebrew University), James Kugel (Harvard/Bar-Ilan University), Charles Leben (University of Paris II), Benjamin Sommer (Jewish Theological Seminary), Michael Walzer (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton), and Gerald Blidstein (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev).

Reading Groups: Each semester, there will be three small reading groups, each led by a volunteering Tikvah Fellow. The Fellow selects a text of his/her own interest toward the beginning of the designated semester, and meets with his/her mentees as well as others who are interested in joining the group, four or five times throughout the semester, for approximately one hour each session. (In past years groups have read, for example, The Epistle to the Romans, Syriac Christian texts, The Mishneh Torah, Hegel on law, Rosenzweig’s The Star of Redemption, Habermas’ Theory and Practice, and Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age).

Integration with the Tikvah Intellectual Community: The Scholars are fully integrated into The Tikvah Center and are invited to participate in all intellectual and social activities of the Center, including the Tikvah Public Lecture Series, Tikvah Fellows Workshops, and Tikvah Afternoon Teas. Through a variety of such occasions, formal and informal alike, the Scholars will closely interact with the distinguished members of the Center.

In all the activities of the Scholars we try to remain faithful to the basic vision of The Tikvah Center. This is not a training program for future teachers of Jewish Law – though some of the scholars might be that. It tries to sensitize, familiarize and intellectually excite future teachers of any subject of law to the enriching effect of Law and Jewish Civilization to all legal endeavor. For the non-lawyer component of scholars (many of the doctoral candidates are not from law schools) it tries to demystify law, remove the fear of law (“I am not a lawyer” syndrome) and show, in all the above three ways and notably by example of the senior fellows many of whom are not lawyers, that law, including Jewish law is too important to leave to lawyers alone. We want future teachers of Jewish Law to have a much broader conception of their field; we want future teachers of law generally, to have an inroad to the richness and accessibility of Jewish Civilization; we want future teacher of Judaica generally, to shed legal phobias and be open to the richness of Jewish legal resources to their discipline.

Our hope is that an appreciable percentage of Tikvah Scholars will end up as educators and scholars and that their substantial experience as Tikvah Scholars will mark their identity as scholars and educators for years to come.