Even as the twentieth century will be remembered for the West’s loss of faith, Jewish Orthodoxy itself experienced in that very time a golden age of leaders and teachers who sought to bridge the world of Torah and that of the West. Some of these Torah figures were deeply impacted by an academic field, such as philosophy or literature. Others developed a Torah-based perspective on developments within the West, such as the rise of Zionism, democracy, or biotechnology. Still others reflected on the very nature of religious knowledge itself.
The Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University invited twenty-first century thinkers to paint an intellectual portraits of these luminaries, illustrating how each figure bridged the worlds of Torah and the West in a unique way. The essays would thereby serve to inspire Orthodox Jews and all intellectually engaged individuals of faith to learn from their lives, and to have the courage to bridge these worlds as well. Great thinkers examined include Rabbi Yehuda Amital, Rabbi Yitzchak Herzog, Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, Prof. Nechama Leibowitz, Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein, Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and Rabbi Dr. Isadore Twersky. With essays by contemporary thinkers Rabbi Shalom Carmy, Dr. Carmi Horowitz, Dr. Alan Jotkowitz, Dr. Yehudah Mirsky, Dr. Daniel Rynhold, Dr. David Shatz, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Yael Unterman, Rabbi Itamar Warhaftig, Rabbi Reuven Ziegler, and Rabbi Shlomo Zuckier.