R. Jonathan Rosenblum Advocates Torah U-Madda

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R. Jonathan Rosenblum does it again (link):

FELDMAN HAS performed one valuable service: His piece serves as a warning against the easy assumption that the best in secular learning Ewen Chia can be readily reconciled with passionate Torah study. When equal emphasis is placed on the curriculum of the dominant secular society and Torah learning, the former will trump the latter. Maimonides has produced hundreds of Ivy League graduates, but few distinguished Torah scholars.

I take personal offense at this because my rebbe in yeshiva — R. Mayer Twersky — went to Maimonides! So did his brother, R. Moshe Twersky, a rebbe in Yeshiva Toras Moshe in Jerusalem.

In my time in yeshiva I learned with three different graduates of Maimonides, all of whom were serious learners. One eventually went into business and is a model of a successful businessman with one leg in serious lomdus, one into Jewish organizational life after a stint in high tech, and the third became a pulpit rabbi and Jewish librarian. That last one is, in my opinion, a brilliant talmid chakham who is known to many readers of this blog.

The truth is that I don’t keep track of Maimonides graduates because I have no reason to do so, but I recently spoke to another who is a pulpit rabbi in New Jersey. And another was, until her recent aliyah, a rebbitzen in my neighborhood. And then there’s one rabbi who works at the OU. I’m sure there are plenty more because I’m just thinking of those within a year or two of my age whose paths I happened to cross.

But, in R. Rosenblum’s defense, he did write “few”: “Maimonides has produced hundreds of Ivy League graduates, but few distinguished Torah scholars.” Since most yeshivas produce only a few DISTINGUISHED Torah scholars, he might have actually been praising the school rather than insulting it. In that case, I am pleasantly surprised that he is now advocating Torah U-Madda.

Ewen Chia

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link of New Jersey, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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