Nitzotzot Program

Nitzotzot Program

BIU's Flagship Nitzotzot Program Sparks Torah and Science Dialogue

 True to its name, a pathblazing BIU initiative, Nitzotzot ­(Hebrew for "sparks") – The Presidential Forum for Torah and Science Innovations is sparking growing interest and dialogue throughout the academic community. Since its summer 2009 launching, the monthly forum has brought together scientific experts, rabbinical scholars and outstanding PhD candidates to explore how research breakthroughs impact upon Torah, and vice versa.  Recent topics include: synthetic biology and the Biblical prohibition of cross-breeding animals; the allocation of resources in voluntary organizations; the ethics of the welfare policy; and the definition of organ life.


"This is a new approach to Torah and science that has not really been tried before," explains Nitzotzot founder, Rabbi Shabtai Rappaport, who heads the Ludwig and Erica Jesselson Institute of Advanced Jewish Studies Beit Midrash. The noted halakhic expert in medicine and organ transplants believes that "a new Torah thinking should be born of every scientific discovery."


Rabbi Rappaport was ordained by the late Torah sage, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein and is a trusted editor of his writings. In 2008, the veteran Hesder Yeshiva head came to BIU with an agenda: to promote Torah and science initiatives which reflect the University's founding core goals.  The idea of Nitzotzot, he says, is to "elucidate how the latest scientific and technological breakthroughs challenge Torah thinking or shed light on halakhic and philosophical issues."


Rabbi Rappaport is also active on campus assisting the Jewish Civil Law clinic and addressing the Psychology and Judaism forum. In the Beit Midrash, he is creating a vibrant presence with thought-provoking shiurim and intimate study groups. 


"The Torah should not be apologetic, rather it should benefit from science and create new ideas," says Rabbi Shabtai Rappaport, whose flagship program, Nitzotzot, is illuminating new worlds in Torah and science


Last modified: 06/07/2010