A Soloveitchik heading YU — as in Yale University!? (Peter Salovey’s rabbinic roots)
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A Soloveitchik heading YU — as in Yale University!? (Peter Salovey’s rabbinic roots)

Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik never served as president of Yeshiva University. But until his death in 1993 (and some would say even until today), the Rav served as the school’s — and Modern Orthodoxy’s — religious leader.

His late brother, Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik, was also an important figure at Y.U. and in the Modern Orthodox world. And his great nephew (Rabbi Ahron’s grandson), Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, is a leading light of his generation of Y.U. rabbis, armed with a PhD from Princeton.

So it wouldn’t surprise me to read one day that a Soloveitchik (more to the point, a Soloveichik) had become the president of Y.U.

But of Yale? [[READ MORE]]

According to the Yale Daily News, the school’s incoming president, Peter Salovey, is a descendant of Chaim Soloveitchik Volozhin, the founder of the groundbreaking Volozhin Yeshiva (and great-great-grandfather of Joseph and Ahron):

At the turn of the 20th century, the Soloveitchik family fractured into three. One section of the family became leading proponents of ultra-Orthodox Jewry. They rejected modernity and formed Yeshivas in Israel and the United States which attract the sharpest minds of the ultra-Orthodox world. Another branch embraced Joseph’s ideology of synthesis — balancing the traditional with the modern.

A third branch of the family took a different approach. They embraced modernity and fully involved themselves in secular culture. They Americanized and changed their name — to Salovey.

Suddenly that Yale emblem is making more and more sense.