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Born and raised in Chicago, Meir Soloveichik attended Yeshiva College in New York, studied religious philosophy at the Yale Divinity School, and earned his PhD in religion from Princeton University. He serves as Director of Yeshiva University’s Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought and as Rabbi at Congregation Shearith Israel in New York, the oldest Jewish congregation in the United States.
Soloveichik has published widely on both Jewish and American history and has lectured around the world on the intersection of religious and political thought. Most recently, Bible 365, a six-days-a-week podcast that guides listeners through the entire Hebrew Bible, has struck a deep chord among audiences religious and non-religious alike. Soloveichik has testified before the U.S. Congress on the subjects of law and religion and served as a member of the State Department’s Commission on Inalienable Human Rights.
Ever since Plato’s Republic, the study of statecraft has been a staple of Western discourse, and so has the study of particular leaders. Although Jewish scholars, thinkers, and popularizers have contributed notably to this genre, strikingly few have turned their attention to the history of Jewish leaders—that is, leaders specifically of the Jewish people—in particular.
And yet there has been no lack of such outstanding figures, from the biblical period of Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land and once again in present-day Israel or during the millennia of exile and formal Jewish statelessness in the Diaspora. This book, devoted to ten of the most colorful, fascinating, and consequential Jewish political leaders over the past three millennia, fills the gap.