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David Novak

holds the J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto, where he is a Professor in both the Department of the Study of Religion and the Department of Philosophy as well as a member of the Faculty of University College and of the Centre for Jewish Studies. He is also a Faculty Associate of the Centre for Ethics at the University of Toronto and was formerly the Director of the Jewish Studies Program. He is in addition a member of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics and serves on the Executive Committee of its Collaborative Program in Bioethics. He is a Governor of the Canadian Yeshiva and Rabbinical School, where he teaches philosophy and halakha in the School of Hebrew Letters.

Prior to his move to Toronto he was the Edgar M. Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies at the University of Virginia. He has also served as Rabbi of several Jewish congregations and is the President of the Union for Traditional Judaism as well as the Vice President of the Institute on Religion and Public Life. He is also a member of the Advisory Council of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, where he has formerly served as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar, a Visiting Fellow (in the James Madison Program), a Visiting Professor of Religion, and the founder of the Tikvah Summer Seminar. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture, an organization based at Seton Hall University.

Among his seventeen books are In Defense of Religious Liberty and Natural Law in Judaism. In 2008 an anthology of his writings appeared entitled Tradition in the Public Square: a David Novak Reader, and there exists a growing body of secondary literature devoted to his work. In both his scholarly work and his labors outside the academy Dr Novak endeavors to make common cause with all those who refuse to characterize as absolute the distinction between the secular and religious spheres and with those who, more generally, resist the view that religion is primarily an expression of finite human aspirations. In 2017 he delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Aberdeen. He is a Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research and of the Royal Society of Canada.


Education and conversation free from censorship, cynicism, and corruption matter. Ralston College is a place for them to happen, for human flourishing and building anew.

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