Rabbi Elijah Zvi Soloveitchik in Yahadut Lita: Temunot ve-Tsiyunim (Jerusalem: Mosad ha-Rav Kook, 1959)(Courtesy Menachem Butler)

Peter Salovey’s ascension to the presidency of Yale University, historically and foundationally not the most warm or Jewish of institutions, was yet another impressive flourish for the Soloveitchik family crest of rabbinic sages and leaders. But as Shaul Magid reports, there is one Soloveitchik that no one seems to talk about.

But what went unmentioned in the celebratory genealogy is that Salovey’s forgotten forebear, R. Elijah Zvi Soloveitchik, was forgotten for a reason: his love of Jesus Christ. Indeed, Rabbi Elijah Zvi Soloveitchik (aka Elias Soloweyczyk, 1805-1881), the grandson of R. Hayyim of Volozhin, was an enigmatic traditional rabbi who in the middle decades of the 19th century wrote a commentary to parts of the New Testament (Mark and Matthew) and a book, Kol Kore, which argues for the symmetry between Judaism and Christianity and claims that there is nothing in Christianity that is alien to Judaism.

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