Jewish University Petitions Supreme Court To Protect Its 'Freedom To Apply the Torah'

Request comes after New York Supreme Court ruled Yeshiva University must recognize LGBT student group

Yeshiva University students (Getty Images)
August 29, 2022

The nation's oldest Jewish university filed an emergency request at the Supreme Court on Monday to challenge a lower court ruling that would force it to recognize an LGBT student club.

Yeshiva University filed the petition after the New York Supreme Court ruled in June that the New York City school must certify the LGBT student group, claiming the school is technically non-religious because it offers degrees in secular disciplines. The university administration had denied a student-led attempt to start an LGBT pride group on campus, which the school said would violate its religious beliefs. Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, said the school is a deeply religious institution that wants the government to recognize its "freedom to apply the Torah."

"The Torah guides everything that we do at Yeshiva—from how we educate students to how we run our dining halls to how we organize our campus," Berman said. "We care deeply for and welcome all our students, including our LGBTQ students, and continue to be engaged in a productive dialogue with our Rabbis, faculty, and students on how we apply our Torah values to create an inclusive campus environment. "

Religious liberty advocates have landed several victories at the Supreme Court in recent years. The Court in June ruled 6-3 in favor of a high school football coach whom school officials warned to stop praying on the field after games. The Court last year also ruled in favor of a Catholic adoption agency that claimed it could not work with same-sex couples because of its religious beliefs.

Yeshiva University was founded in 1886 under the Torah Umadda philosophy that encourages Jews to participate in secular culture as they express their religious values.