By: Yakov Stone  | 

RAFT Hosts Discussion with Aaron Koller on Biblical Creation in the Modern World

In its opening event of the year, RAFT hosted a discussion with Professor Aaron Koller about approaches to resolving the apparent contradictions between modern science and the creation narrative in the first three chapters of Genesis. Over forty students attended the event, held in Rubin Shul, during which Professor Koller presented medieval Jewish thinkers who argued that the creation story ought to be read non-literally as well as the lessons that this kind of reading teaches.

RAFT (Religious Approaches to Faith and Theology) is a new student group which aims to promote discussion of Orthodox theology at YU. RAFT is beginning its first full year at YU, and the group hopes to offer monthly events that will take place on both campuses. Benny Aivazi, one of the co-founders of RAFT, described participants in RAFT events as “a group of students who are interested in creating a forum for discussing the major questions pertaining to Orthodox Judaism and having them addressed from an orthodox perspective.” The group intends to focus on the creation of productive debate of theological topics at events.

Shlomo Fried, a new student who was impressed by the RAFT event, said that he “appreciated how Professor Koller opened up a discussion after the presentation was over. Everyone at the event got to hear new ideas and approaches to the problems we discussed,” he explained. Many students spoke with Professor Koller after the event, and the event even attracted non-YU students who came to hear the discussion.

Part of RAFT’s vision is to foster these intellectual discussions at their events. When questioned about the types of events that RAFT might provide in the future, Mr. Aivazi said, “We are hoping to run more events similar to the one we just had in the sense that we want there to be a lecture component with time afterwards for discussions and questions. It is important to us that we create a space for discussion where we can seriously engage with all kinds of questions in a respectful and sincere way.” For future events, RAFT hopes to bring in both professors at YU and other speakers who are knowledgeable about the topics RAFT aims to discuss. There is no concrete plan yet, but students should look out for an event scheduled right after the break.