Rabbi Norman Lamm, who assumed the presidency of Yeshiva University in 1976, sought to clarify the mission of the institution by using as its tagline the phrase Torah U'Madda–denoting the dual aim of providing traditional Jewish study (Torah) along with a standard college curriculum (Madda, meaning knowledge). It would replace the word "Synthesis," which generations of students, including Lamm himself, had found vague and confusing. Lamm launched what he called the Torah U'Madda Project, which ultimately included a campus lecture series, an annual journal, and a book entitled: Torah Umadda: The Encounter of Religious Learning and Worldly Knowledge in the Jewish Tradition. While denying any intention to construct a hard-and-fast institutional philosophy on how to integrate Orthodox Judaism and secular higher education, Lamm insisted that serious exposure to both Torah knowledge and the arts and sciences fulfilled the Torah's mandate to understand and appreciate all aspects of God's world. Lamm's initiative failed, however, because economic conditions induced many students to forsake the liberal arts for vocational and pre-professional courses, and the trend to the right in American Orthodoxy–expressed by rabbis at Yeshiva itself and abetted by the year or more spent at Israeli yeshivot before college–stressed single–minded concentration on Torah study and justified secular education only for the purpose of making a living.


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