Why Religious Freedom Matters

In this interview, Rabbi Soloveichik explains why religious freedom in America is so important to Jews generally and to him personally.

Ask Rabbi Meir Soloveichik about his congregation, and he’ll tell you about 23, 17th-century Jews who can thank pirates and the French for landing in New York. Ask him about religious freedom, and he’ll tell you about the Revolutionary War.

Historical references, as well as references to The Simpsons, Monty Python and the scriptures, come easily to the rabbi, who rarely comments on the world today without mentioning the past.

“We’re only in 1730,” he said, already 20 minutes into answering a question about his congregation’s beautiful synagogue on the western border of Central Park.

Rabbi Soloveichik, 40, stands out because of his sense of history. But the decision to award him the 2018 Canterbury Medal, an honor given to someone who advances the cause of conscience rights, has more to do with his future potential, according to Bill Mumma, CEO and board chairman of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which sponsors the annual award.

“He’s young and he’s in a leadership role,” Mumma said. “We can see him playing a stronger and stronger role outside of the Jewish community in the fight for religious liberty.”

Continue reading this interview at Deseret News.

Why religious freedom is so important to Jews and to Rabbi Soloveichik.

Why religious freedom is so important to Jews and to Rabbi Soloveichik.