Two years after he ended four decades as an elected official, and a year after he co-taught a course at the Columbia University Law School about the role of Congress in American foreign policy, Joseph Lieberman is adding another entry to his post-Senate resume.
Lieberman, who represented Connecticut in the Senate from 1989 to 2013, will lecture at Yeshiva University during the 2014-15 academic year as holder of the Joseph Lieberman Chair in Public Policy and Public Service, the school announced last week.
He will co-teach, with a yet-unnamed colleague, one undergraduate course and give three public lectures, on topics ranging from Judaism and public service to the Middle East, at schools throughout YU.
“I hope that I can combine the academic study of international relations with the personal experiences that I had,” Lieberman said. “I hope that I can convince more students to get involved in public service.”
Lieberman, 72, who moved with his wife Hadassah from Connecticut to Riverdale after leaving the Senate to live closer to their children, serves as senior counsel of law firm of Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman in Manhattan.
While he does not have so-called Potomac Fever — many men and women from across the country who leave public life in the capital stay there in their retirement years — “I do have Stamford fever,” he told The Jewish Week in a phone interview on Tuesday, referring to his longtime home. “I miss Connecticut terribly.”
“I retired from the Senate, but I didn’t retire [altogether],” Lieberman said. “You can always be productive.”
The ex-senator said he co-chairs a project on international leadership sponsored by the D.C.-based American Enterprise Institute, and serves on the advisory board of two other think tanks.
Lieberman, who represented Connecticut in the U.S. Senate from 1989 to 2013, was the first Orthodox Jew to serve in the Senate and became the first Jewish American to be named to a major political party ticket when Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore selected him as his running mate in 2000.
“Joe Lieberman was the first Jewish candidate on a national [political] ticket and has become an iconic figure — that’s important for history,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “But Joe Lieberman is much more than that. He’s a passionate Jew, a statesman and a man of integrity. And to be able to build on who he is and what he represents is critical to the multifaceted dimensionality that must be Yeshiva.”
Approached last year by Joel to be the first occupant of the academic chair that bears his name, Lieberman said he is aware of the university’s growing financial problems, which led YU earlier this summer to hand daily management of its Albert Einstein College of Medicine to the nonprofit, Bronx-based Montefiore Health System.
“It did not affect me negatively,” Lieberman said. “I have confidence that YU is dealing with its economic problems.”