Year-In-Israel - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Kickstart your future as a Jewish leader today

The Year-in-Israel program is mandatory for all first-year rabbinical, cantorial, MARE, and MAJE students. Matriculation into the Year-In-Israel program is conditioned upon passing a Hebrew language competency examination. The program begins in early July and culminates in May of the following year.


  1. An understanding of the structure of the Hebrew language which will serve our students in mediating between the sources of Judaism and the North American Jewish community.
  1. An encounter with Israel which leaves the students informed, enthused and energized about the challenges of statehood and the implications of peoplehood.
  1. The acquisition of basic textual skills which allows the successful continuation of studies in the U.S.
  1. An exploration of the students' religious and spiritual identities, with special emphasis on Reform Judaism.
  1. The provision of professional skills and the encouragement of a self-consciousness as future Jewish professionals within the community.


Studies are full time with classroom study 5 days a week, Sun thorough Thursday, divided between core courses, professional courses and a weekly First Year Seminar. Other requirements include tefillah, inquiry groups, field study trips, a mid-year colloquium, and community service project.

Core Courses:

  • Cantillation of the Torah
  • Classical Grammar
  • The Geography, Chronology and Selected Polemics of Biblical History
  • Introduction to Bible
  • Introduction to Liturgy Lecture
  • Introduction to Liturgy Shiur
  • Modern Hebrew
  • Modern Jewish History
  • Rabbinic Texts (Rabbinical and Education students only)
  • Second Temple through Late Antiquity History
  • Seminar - Israeli Society: Its multiple voices and search for solidarity

Professional Courses

Rabbinic, MARE, and MAJE:

  • Rabbinic Texts
  • Second Temple through Late Antiquity History


  • Cantorial Workshop
  • History of Jewish Music
  • Israeli Folk and Popular Songs
  • Musicianship
  • Cantorial Coaching


  • Education Seminar

First Year Seminar - Israeli Society: Its multiple voices and search for solidarity: For one day a week, Israel is the classroom, as students explore aspects of Judaism and the Jewish State as part of the Richard J. Scheuer Seminar. Some days studies take place on campus and many others there are site visits of various kinds. Learning techniques include text study sessions, film, independent research and more. Two of the extended field study trips are part of the wider course. Requirements include two research papers and active participation. Sessions tend to run from 8:30am until 4:00pm throughout the year. Subjects include Religion and State, Life Cycle and Zionism.

The Mandel Initiative for Visionary Leadership provides structured opportunities in the curriculum for students to integrate their academic and clinical learning in a more meaningful way and to build on that integration in shaping their personal Jewish identities and their professional aspirations. During the Year-in-Israel, the focus is on Israel and Jewish Peoplehood, reflecting the centrality of those ideas and ideals in the  learning and experiences of students spending their first year of studies in Israel.