The Rabbinical School
The Rabbinical School offers a five-year program of full-time graduate study leading to the Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters degree and ordination. Students admitted to the rabbinical program are required to spend their first academic year at the College-Institute's campus in Jerusalem. Students may be required, based upon an examination, to begin the year in Israel prior to the regular academic year. In rare instances, students with exceptional backgrounds in Hebrew and cognate studies may be exempt from the Year-in-Israel Program and given advanced standing in other areas on the basis of examinations.
Upon successful completion of the Year-in-Israel Program, students return to one of the three American campuses to which they had been assigned upon admission to the Rabbinical School. The Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York Schools offer four-year programs leading to the M.A.H.L. degree and ordination.
A one-year program (not counted towards the normal five-year rabbinical course) is available under the auspices of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education in Los Angeles to rabbinical students at all stateside campuses who wish to specialize in Jewish education. New York rabbinical students may pursue a Jewish education Masters degree through the New York School of Education alongside their rabbinical classes. Students in Cincinnati may pursue a secular Masters in Education degree with Xavier College. A fourteen-month program (not counted towards the normal five-year rabbinical course) is available under the auspices of the Daniel School of Jewish Communal Service for rabbinical students who wish to earn the Master of Arts in Jewish Communal Service. A special Ph.D. program linked to the Rabbinical School is offered in Cincinnati in conjunction with the School of Graduate Studies.
Admissions procedures for the Rabbinical School are uniform - regardless of campus placement. Information may be obtained from the National Office of Admissions in Cincinnati.
A Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university or its equivalent is a prerequisite for admission. While there is no set standard for academic achievement, potential candidates should have at least a 3.0 grade-point average (4.0 scale), two years of college level Hebrew, and outstanding Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. No particular academic major is preferred. Our finest candidates are those with substantial involvement in the Jewish community, academic success, knowledge of basic Modern Hebrew, interpersonal skills, and a commitment to Reform Judaism.
Application packets are distributed to candidates, upon request, from September through December of the academic year prior to the year in which one plans to matriculate. When an individual requests an application, a preliminary interview will be scheduled with one of the Admission Officers. The deadline for submitting application materials is dependent upon the session and place of interview (materials are usually due by December or February depending on the time of interview). Please consult the National Office of Admissions or the application itself for the current interview session dates.
The application file consists of background information on the candidate, official academic transcripts from all universities attended as well as from high school, an autobiographical essay, a Jewish Test, five letters of recommendation (two academic, one Judaic, and one Professional and one Judaic or Professional), scores from the GRE, a medical report, an application fee, and other administrative elements.
Once all necessary materials are submitted and accepted, an interview may be scheduled during one of two interview sessions (available at all campuses) - typically in January and in March. For our international candidates (not including Israel), alternate arrangements, in special cases, may be made available through our National Office.
During the interview session, each applicant will participate in an interview with the Admissions Committee and in psychological testing by a psychologist selected by the College-Institute. At the time of interview, candidates will also be required to take the Hebrew proficiency examination. Applicants should be able to demonstrate the equivalence of a year of college-level Modern Hebrew. While admission is not dependent upon the results of the examination, matriculation may be delayed. Interested candidates should not begin the application process until they are confident in their elementary Hebrew proficiency.
Candidates for the Rabbinical School are urged to consult with rabbinical alumni of HUC-JIR. Upon request, the National Office of Admissions or any of the Admissions Offices at the various centers of learning will be pleased to provide the names of alumni in the candidate's area.
If you have interest in the Rabbinical School, please contact any of our offices for more information. It is recommended that you be in contact with an Admissions Officer at least one year prior to the year in which you plan to apply (two academic years before matriculation).
The Rabbinical School operates on a semester basis. Before each term, students arrange their programs in accordance with curricular rules governing the course sequence and the number of credits that may be obtained in any one semester. All programs must be approved by the dean.
A candidate for ordination must present an acceptable rabbinical thesis on a subject which has been previously approved by the faculty.
Courses are organized on a unit system.
In addition to units taken for credit, students may audit courses with the permission of the department chairman and/or dean.
For specific information regarding the fulfillment of course requirements, credits, etc., please consult the Student Handbook of the appropriate campus.
With the prior approval of the director of the rabbinical school or the dean, students may enroll in graduate courses at another university during the academic year.
The academic goals and standards of the rabbinical program offered at each of the schools are, insofar as possible, identical. The specific course structure, however, while aiming for equivalence, differs in details at each of the campuses. For details, consult the Rabbinical Program under each of the schools.
New Initiatives for the Rabbinical Curriculum
A Planning Committee of faculty representatives of all campuses and alumni is immersed in the shaping of a new Three-Year Core Curriculum for all rabbinical students, irrespective of campus. After a year of intensive strategic planning which included gathering input from all the major constituencies of our school and movement, the Planning Committee is devoted to shaping a curriculum which builds on the improvements made over the last several years. Its mission is to maximize the academic, professional, and religious growth of our students, and to help students better integrate all aspects of their learning, while bringing greater uniformity to the educational experience across our four campuses.
To this end, the Planning Committee had devoted itself to several key goals:
||Raising Admissions requirements in both Hebrew and Jewish knowledge.
||Integrating the Year-in-Israel Programfully into the three-year core curriculum.
||Enhancing the interrelationship of the academic, professional, and spiritual components of rabbinical education, which will
enable students to create a vibrant vision of Jewish life.
||Including mentored, in-field experiences with trained mentors, as part of clinical education.
||Building appropriate, effective assessment vehicles for achievement.
||Identifying the resources necessary to implement the new curriculum.
Tuition and Fees
Go to Tuition and Fees.
Financial aid is awarded, in the form of scholarship assistance, in cases of demonstrated need.
Rules and regulations regarding the eligibility for financial aid are published annually and are available upon request.
Worship lies at the heart of each of our campus communities. Religious services, conducted by students or faculty, are held in the synagogues of each of the schools, and often personal life-cycle events are marked by the entire community.
Fieldwork and Supervised Practical Training
Students in the rabbinical program are required to serve as part-time rabbinical interns in small congregations or as part-time interns to rabbis in larger congregations. There are also opportunities for students to serve as rabbinical interns and as part-time chaplains in hospitals, homes for the aged, Jewish religious schools, Hillels, and other communal institutions. These programs are being intensified in accordance with the recommendations of the Task Force on Rabbinical Curriculum.
In 1992 the College-Institute, with the assistance of the Wexner Foundation, inaugurated a new program, giving rabbinical students the opportunity to complete clinical residencies under the supervision of rabbinical alumni. Rabbinical residents spend six to eight weeks during the summer on sites in diverse settings: congregations, Hillels, Jewish organizations, hospitals, and Jewish religious schools. Interns are given a unique, individualized learning experience, with opportunities to observe and reflect with their mentors on the dynamics of congregations or institutions - how typical problems and issues arise and are handled, and how Jewish professionals and lay leaders interact with the rhythms, joys, and stresses of rabbinical life.
With the support of HUC-JIR alumni, rabbinical residencies will become a part of the curriculum for all rabbinical students.
Guidance and Counseling
Upon admission to the College, each student is assigned to a faculty advisor or a panel of faculty advisors who are available to confer with the student periodically regarding academic and personal matters.
Student Organization and Activities
The student body of each school governs its own affairs through its elected officers. These students leaders act as liaisons to the administration and participate in faculty-student committees and student committees relating to every phase of College-Institute life, including curriculum, which varies from campus to campus, fieldwork, student employment, orientation, and social activities. Among the many activities of the student body are a student speakers' bureau, a cooperative bookstore, and a variety of social action projects fostering Tikkun Olam, such as a soup kitchen and a women's shelter.
Ordained graduates of the College-Institute are eligible to apply for a position as chaplain in one of the Armed Forces. Students contemplating such voluntary service are urged to apply for a commission in the Seminarian Reserve Program upon entering the College-Institute so that they may build seniority in the service of their choice before ordination. Participation in the Seminarian Reserve Program does not obligate the student to active service nor does it obligate the military to accept the student upon ordination.
First-Year Rabbinical Program
The Year-in-Israel Program is mandatory for all first-year rabbinical students. Matriculation into the Year-in-Israel Program is conditioned upon passing a Hebrew language competency examination, demonstrating the equivalent of at least one year of college-level Hebrew.
- 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.
- An encounter with Israel which leaves the students informed, enthused, and energized about the challenges of statehood and the
implications of peoplehood.
- The acquisition of basic textual skills which allows the successful continuation of studies in the U.S.
- An exploration of the students' religious and spiritual identities, with special emphasis on Reform Judaism.
- Fluency in Modern Hebrew.
- The provision of professional skills, and the encouragement of a self-consciousness as future Jewish professionals.
The Year-in-Israel Program includes a number of orientation sessions and seminars at the beginning of the academic year and thereafter throughout the course of study. Among the topics examined are: (a) a basic orientation to Jerusalem past and present, (b) an introduction to modern Israel, (c) a discussion of the role of Reform Judaism, and (d) an examination of the roles of Jewish professionals within the community.
Programs of Study
Students are expected to spend a minimum of 22 credit hours of classroom study, divided between core courses (14 credits) and specialized courses (6 credits) and a weekly First Year Seminar (2 credits).
|I. Core Courses
||Bible I (Introduction)
II. Specialized Courses
|Students are required to study courses in each of the following areas of Study
(2 credits each):
||Land and People of Israel
III. First Year Seminar: "Concepts in Jewish Living"
For one day a week, Israel is the classroom, as students explore aspects of Judaism and the Jewish State. 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 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. throughout the year. Subjects include Religion and State, Life Cycle, and Zionism.
IV. Other Requirements
- Professional weekly forums
- Monday morning minyan
- Community service project
- Shabbat morning services at the Murstein Synagogue at least once a month
- Field study trips
Students are also encouraged to participate in a range of additional activities and learning opportunities including:
- Daily Mincha prayer services
- Thursday morning minyan
- Visits to Progressive congregations throughout the country
- Weekly Torah portion study sessions (Spring semester)
Select members of the faculty serve as academic advisors. Before the beginning of each semester, their role is to assist students in their choice of electives. During the course of the year, they will be available by appointment to give individual support and guidance. Under certain circumstances, students may be directed by other members of the faculty to consult these advisors.