Application Instructions - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Application Instructions

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1. Application Part 1 

Application Part One includes a few simple questions about your contact information and educational background. The application for 2021 will be available in the summer. If you have any questions please contact

2. Preliminary Consultation

As part of your application process to becoming an educational leader through HUC-JIR, we encourage you to speak with a professional in the Department of Admissions and Recruitment. This informal, preliminary consultation is a way for us to get to know you better, for you to ask your questions and be sure now is the right time for you to apply to HUC-JIR.  Simply email to set a date and time.

3. Recommendation Letters

Good references come from individuals who know you well enough to give the Admissions Committee input on your candidacy and reflect on specific experiences you have had that make you a strong candidate. Please use the Reference Letter Request Form to submit the names and contact information of your references. HUC-JIR will not accept more than four letters of reference. The individuals you list as references will receive an email from HUC Admissions informing them that you have requested they write a letter of reference on your behalf. It is recommended that you are in touch with your chosen references prior to filling out this online form to alert them that they will receive this emailed request.

 Please allow each reference enough time (at least one month) to complete his or her letter of reference. If you wish to substitute, delete, or add references after you have submitted their names in the online Reference Letter Request Form, you must report this in writing to the National Office of Recruitment and Admissions by emailing

References for Applying to the Master of Educational Leadership

  • Professional Reference: You must have one reference from a professional source. Someone who has experienced your leadership over time, either as an associate or as a supervisor.  e.g., a lay leader, teacher, or staff member.
  • Academic Reference: You must have one reference from an educator, professor, or teacher with whom you have studied. The context should be one in which the teacher could observe your intellectual capacities, your ability to engage in serious Jewish and/or professional studies, and the quality of your written work.
  • Judaic Reference: HUC-JIR encourages you to submit a Judaic reference from a Jewish educational leader, rabbi, or similar authority. (This third recommendation is not absolutely necessary if your professional or academic reference is also a Jewish educational leader or rabbi; but a third reference is welcome, will enhance your application, and may help us in choosing your graduate residency placement.)

Confidentiality of References

The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, provides students the right to inspect their records. This includes letters of recommendation submitted in the application process. HUC-JIR carefully reviews all letters of reference. However, we find that letters written in confidence are most useful in assessing a candidate’s qualifications and promise. By using the Reference Letter Request Form, you are automatically waiving your right. Please contact with any questions or concerns.

4. Transcripts

Please request transcripts 60 days before the application deadline. Transcripts need to be received in order to schedule an interview.  Please provide us with one copy of an official transcript from all of the following:

  • The college from which you graduated as well as any other colleges you attended. (This includes any school at which you took a college-level course for transfer credit.)
  • Any graduate schools where you have been enrolled, as well as schools where you have taken graduate-level classes.
  • Any “Year Abroad” programs or other foreign study. (If grades from international programs are recorded on your college transcript you do not need to submit a separate transcript.)

Have your schools mail the transcripts directly to:

Office of Recruitment and Admissions
Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion
3101 Clifton Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45220
For international applicants: year-by-year records from colleges and universities attended are required. The record must indicate the number of hours per week devoted to each course, grades received for each course, and degrees awarded, with dates the degrees were conferred. This information must be provided in English. If this information is not available in English, it is the applicant’s responsibility to have it professionally translated and certified before it is sent to HUC-JIR. If grades are not determined on a 4.0 scale system please include guidelines in English from the school that explain the grading system.


The GRE is required as a standard tool to assess readiness for graduate study. Please be advised that GRE results are considered as just one factor in the overall applicant portfolio of essays, interview, recommendations, and transcripts.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE): All applicants with English proficiency are required to take the GRE General Test. When registering for the GRE, please use the school code number 1291, which directs the results to the National Office of Admissions and Recruitment on the HUC-JIR Cincinnati campus. For GRE information, please see 

We recommend that the test be taken at least four weeks before the application is due to allow time for the scores to be sent to HUC-JIR. Scores need to be received in order to schedule an interview. GRE scores are only valid for five years. Candidates with a prior degree from HUC-JIR, Ph.D. or Masters degree (post-Bachelor) from an accredited institution that required a GRE score for admission may be exempt from submitting a current GRE score. Please email with a request to exempt from this requirement.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): International applicants for whom English is not the first language must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in approximately 100 centers outside the United States. See the information available at: Please note that the TOEFL exam is not a substitute for the GRE.  The TOEFL school code for HUC-JIR is 1291.

6. Part 2 of the Application

We will send you access to Part 2 after your complete Part 1 of the application, including more in depth and program-specific questions.  All application materials, including Part 2 of your application, letters of references, transcripts and test results, must be received by the deadline in order to be offered an admissions interview.

7. Portfolio Sample:

Please submit a sample of your work in Jewish education for which you are particularly proud and/or from which you learned a valuable lesson.  For example, this may be a lesson plan, a program outline that you designed, a d’var torah, or a video of you in action from any Jewish educational setting of your choosing. For example, you can share with us a detailed description of a religious school lesson that you created and taught, a learning session that you created for a group of campers at a summer camp or in your Hillel, a video of you teaching, a song session that you led or an art activity you facilitated.  If you have questions about the appropriateness of a specific sample of your work, do not hesitate to contact the School of Education's Recruitment and Leadership Development Associate, Micol Zimmerman, MAJE at

8. Short Essays

As you craft your answers to these questions, please consider the following guidance.  These short essays are an opportunity for you to give the admissions committee a sense of your goals, aspirations and what you hope to learn in the program. The more we can get to know you in the application process, and the more we know about your strengths, interests and desired growth areas, the better equipped we will be to match you in a residency that can be tailored to you and your professional, intellectual, and spiritual growth. Your essays will be uploaded within Part 2 of the application as one document.  

  1. Autobiography of a Jewish Educator (Up to 1500 words, double-spaced) Share the story of 2-3 moments, experiences, or relationships in your life that have guided you to become a Jewish educational leader. What or who has inspired you?
  2. Overcoming a Challenge (500-1000 words, double-spaced) Share with us a challenge that you have faced that has also spurred your growth as a person and a leader. How have you worked to overcome that challenge, and what have you learned about yourself and your leadership in the process?
  3. Hopes and Dreams (1000 words, double-spaced) What do you aspire to achieve as a Jewish educational leader? Share a vision of where you hope to be in 5-10 years, and explain your motivation. In your answer, include reference to any ideas, books, texts, works of art, or theories that guide you; and the burning issue(s) in Jewish life and/or society that motivate you. What is the change you hope to lead or the vision you hope to create?

*** 4. (MAJL Applicants only; two paragraphs) What do you hope to gain from the concurrent MAJL degree? How do you imagine it will benefit you personally and professionally? What experiences do you hope to gain living and studying in Jerusalem?

9. Resume

A standard C.V. or resume.

10. Hebrew Capacity

There is no Hebrew requirement for admission to the Master of Educational Leadership program. We strongly recommend that all students work to bring their Hebrew skills to a minimal level of decoding, writing and basic comprehension. 

However, in order to graduate, you must have achieved a Hebrew proficiency level equivalent to one year of college-level Hebrew. We encourage you to work on this prior to acceptance into the program, and we can assist you in finding the right courses to meet your needs.

There is a Hebrew entrance requirement for those who also want to earn a Master of Arts in Jewish Learning.  Entering students are required to demonstrate capacity in the Hebrew language comparable to one year of college-level Modern Hebrew. We do not need to see documented coursework in Hebrew; however, applicants must pass a Hebrew Capacity Exam (HCE) in order to matriculate into the MAJL program. The exam is taken at the time of the admissions interview. Learn more.