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

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1. Application Part One - Start HERE

The first part of your application includes a few simple questions about your contact information and educational background. Please read through all the application instructions and complete all elements of the application by the deadline. 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 Rabbinical/Cantorial Education Program

  • One Academic Reference: College professors or instructors with whom you have engaged in serious academic study should write the academic reference, preferably from your faculty advisor.
  • One Professional Reference: In addition, please request a professional reference from a supervisor of your work, paid or volunteer, preferably with whom you have worked since entering HUC-JIR as a student

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:

  • Any graduate schools where you have been enrolled, as well as schools where you have taken graduate-level classes since you enrolled at HUC-JIR.
  • Your HUC-JIR transcript.  In submitting Part 2 of your application you will be able to grant the National Office of Recruitment and Admissions to request this transcript on your behalf.
  • You will be prompted in Part 2 of your application to request that your transcripts submitted for your application to Rabbinical School or Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music be transferred to this application file – if they are still on record.

Have your schools mail the transcripts directly to:

National 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.


Graduate Record Examination (GRE): 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.   You will be prompted to request this exemption on Part 2 of your application.

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 Two of the Application

We will send you access to Part 2 after your Preliminary Interview is complete, 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. Personal Statement

In no more than six double-spaced, typed pages, and respond to the following questions: 

  1. Please describe a powerful Jewish learning experience that you designed or in which you were a participant. What characteristics made it powerful? What ideas do you have for making it even more powerful should it be repeated in the future?
  2. Identify an event or experience in a Jewish institution in which you were involved as a participant or in a leadership role (synagogue, camp, day school, federation), where a change was proposed and attempted. What strategies did the institutional leader use to bring about the change? What aspects of the institution supported bringing about the change and what aspects were barriers? What insight about leadership and change did you take away that might influence how you see yourself in a leadership role in the future?

8. Resume

A standard C.V. or resume.

9. Photo

A simple portrait to help us recognize you when you visit and maintain our campus security.