HUC-JIR Rabbinical and Cantorial Programs: Our Policies and Expectations - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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HUC-JIR Rabbinical and Cantorial Programs: Our Policies and Expectations

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Policies and Expectations

Every graduate school requires its students to display skills of scholarship and intellect, but as part of our goal to prepare leaders to serve Jewish communities everywhere in the world, we seek even more from our students:  we are looking for a multi-dimensional person whose commitments go beyond scholarship. As you consider your place at HUC-JIR, please read through this brief description of our policies and expectations. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to be in touch with our admissions staff – they will be happy to speak with you.

Torah: Habits of the Mind and Striving for Wisdom

We expect our students to demonstrate a level of academic accomplishment suitable to meet the rigorous requirements of graduate study. Students’ lives should affirm the centrality of Torah, as understood in its broadest sense. We believe that if our graduates are to bring Torah to the people they will serve, they should be passionately committed to study and intellectual inquiry. Living lives of study, curiosity and exploration is an expectation that goes beyond formal course requirements.

Avodah: Habits of the Heart and Searching for God

We believe that students should be seriously engaged with questions of faith. We expect our students to engage in Jewish ritual practice on a regular basis. While the form of this commitment will change, grow and develop, it is our expectation that your personal practice will include prayer, Shabbat, the Jewish calendar, Jewish life cycle events and other mitzvot, as informed by tradition and shaped by one’s personal understanding and ongoing search.   

K’lal Yisrael: Israel and the Global Jewish Community

Since 1970 we have required our students to study at our Jerusalem campus. This gives powerful expression to our belief that leadership in the Jewish community requires engagement with and commitment to the well-being of the Land, People and State of Israel, as well as the entire global Jewish community. Through the variety of experiences provided by the Year in Israel program, we trust that different students will adopt different attitudes regarding Israel, yet grow in the ability to dialogue in a respectful and pluralistic manner.

Am Yisrael: Representing the Jewish People, Working for All Peoples

The Reform movement and HUC-JIR share a proud record of reaching out to all who seek to develop their Jewish identity with love and acceptance. Even as our students actively engage in this important work, as rabbis or cantors, we expect them to model a firm and lasting commitment to the Jewish home and the Jewish future through the choices they make in their own family lives. We celebrate the contribution of people of all faiths toward building and sustaining loving Jewish homes, and yet we believe that rabbis and cantors should exemplify a distinct standard of Jewish continuity. Therefore, HUC-JIR will only admit, graduate or ordain candidates who, if in a committed long-term relationship, are in such a relationship with a Jewish partner. It is important that candidates for our program be aware of this policy at the point of application. We encourage you to speak with an admissions director if you have questions or concerns.

Menschlichkeit: Ethical Living and Righteous Deeds

The HUC-JIR community is founded on Jewish ethical values: we expect you to be honest and fair, caring and appropriate in your relations with those close to you and those you hardly know. To be a student here means to be held to a high standard of ethical living. We expect you to care for yourself and those around you, and to express that care in tangible acts of loving kindness. We also expect you to be open to reflection, growth and change during your years in the program.