The Israeli Rabbinical Program opened the academic year with a half-day seminar. The seminar was designed to set the tone for an ongoing conversation this year on Reform rabbinical leadership for 21st-century Israel. After a festive Shacharit service, led by Dean Naamah Kelman and Rabbis Alona Lisitsa and Yoshi Zweiback of the faculty, with a var Torah by program director Rabbi Marc Rosenstein, two guest lecturers made presentations on the theme of rabbinical leadership. Professor Emanuel Etkes of the Hebrew University spoke about "Rabbi Haim of Volozhin and Rabbi Israel Salanter - rabbinical leaders responding to crisis," and Rabbi Robert Samuels spoke on "Historical models and current challenges for the Israeli Reform rabbinate."
Two days later, Rabbi Rosenstein continued the conversation, presenting a study session on rabbinical authority to a meeting of Maram, the Council of Progressive Rabbis of Israel. Rabbis Kelman and Rosenstein are leading the faculty and students in the Rabbinical Program, together with Movement leadership and rabbis in the field, in a year-long process of thinking together about rabbinical models for Israel - and the training required to prepare them.
There are seven first-year students in the program this year, out of a total enrollment of 23 in the four-year program.