Year-In-Israel - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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  • An understanding of the Hebrew language, both as applied to traditional Jewish sources and fluency in modern Hebrew. 
  • The acquisition of basic textual skills which allows the successful continuation of studies in the US.
  • An introduction to general and liturgical music skills.
  • An encounter with Israel which leaves the students informed, enthused, and energized about the challenges of statehood and the implications of peoplehood.
  • An exploration of the students' religious and spiritual identities, with special emphasis on Reform Judaism.
  • 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.

Course of Study

Students are expected to study a minimum of 25 credit hours of classroom study, divided between core courses (14 credits), professional courses (9 credits), and a weekly First Year Seminar (2 credits).


Core Courses

  Modern Hebrew 8 credits
  Classical Grammar 2 credits
  Bible I (Introduction) 2 credits

2 credits


Professional Course

  Cantillation of the Torah, Haftorah, and Esther 1 credit
  Cantorial Workshops 1 credit 
  Traditional Chants of the Daily Services 1 credit
  History of Jewish Music 1 credit
  Israeli Folk Music 1 credit
  Music Theory and Sight-Singing 2 credits
  Coaching 2 credits

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

  • Cantorial forum
  • Monday morning minyan
  • Participation in High Holy Day Service Choir
  • Community service project
  • Attending services at the Murstein Synagogue on Saturday mornings at least once a month
  • Field study trips
  • Synagogue tours
  • Student public concerts
  • Voice lessons
  • Leading Shabbat services in the Murstein Synagogue at least three times during the year

V. Optional

Students are also encouraged to participate in a range of additional activities and learning opportunities including:

  • Daily Mincha prayer services
  • Thursday morning minyan
  • Visits and opportunities to lead services at Progressive congregations throughout the country