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.

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 the 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.

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.

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 the 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.

Rabbinic and Cantorial Students: 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. 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 believe that rabbis and cantors should exemplify a distinct standard of Jewish commitment and expect those with children to raise them in homes that practice Judaism exclusively.

The HUC-JIR community is founded on Jewish ethical values: we expect you to be honest, 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.