Rabbinical School Fieldwork

HUC-JIR features a robust fieldwork program.

Woman tuning guitar


Our fieldwork program has three components:

  1. Student Pulpit
  2. Internship
  3. A Pastoral Experience


Student Rabbi Program

Every student spends one year serving one weekend a month as the student rabbi in a small congregation. Students lead services, offer sermons, teach children and adults, and officiate life cycle events. The students work closely with lay leaders in visioning and planning for the congregation.

Two women in front of paintings“Student rabbis bring a level of enthusiasm that perks up the congregation. Student rabbis frequently have just returned from Israel and want to share their love of Israel with the congregation. They introduce new melodies. They have diverse interests, so ‘Lunch & Learn’ on Saturday afternoons usually encompasses subjects we have not looked at before. Our congregation has been very lucky with the student rabbis that HUC assigns to us, and we do become attached to them, often attending ordination to honor them).” – Temple lay leader

“It would be difficult for me to think of our congregation without a student rabbi. We truly appreciate the new tunes, the insight, and the knowledge that the student brings to us. We now have someone to lead Torah study, guidance with our Sunday School, and input into curriculum and priorities. We feel we are luckier than those congregations who have permanent rabbis. Every year or two we have the opportunity to be exposed to a new personality with unique strengths. Each student brings something new and different, and we truly appreciate that.” – Temple member


Students serve as interns, working with rabbis and other Jewish professionals, in a variety of settings, including congregations, college Hillels, day schools, and social justice and social service organizations. They learn how organizations work, create and support programs, and engage in the life of a Jewish community.

Student in front of Hillel sign

Recent non-congregational internships include:

  • University of Southern California Hillel
  • Loyola Marymount University Hillel
  • Yale Hillel
  • Columbia Barnard Hillel
  • Beit Tshuvah (addiction treatment center)
  • CCAR Press
  • ARZA
  • Joint Distribution Committee
  • J Street

Pastoral Care

Rabbinical students at HUC-JIR are required to complete a supervised Pastoral Care internship. Most often, this requirement is fulfilled by completing a unit of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) at a hospital. Most CPE programs draw participants from a variety of backgrounds, making CPE an interfaith as well as pastoral experience.

Student taking an oath