AJR rabbis and cantors build communities.
The goal of the Rabbinical School Program is to train future leaders of the Jewish people who have deep learning in texts and tradition, an appreciation for the historical forces that have shaped our people, and a love for the Jewish people. The rabbinate involves service as much as leadership, and the rabbi ordained by AJR will have developed the professional skills to serve with insight and compassion, with wisdom and understanding. The Rabbinical Program goals are listed here.
Each of the streams of contemporary Jewish life is studied along with its distinct liturgy, history and institutions. A graduate of AJR may well be a passionate advocate for a particular position in Jewish life, and will have a deep understanding of the alternatives. More and more, the Jewish people are in search of meaning and authentic guidance in spirituality. Each AJR graduate is trained in meditation and prayer and brings to the community a knowledge of traditional and contemporary liturgy.
Below is a summary of some details of the rabbinical program. A full explanation can be found in the Student Handbook.
A total of 140 credits plus 4 semesters of Fieldwork Support Seminar and 4 semesters of Core Concepts Seminar are required. Certain courses in each subject area are specifically required. Otherwise, there are distribution requirements indicating the number of courses to be completed in each subject. There may be additional requirements regarding the methodologies or approaches that should be represented among the courses within each subject area, as well as the level of study that should be attained within each subject. The Rabbinical Program may be completed in about five years of full time study; longer when completed through part time study. Click here to see a listing of the Course Requirements.
All rabbinical students must pass a series of Comprehensive Examinations. These examinations are designed to measure the student’s mastery of basic information and ability to work with the classical primary sources of Jewish scholarship. Details of each Comperehensive Examination are to be found in the Student Handbook. All the examinations must be completed before a student can commence the Senior year of study.
Ritual Skills and Cantorial Courses
The Academy admits students with varying levels of ritual proficiency. During their years of study, students will acquire crucial liturgical skills. These include leading the various services of the Jewish year and the appropriate cantillations of various biblical texts. Students entering a rabbinate open to all streams of Jewish life must be proficient in a wide array of these skills. Students will be required to demonstrate their competence in Ritual Skills by oral examination. No Advanced Standing may be earned by rabbinical students in the area of Ritual Skills.
All rabbinical students must complete a Senior Project, which may be a formal academic research paper or a practical project, such as the design of a curriculum or program for an identified population. This requirement may be fullfilled by the completion of a Master’s Project or Thesis. Details of length and other requirements are given in the Student Handbook. Proposals must be presented to the Director of Senior Projects during the spring preceding the anticipated Senior Year.
The completed project must be submitted to the AJR Office by the fall preceeding ordination. The project advisor will be asked to certify that progress is satisfactory in order that the student’s name may be listed as a candidate for ordination. Once completed, the Senior Project may be presented to the AJR community during a lunch hour program.