Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem is dedicated to the advancement of Conservative Judaism and religious pluralism in Israel and Europe. Schechter currently engages over 43,000 Israeli and European Jews in an open Jewish academic and educational discourse.
The Schechter Institute campus is home to four educational enterprises:
Schechter Rabbinical Seminary
The Conservative Movement's rabbinical school in Israel and host to many students from our seminaries in Europe and the Americas, the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary prepares spiritual and communal leadership for the Jewish people. Twenty students are enrolled in Schechter's new program, Mishlei, an innovative two-stage track of study designed to expand the student body and broaden the pool of students for the rabbinical program. This new framework, which now enters its third year, offers students a two-year program which meets two full days a week and combines study of Jewish sources in the Bet Midrash with academic courses leading to an MA in Jewish Studies from the Schechter Institute. Mishlei's 2012–13 curriculum synthesizes a variety of Jewish studies courses with a focus on Jewish social activism.
The second stage of the program will offer outstanding students who wish to become rabbis an additional two years of full-time study culminating in rabbinic ordination. Full scholarships and stipends are available to those students who qualify for this second phase of study.
Other groundbreaking projects include the first formal chaplaincy program in Israel, a two-year course in pastoral care and crisis intervention, and the Legacy Heritage Fellows program for recent graduates building new Masorti Congregations in Israel.
Schechter Rabbinical Seminary runs academic programs for overseas rabbinical students from around the world. The Morris and Nellie Kawaler Year in Israel Study Program enables rabbinical students from The Jewish Theological Seminary to fulfill the requirement of spending a year studying in Israel. Similar programs are conducted for rabbinical students from the Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano in Argentina and additional seminaries in Europe and North America.
Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies
Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies is an Israeli graduate school dedicated to training educational leadership through a unique interdisciplinary Jewish Studies MA program that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education in Israel. More than 600 Israeli Jewish educators from all religious backgrounds specialize in 14 Jewish-studies tracks that combine art, women's studies, family and community studies, teaching, informal education, and classical Jewish disciplines such as Bible, Talmud, Midrash, and Jewish Thought. Most recently, three new MA programs in Contemporary Jewry, Sephardic Jewry and Jews of Islamic Countries and Hebrew and Jewish Literature have been established. See the Schechter Course Catalog for a complete listing of courses.
Schechter Institute has more than 70 full- and part-time faculty members, including some of the foremost scholars in the State of Israel.
Close to 1,200 Schechter MA graduates are working in Jewish education throughout Israel in the Israeli school system, Ministry of Education curriculum and management positions, and the nationwide Community Center Association.
Research Institutes and Publications: Scholarship Working for Society
Three research centers bring the academic achievements of the Schechter Institute to the public at large.
The Institute of Applied Halakhah, which makes Jewish law accessible to modern Jewish households around the world, was established in 1997 in order to publish a library of halakhic literature in Hebrew, English, and Russian. Since then, the institute has published 25 volumes of scholarly research for the Conservative/Masorti world. Recent publications include Torah Lishma: A Festschrift in Honor of Prof. Shamma Friedman, Kuntress Hateshuvot Hehadash, Vol. 1-4, Taking the Plunge: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to the Mikveh, and the second Hebrew edition of Louis Ginzberg's Legends of the Jews. A complete list of Schechter publications can be found at the Schechter Bookstore. Visit Responsa for Today, a site that features responsa written by Conservative/Masorti rabbis in conjunction with the institute.
The Center for Women in Jewish Law is devoted to researching, publishing, and educating the public on the rights of women from the perspective of the Jewish legal tradition. Through the publication of Za'akat Dalot (The Cry of the Wretched): Halakhic Solutions for the Agunot of Our Time and seven issues of Jewish Law Watch, the center is advancing Jewish law advocacy research in the area of 'agunot (chained women) who have not been able to receive a get from their husbands. A popular series, To Learn and to Teach, published in five languages, devotes each issue to a specific topic on the status of women in Jewish law and, most recently, Ask the Rabbi, a collection of responsa culled from the Ask the Rabbi website
The Center for Judaism and the Arts was established in 2001 to enrich the cultural and educational life in Israel. Its MA track in Judaism and the Arts continues to be one of the most popular programs at Schechter. Most recently, the center, together with the TALI Education Fund, launched "Virtual Midrash," the first online fine- and folk-art index of the Bible and its commentaries in Hebrew and English. The site, which boasts more than 900 visuals to date, has received positive feedback and is being used extensively throughout the world by schools and art educators.
TALI Education Fund
The TALI Education Fund (TEF), Hebrew acronym for "Enriched Jewish Studies," offers an enriched Jewish Studies program to 42,000 children in close to 200 Israeli schools and preschools throughout Israel. This rapidly expanding national school network today comprises over 10 percent of all public (secular) elementary schools in Israel. Founded in 1987, TEF is authorized by Israel's Ministry of Education to provide educational guidance and resources to all TALI schools. The professional lifeline for 2,000 TALI teachers and principals, TEF provides schools with textbooks, teacher training, school rabbis, and pedagogic counseling, all of which create a Jewish environment for the school community.
This year, Israel's Ministry of Education introduced a new curriculum, Tarbut Yisrael (Jewish Culture), which calls for two hours a week of Jewish studies for all public school grades six through eight. The program will eventually be expanded to include grades four through nine. Because of TALI's unrivaled expertise and experience in the field of Jewish education in secular schools, the Ministry of Education turned to TALI for assistance in the development of educational materials and to conduct teacher training for public school teachers throughout Israel.
Midreshet Yerushalayim: Israel, Eastern Europe and the FSU
Midreshet Yerushalayim is an education network established in 1990 to bring Russian-speaking Jews in Eastern Europe and Israel closer to their Jewish roots and religion. Today it has enlarged its mandate to provide Jewish education to the general Israeli public as well, through Batei Midrash from Karmiel to Eilat. In Ukraine, Midreshest Yerushalayim runs TALI Jewish Day Schools in Chernowitz and Kharkov, Camp Ramah for teens and young families, Education and Culture Centers in Kiev and Donetsk, and teacher training and leadership programs. Midreshet Yerushalayim sponsors the rabbinic emissary work of Rabbi Reuven Stamov, the first Masorti rabbi in the Former Soviet Union, who is establishing a kehillah in Kiev. In Budapest, students at the University of Jewish Studies are taught by visiting Schechter faculty.
New Campuses in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
New Campuses in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv opened in the spring 2012 in response to the growing demand for Schechter educational programs: the new Schechter Campus in Jerusalem, designed by Israel Prize laureate Ada Karmi, and Neve Schechter in Neve Zedek, a restored 19th-century Templer building which is already bringing pluralistic Jewish studies into the heart of Tel Aviv with its Beit Midrash Jewish culture programs and new Masorti kehillah Neve Zedek.