The Rabbinical School curriculum is a full-time course of study that generally requires five to six years to complete, depending on the student's initial level of skill in Hebrew and Judaic studies. Prior to admission, a student must demonstrate sufficient strength in Hebrew and text study in order to commence our program.
Beginning with intensive study of Hebrew and primary biblical and rabbinic texts, The Rabbinical School curriculum proceeds to focus on the development of professional rabbinical skills in the classroom and in field assignments. Our students spend a year in Jerusalem, where they study in Hebrew and focus on their personal and professional relationships to the Land, People, and State of Israel. Upon return, they commence study for an MA in Judaic Studies or Jewish Education and complete an internship in a field of rabbinic work. There is no additional charge for the MA degree earned during rabbinical school.
A normal course load in The Rabbinical School consists of six courses per semester. Entering students may request exemption from up to 9 credits of course work, based on the successful completion of comparable graduate-level courses taken prior to rabbinical school in required areas of study. Students entering with a prior MA or PhD in an area of Jewish studies taught by JTS may request a waiver from our MA requirement.
Newly admitted rabbinical students take diagnostic tests in Hebrew, Bible, and Talmud in order to be placed in the appropriate skill level for these core courses.
The Beit Midrash curriculum consists of Skill Level 1 and Skill Level 2 courses in these three areas. Students entering at Skill Level 1 remain in New York for a second year of study. Upon completion of Skill Level 2, all students proceed to our program in Israel. In addition to studying Hebrew, Bible, and Talmud, students focus on the themes of Jewish prayer and family life. An integrating seminar allows new students to develop a supportive spiritual community where the lessons of various academic courses are connected to each student's personal and professional development.
After completing the Beit Midrash program in New York, rabbinical students continue to Jerusalem for a year of academic and experiential education. Our academic base is the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, where students study Hebrew, Talmud, and halakhah, as well as learning about the land, people and State of Israel and taking electives in Judaic studies. Our Israel program office is based in the Schocken Library in central Jerusalem. Students participate in a yearlong experiential program that includes tiyulim (trips) around the country and meetings with a diverse array of Israelis including leaders of the Masorti movement. Students volunteer with a variety of Israeli organizations and deepen their knowledge of Israeli culture and society through formal and informal interactions.
The final stage of rabbinical school consists of a three-year program during which students develop professional skills through course work and field placements, take a broad distribution of advanced courses in Judaic studies, and complete an MA degree of their choosing in The Graduate School or in the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education. Students are required to work in youth education through Camp Ramah or United Synagogue Youth, and to complete four other rotations in the field.
During their penultimate year of rabbinical studies, students complete a 400-hour rabbinic internship, which is supervised by The Rabbinical School. In recognition of the generous support of Pearl and Jack Resnick, the program is known as The Resnick Internship Program. This major internship assignment is accompanied by a yearlong weekly seminar and by various workshops and modules at JTS. Many students complete one or more units of Clinical Pastoral Education, either at JTS or at another certified CPE center. Through the JTS Center for Pastoral Education, students may also earn a certificate in Pastoral Care.
The skills listed below must be completed by the end of year four of the program. Classes in nusah are offered as electives, and students may be tested by a member of the administration or faculty for a notation on the student's record. Skills listed below that are not included in the nusah classes will need to be acquired on one's own and tested by a designated member of the faculty.
The Rabbinical School prepares students to become teachers of Torah, compassionate counselers, leaders of prayer, and role models of Jewish ethics and religious practice. As such students are required to maintain high standards of academic performance, ethical conduct, and religious observance. The Rabbinical School seeks to be a supportive environment in which students are helped to address personal and professional challenges and emerge as competent and confident leaders of the Jewish people. Our deans and faculty work with students to mentor them and help them identify promising career paths as they prepare for ordination and a lifetime of service to God, the Jewish community, and all of humanity.