Schechter Rabbinical Seminary (SRS) is training the next generation of Jewish leaders who will inspire and influence Israeli society, as well as raise a committed Jewish voice for religious pluralism and tolerance. SRS graduates lead communities throughout Israel and Europe in the spirit of enlightened, intellectually engaged Judaism.
The three-year study program at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary trains an alternative spiritual and religious leadership for Israeli society – steeped in traditional Jewish sources, yet attuned to modern interpretations and a pluralistic worldview. Through study and practical internships, students at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary are training to serve synagogues, youth groups and school communities throughout Israel. The curriculum stresses, in addition to Talmud and Jewish Law, a broad range of Jewish Studies and Jewish philosophy. Students also study Jewish education and psychology, participate in workshops on management and administration of congregations and other institutions.
Torah Lishma provides an intensive, non-academic study opportunity in a Beit Midrash atmosphere combining traditional learning with an open and critical approach to the sources, one full day per week. The program is designed for Israeli men and women of all religious backgrounds and levels of observance. Studies include Talmud learning in hevruta, introduction to the Jewish bookshelf and study of the weekly Torah portion from various perspectives (midrashic, Hasidic, critical, etc.).
Ashira engages composers, musicians, song leaders and shlichei tzibbur in a learning process that enhances musical creativity of prayer and encourages Jewish renewal throughout Israel. A unique, dynamic program, Ashira focuses on the composition and structure of liturgical music and the meaning and power of prayer, and provides guidance in musical arrangement and performance. Ashira offers three tracks: Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and Contemporary Liturgy. The program is comprised of fifteen weekly meetings where students study both theoretical and practical aspects of prayer.
Mishlei is a two-year program that culminates in an M.A. degree in Jewish Studies focusing on Talmud and Halakhah, Community Leadership and Jewish Identity. The program strengthens the connection between the academic study of Judaism and practical community work. The diverse student body is a microcosm of Israeli society, with many Mishlei graduates engaged in leadership roles.
The Derachim (Pathways) New Media Project for Pluralism and Tolerance produces short videos of Israeli opinion makers discussing their Jewish identity utilizes popular social networks to dispel myths and prejudices rampant on the internet. Reaching over 90,000 people on Facebook, the project disseminates pluralistic Judaism, showing that there is more than one way to be Jewish.
Through a partnership among the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, the Masorti Foundation’s Adraba Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities, and AKIM Israel, B’tzavta enables cognitively disabled adults to connect to their Jewish heritage through Bet Midrash style learning. One-hour biweekly study sessions offer learning of foundational Jewish texts. Eight study groups with over 100 participants meet across Israel, partaking in values-based discourse, providing them with a unique learning opportunity, while rabbinical students develop expertise in working with this important population.
2018 was the first year of a Schechter Rabbinical Seminary partnership with NOAM Youth Group graduates participating in a gap year national service program before beginning their army service. A group of 35 young leaders spent one day a month engaged in high level Bet Midrash studies. The year-long pluralistic Jewish study project strengthens the students’ commitment to Torah and encourages them to engage in ongoing dialogue with Jewish sources.
Schechter Rabbinical Seminary is a global hub of learning, reinforcing Jewish peoplehood and connectivity. Rabbinical students from JTS study side by side with SRS students at Schechter. In addition, rabbinical students from the Seminario Rabinico in Buenos Aires study full-time in the one-year overseas program at SRS.
** Honorary member
The beit midrash must be a space that has windows – windows to Israeli society in all its nuances and subtleties, allowing the difficult questions and controversies to enter our halls of study. We want to heed these voices and let them influence our learning.
Mashpiah Ruchanit (Spiritual Mentor), Senior Lecturer of Rabbinics and Hasidic Thought, SRS
A ‘Rabbi’ is not a profession. It is a calling, and it is the manifestation of the way a person walks in the world and serves God. I teach in the beit midrash environment and mentor one-on-one in the setting most appropriate for the spiritual process to flourish.
SRS Graduate, 2018
I want to share the joy and connection I find in my Judaism with others. I hope to serve as a spiritual travel guide for Russian-speaking Israelis, taking them on an exciting journey to the depths of our tradition.
Rabbi of NOAM Youth Movement, SRS Graduate, 2017
The ladder from Jacob’s Dream comes to mind when I contemplate my role as rabbi. As a spiritual leader, my job is to feel the presence of the ladder next to each and every person, to give them a hand, to help them climb up the rungs, and to encourage them to do so.
CEO of a software development company; Student, Ashira Jewish Music program
Our group connected to each other and to Judaism through a profound shared experience of our sacred Jewish texts. Ashira’s faculty has brought music and Judaism together in a way that has truly elevated me.