At the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary’s (SRS) Beit Midrash, future Masorti rabbis, educators and activists for religious pluralism engage intensively in the study of Jewish sources. Schechter Rabbinical Seminary trains the next generation of Jewish leaders who will inspire and influence Israeli society, as well as raise a committed Masorti/Conservative Jewish voice for religious pluralism and tolerance. Women and men are offered the unique opportunity for pluralistic Jewish study – learning Jewish texts in-depth, along with practical training in rabbinics, education and chaplaincy (Marpeh program). Schechter Rabbinical Seminary graduates lead communities throughout Israel and Europe with the spirit of an enlightened, intellectually engaged Judaism. Moreover, the Schechter aims to foster connections between future Masorti Diaspora leaders and young Israelis, thereby strengthening solidarity with Israel.
SRS Programs include:
Rabbinic Ordination Program
Schechter Rabbinical Seminary is Israel’s only institution awarding Masorti/Conservative ordination. Our students master a wide range of Jewish Studies, earning rabbinic certification and an MA degree. These talented men and women lead Masorti congregations in Israel and Europe, provide leadership in the Israeli school system, advocate for women’s religious rights and social justice, and act as unique role models for contemporary religious observance engaged with all sectors of Israeli society.
Ordination students perform congregational internships as part of their rabbinical training in various venues. They lead B’nai Mitzvah and adult study groups, conduct new and traditional prayer, ceremonies and lifecycle events, offer experiential education, and focus upon outreach to young families living near the community. The interns work one day a week and one Shabbat a month at the congregation.
Diaspora rabbinical students from the Jewish Theological Seminary and Seminario Rabinico (Argentina) spend their year of Israel training at Schechter. We are pleased to provide them with a welcoming home in Israel. Diaspora and Israeli students study together, hold productive discussions on issues of concern to both communities and enjoy various social activities.
Community Jewish Outreach and Renewal
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.
Torah Lishma (Torah for Torah’s sake), established two years ago to serve the general public, is an intensive study program of Jewish sources in a Beit Midrash atmosphere with an open and questioning approach. Studies include Talmud and other classical Jewish sources. It attracts Israeli men and women of all backgrounds who want to be able to navigate the world of pluralistic Jewish study while learning Jewish ideas texts. Because of its success in Jerusalem, Torah Lishma opened a satellite program in Tel Aviv in Fall 2018.
Ashira: Music as a Jewish Experience is the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary’s newest innovative learning opportunity. Ashira brings together prayer leaders and musicians to study the Jewish liturgical tradition, explore prayer as personal experience, and study topics addressing the relationship between prayer leaders and participants. Ashira has three tracks: Ashkenazic, Sephardic and contemporary. With fifty students enrolled this year, each track draws participants from a range of communities that represent the true diversity of Jewish prayer spaces in Israel. The program staff are leaders in Israel’s burgeoning field of Jewish music and prayer. They aim to strengthen different pathways to prayer: both in the general public and in the synagogue. Program graduates will be active in their diverse communities – secular and religious, Orthodox, egalitarian, Reform and Conservative, Sephardic and Ashkenazic. The tremendous success in recruiting Ashira’s inaugural class speaks to a great need people feel to enhance prayer experiences and opportunities in Israel.
In 2016 Schechter Rabbinical Seminary launched, in partnership with the Adraba Masorti Center, the B’tzavta program, offering Bet Midrash learning for people with cognitive disabilities. It is the first program of its kind for Israelis with special needs. Eight study groups with over 100 participants met across Israel, from Nahariya to Eilat. The participants partake in values-based discourse, providing them with a unique learning opportunity, while rabbinical students develop expertise in working with this important population.
The Derachim (Pathways) New Media Project for Pluralism and Tolerance produces short videos of Israeli opinion makers discussing their Jewish identity. Reaching over 90,000 people on Facebook, the project disseminates pluralistic Judaism, showing that there is more than one way to be Jewish.
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.