Thank you for your interest in applying to the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. Please read these instructions carefully before completing your application. Should you have any questions about the application process or regarding the status of your application, please contact us:
Office of Admissions
M-Th, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; F, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Selection of Candidates
Admissions decisions are based on a careful review of a candidate’s completed application, supporting documents, interview and appropriateness for a career in the rabbinate. Applicants to the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a competitive grade point average. Hebrew College admits qualified students without regard to age, sex, disability, race, color or national origin. An application for financial aid does not in any way affect a candidate’s application for admission.
Religious Observance/Personal Status
Applicants must be Jewish by birth or conversion process as recognized by at least one major rabbinic body. Because ours is a pluralistic Rabbinical School, there is no specific requirement regarding religious observance. It is expected, however, that each candidate will evidence serious grappling with the mitzvoth and the question of personal observance. The Rabbinical School also has a policy of non-discrimination with regard to sexual orientation. Applicants who are married to or in committed relationships with non-Jews will not be considered for acceptance to this program.
You may fill out the application by clicking here. Please send supporting materials to:
Office of Admissions
160 Herrick Road
Newton Centre, MA 02459
You are responsible to ensure that all of your application materials are received; we welcome calls or emails from candidates regarding the status of their applications.
Application and, if relevant, financial aid forms, must be postmarked by January 1. Applicants will be notified of admission decisions by April 1.
All applicants must submit the following materials:
- A completed, signed Application form
- A completed, signed Personal History form
- Typewritten Essays I and II as described below
- A completed Hebrew preliminary placement exam
- Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies from accredited academic institutions. Please have official copies of transcripts forwarded directly from the issuing institution to the Office of Admissions.
- An official score report from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (toefl) for all foreign students whose native language is not English and who have not received a degree from an accredited United States college or university.
- Three to a maximum of four letters of recommendation; see below for requirements.
- A non-refundable application fee of $60; please submit a check or money order made payable to Hebrew College.
A financial aid application may be found here. Instructions are on the form. If you are applying for financial aid, please complete the form and submit with your application materials by February 1.
Students accepted to the first year of the Rabbinical School must have the equivalent of at least three years of undergraduate Hebrew, with an emphasis on classical sources. A one-year preparatory program will be required for those with an insufficient knowledge of modern or classical Hebrew. Applicants are required to take two Hebrew placement exams. The first exam, included with this packet, should be completed and sent with other application materials. The second exam will be administered to those applicants who are invited to campus for an interview.
All applicants are required to take a proficiency examination to assess their level of Jewish knowledge. Students are expected to have a working knowledge of Jewish ritual, history and tradition. Those who need additional background may be required to take a course prior to their first year of study.
Interview, Placement Exams and Psychological Testing
Once applications are reviewed, those individuals who are identified as active candidates are invited to interview at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. This is an opportunity for you to meet the Admissions Committee and for us to get to know you better in person.
As part of your interview process, you will take a series of tests, including the more comprehensive Hebrew language placement exam, the Jewish knowledge proficiency exam and a Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (mmpi).
Letters of Recommendation
Please list names and addresses of your references on the application form. Three references are required; you may submit a maximum of four. Include one reference from a rabbi and at least one academic source. Your references should be individuals who know you well and who can offer the Admissions Committee pertinent information about your academic qualifications, personal qualities, Jewish background and/or your spiritual journey.
Letters should be completed on the enclosed forms and mailed directly to the Office of Admissions, or they may be submitted with your application in a separate envelope with the reference’s signature written across the sealed flap. Recommendation letters may not be sent via fax or email.
Your responses to the following essay questions allow us to get to know you as an individual, a student, a Jew and a future rabbi. In addition, these essays give you an opportunity to articulate your views on a variety of topics. The more frank your essays are, the greater their value will be to the members of the Admissions Committee. Please be thorough and concise.
Part I. Answer questions a,b and c. Take a total of 7–10 double spaced pages for these questions.
- Why have you chosen to apply to become a rabbi? Discuss your intellectual, personal and spiritual development as well as life experiences, specific events and significant relationships that have led you to make this decision.
Please include in this personal statement reflections on the following:
1. Your conception of and relationship with God
2. The evolution of your current Jewish practice
3. Your relationship to the Jewish people and Jewish history, including your relationship with Israel
- What do you find most compelling and most challenging about training for the rabbinate in a pluralistic context?
- As you imagine yourself both in rabbinical school and as a future rabbi, what are the strengths, weaknesses and fears that you bring with you?
Part II. Answer one of the following questions in 5–7 double spaced pages:
- Reflect on a Torah passage that you have found meaningful or challenging. You may include classical and contemporary commentaries that have been helpful to you in understanding the text.
- Write a critical review of a book of Jewish or spiritual significance that you have read over the past year. What was significant about this book? Why would you recommend or not recommend it to another reader?