Exploring Core Texts, Gaining Practical Skills
The Rabbinical School curriculum (pdf) is a rigorous academic program that leads you on a five- or six-year journey of growth and acquisition of knowledge.
Its thematic and practical approach nourishes your mind and spirit as you prepare to serve in the world as a rabbi. You’ll graduate having encountered the essential texts for today’s rabbinate, the skills for lifelong learning and leadership, and a love of Talmud Torah.
Learn more about each area of study here:
- Prayer and Theology
- Jewish Thought and History
- Professional Development
As the foundation of our tradition and the primary text you will teach as a rabbi, Chumash (Five Books of Moses) is a pillar of our curriculum. Each year, you will study one book of the Torah in depth, learning to interpret it contextually as well as examining a range of commentaries from ancient Midrash and classic medieval "mefarshim"(commentators) to Chasidic masters, feminist readings and contemporary literary analysis. Never far from our learning is the question of what the text means for us today.
Torah classes generally meet twice a week, with preparatory time in the beit midrash prior to each session.
> See list of Torah courses
The rabbinics curriculum is a core pillar of the learning. It covers major topics relevant to serving as a rabbi today. It is anchored by the Talmud sequence and studies selections from one order of Babylonian Talmud each year. The yearly Talmud theme features courses in "halakha" (Jewish law) connected to it. Emphasis is placed on learning content, the skills to be a lifelong learner of Talmud and halakha, and questions of meaning and relevance to contemporary life.
Talmud classes generally meet twice a week with preparatory time in the Beit Midrash prior to each session. Halakha courses generally meet once a week with preparatory time in the Beit Midrash prior to each class.
> See list of Rabbinics courses
Courses on the siddur and theology help students both gain knowledge and develop conceptions of and a relationship to God and prayer.
> See list of Prayer and Theology courses
A Jewish Thought and History sequence introduces you to some of the major thinkers and trends in Jewish thought, from the rabbinic period up to today.
> See list of Jewish Thought and History courses
Core classes and electives offer opportunities for intensive exposure to the foundational teachers in and approaches to Jewish mysticism.
> See list of Mysticism courses
Knowledge of Hebrew is the key to unlocking the sacred text of Jewish tradition. In the preparatory and first years of the program, you will take intensive Hebrew courses that are integrated with core text classes so that you gain the knowledge and skills to learn sacred texts in the original Hebrew.
> See list of Hebrew courses
Whether you’re interested in working in a congregation or Hillel, hospital or clinical setting, communal organization or educational institution, our professional-development classes and experiences are individualized and prepare you for the varied nature of rabbinic work in the 21st century.
LAYING THE FOUNDATION
Rabbi Jane Kanarek, associate professor of rabbinics and associate dean for academic development, is on the leading edge of rabbinic and feminist scholarship. She is currently writing a commentary on Babylonian Talmud Tractate Arakhin for the Feminist Talmud Commentary project.
“I deeply believe that in order to create rich and vibrant Jewish communities and cultures, our rabbis need to be steeped in Jewish texts to understand the older worlds that have helped make us who we are,” she says. “Our rabbinical school gives students that foundation.”