Become a Rabbi
In a complicated world, as patterns of Jewish identification and involvement shift and institutions and values are called into question, we need courageous and authentic spiritual leaders to serve and guide us.
The Rabbinical School of Hebrew College is uniquely positioned to prepare Jewish leaders for the 21st century. Within Hebrew College’s vibrant pluralistic community, our Rabbinical and Rav-Hazzan students:
- Find their voice as they cultivate an honest, authentic expression of Judaism and develop a nourishing Jewish spiritual practice;
- Drink deeply from the well of Jewish tradition through our Beit Midrash-centered learning, traditional and creative tefillah, and academically-rigorous courses led by world-renowned faculty;
- Learn to lead diverse communities with skill and an open heart and help heal a fractured world.
Watch “So you want to be a rabbi?”
Our Admissions team answers questions about our program in this recent Hillel International video.
The Center of Learning, Community & Prayer
The Beit Midrash, or study center, is the heart of the Rabbinical School. It is a place of engagement — with Jewish tradition, with one another, with ourselves. We gather in the Beit Midrash to study together, engage in communal prayer and celebration, and share the rhythms of the Jewish year and of one another’s lives. Our students and faculty call this sacred space their second home and see themselves as a community — both within and beyond the walls of the classroom and the Beit Midrash.
Talmud Torah: Learning
Using ancient books and modern laptops, students in the Beit Midrash immerse themselves in sacred texts, developing the skills and habits to make engagement with our inherited tradition a part of their lives in school and beyond. All questions are welcome as students seek wisdom that will help them on their path toward an authentic personal expression of Judaism — and the ability to lead others on this journey as well.
Supporting one another and nurturing a vibrant community is key to the Hebrew College experience and approach. In our diverse community, students and faculty learn with and from each other, supporting each other as we each seek our own path within Jewish tradition. Students cultivate the habits of heart and mind to meet fellow students and future congregants where they are and help them grow. Learn more about our community.
In this spacious, light-filled room, we begin each day with vibrant tefillah that is both rooted in Jewish tradition and brimming with innovation. Students learn to tend to their own n’shamot (souls), cultivating Judaism as a spiritual practice, so they can sustain themselves as spiritual leaders and authentically guide others.
“At the beginning, [my hevruta/study partner and I] would sit in a café and drill one another on verb forms. Now we try to wrap our heads together around the complicated logic of the Rishonim (commentators on the Talmud). Along the way, we have run a minyan together, worked together as activists on justice issues, collaborated on creative life-cycle events, and witnessed one another’s struggles, losses and joys. Being in this kind of long-term relationship makes our Torah learning thick and complex. It means we are having many conversations at once, over the course of years, and growing into rabbis with the resource of friendship, allyship, and hevruta.”
— Rabbi Mónica Gomery, Rab’17
Nurturing the Heart, Mind and Soul
Hebrew College rabbinical students are encouraged to cultivate a personally nourishing and sustaining spiritual practice that is rooted in Jewish tradition. For us, this is the basis of being a spiritual guide and companion for others.
Our dynamic, meaningful prayer community welcomes and encourages engagement with traditional Jewish liturgy and prayer forms, as well as experimentation and creativity.
Some mornings, our shacharit (morning prayer service) includes a full, traditional liturgy. Other mornings, it is an innovative take on Jewish prayer, experimenting with liturgy, music, silence and/or movement.
Based on prayer goals and interests, students form smaller “tefillah groups” that both pray together and meet weekly to reflect on their practice. Examples of those groups include: Catharsis Minyan, Full Liturgy Minyan, Contemplative Minyan, Movement Minyan, and many more.
Our tefillah program is truly a communal endeavor that supports the cultivation of each student’s practice and prepares students to lead others into prayer.
In Jewish tradition, when we immerse in Torah, bringing our lives to Torah and Torah to our lives, we participate in the ancient and enduring conversation of the Jewish people and continue to reveal Torah.
Watch, listen and read the words of Torah emerging from the students, faculty and alumni of our school. May they draw you more deeply into sensitive listening, probing questioning and humble speaking of Torah and Jewish living.
On the Parasha
- Rosh Hashanah (Divrei Torah)
- Rosh Hashanah (audio)
- Yom Kippur
- Simchat Torah
- Tu b’Shvat
- Sefirat HaOmer
- Yom Ha’atzmaut
- Tisha B’Av
- High Holiday planning *
*Reflections from the Hebrew College faculty, alumni, and students for study and reflection during the High Holidays. Learn more and order your copy.
- Behind the Music, Micah Shapiro ’17
- Galeh: Tenth-Anniversary Celebration of the Rabbinical School
- Jerusalem Session – Psalms of Kabbalat Shabbat by Micah Shapiro ’17
On Social Justice
- Climate Change
- Judaism and the Pursuit of Justice
- Ma’madot: A Call to Protect Creation
- Rabbi Art Green, “Judaism and the Environment” (audio)
- Race and Society
- Rabbi Micha’el Rosenberg: Halachah and Responsibility to Others
- All social justice content
On Prayer, Spirituality & Mysticism
In our program, we guide you through an educational journey to becoming a rabbi and give you the space to shape the program to your needs and interests.
Through a blended five- or six-year curriculum that leverages the expertise and resources of both the Rabbinical School and the School of Jewish Music, the Rav-Hazzan (rabbi-cantor) program awards both rabbinic and cantorial ordination. You can find more information here.
The Hebrew College Innovation Lab
Hebrew College’s Innovation Lab is a new incubator for Hebrew College graduate students (rabbinic, cantorial and education) and recent Hebrew College alumni/ae in the Boston area to design and implement creative educational, spiritual, social justice and interfaith projects in the Greater Boston Jewish community. Participants receive grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 to run – or supplement the running – of a project that they conceptualize and design. Learn more here.
Pardes Educators Program
Students can apply to start their Rabbinical School experience by participating in the Pardes Educators Program, a two-year program in Jerusalem that combines intensive text study at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies with a Master of Jewish Education from Hebrew College. Participation in this program fulfills one year of rabbinical studies at Hebrew College and students then enter Hebrew College in Shanah Bet.
Graduates of Pardes Educators-Rabbinical School of Hebrew College joint program earn a Master of Jewish Education from Hebrew College’s Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education, a Certificate of Advanced Jewish Studies from the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, and a Masters of Jewish Studies and Rabbinic ordination from Hebrew College. Upon completion of rabbinical school, students who participated in PEP will then fulfill their requirement to work for at least three years in a Jewish day school in North America.
Applicants must be accepted by both Pardes and the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College to participate. Tuition for this program is subsidized.
Students can choose to do a Masters in Jewish Education or one of three other specializations:
- Halakha (Jewish Law)
- Hasidut and Kabbalah
- Pastoral Care
- Spirituality and Social Justice Leadership
There is no additional charge for these programs. You can find more information on this page.
The Rabbinical School is generally a full-time program; however, students can choose to spend semesters or years taking classes part-time. While attending part-time will extend the length of time of the program, it is a useful option for students who need greater schedule flexibility.
“There are a few ways I think about Aliza: First, as a gift sent by Hashem. She is unfailingly kind, upbeat, positive, hopeful, hardworking, forward-thinking. The more you work with her…the more you get to know this is all bone-deep. That is who she is…literally every person who works with her, lay or professional, loves her. Second, she is wonderfully results oriented. Aliza thinks, talks, and acts in the language of progress that you can measure. Third, Aliza is the Michael Jordan of rabbis. She is a natural talent. She speaks brilliantly. She thinks clearly. She listens empathetically. She sings beautifully.”
— Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz, Senior Rabbi, Temple Emanuel, Newton, MA speaking about his colleague Rav-Hazzan Aliza Berger, Rab`17, Can`17.
Hebrew College’s first-of-its-kind Rav-Hazzan ordination program prepares rabbis and cantors for leadership in the 21st-century Jewish community.
As more cantors are being asked to fill not only educational and musical roles but pastoral roles as well, and more rabbis are being asked to take on the musical leadership of their congregation, the time has come to merge innovative musical education and pluralistic rabbinic training.
Through a blended five- or six-year curriculum that leverages the expertise and resources of both the Rabbinical School and the School of Jewish Music, the Rav-Hazzan (rabbi-cantor) program will award both rabbinic and cantorial ordination.
The program is structured to provide students with a broad range of skills and knowledge they will need to take on multiple spiritual-leadership responsibilities at congregations and other Jewish settings. In addition to cantorial and rabbinical ordination, graduates will receive a Master of Arts in Jewish Studies.
Meet Rav-Hazzan Aliza Berger Rab`17, Can`17
Rabbi, Temple Emanuel, Newton, MA
“The nusach, or melodic prayers, of a service are like a password that gives us access to search the divine realm for what we need. The rabbi sets up scenes through words, text that is spoken or studied and liturgy. The cantor fills those scenes. The place where those two worlds meet is the most connective for me.”
— Rav-Hazzan Aliza Berger, Rab`17, Can`17 Rabbi
Prayer Leadership and Music
Hebrew College 2014 graduates Rabbi Jessica Kate Meyer (pictured) and Rabbi David Fainsilber infuse music into everything they do as leaders of The Kitchen in San Francisco and the Jewish Community of Greater Stowe respectively.
“Spiritual practice, study, and prayer are seen as an integral part of the search for social justice. Reflection and activism, compassion and courage, presence and purpose; all of these qualities and capacities must go hand in hand for rabbis who seek to address injustice and inspire meaningful change in our society and in our world.”President Sharon Cohen Anisfeld