Become a Rabbi
Supporting one another and nurturing a vibrant community is key to the Hebrew College experience and approach. We are guided by the belief that we don’t make the journey to ordination alone. We travel as a community, each individual cherished, celebrated, and encouraged to flourish as we cultivate the habits of heart and mind to journey with our fellow students and future congregants. This commitment sustains and supports us and serves as a model for what is possible in your future work as a rabbi.
There are currently 83 students enrolled in the Hebrew College Rabbinical and Cantorial School. The program has a full slate of classes, ranging from Mekorot (preparatory) through the fifth and final year.
Jewish Educational Background
Country of Origin
United States*: 77
United Kingdom: 1
Degrees Attained Prior to Attending Rabbinical School
J.D., Washington College of Law, American University
M.A., Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University
M.A., Jewish Studies, Columbia University
M.B.A., Harvard Business School, Harvard University
M.Div., Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University
J.D., Harvard University
M.A., Jewish Studies, Hebrew University
M.B.A-M.A., Jewish Professional Leadership, Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program, Brandeis University
M.B.A., Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
M.A., Religious Studies, Naropa University
M.B.A., Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
M.A. in Security Studies, Tel Aviv University
M.Ed.,, Tufts University
M.Div., University of Chicago Divinity School
M.A. in Voice, University of Michigan
M.Div., Yale Divinity School, Yale University
Colleges and Universities Attended*
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
The Citrus Space, London
University of Calgary
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
University of Maryland
University of Michigan
University of Virginia
University of Wisconsin
Washington University in St. Louis
Organizational, Educational and Work Experience Prior to Rabbinical School*
American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
BaMidbar WIlderness Therapy
Chicagoland Jewish High School
Isabella Friedman Jewish Retreat Center
Jewish Farm School
National Council of Jewish Women
National Havura Institute
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Repair the World
Teva Learning Center
Yiddish Farm School
All are Welcome
Our learning and community is infused with a commitment to welcoming and affirming Jews of all races, sexual orientations and genders. We strive to hear and lift up the voices of marginalized communities to help create a more whole Jewish community. In addition to our strong and growing alliance to LGBTQ Jews and causes and anti-racism work, we also offer a mentorship program for LGBTQ students, pairing them with LGBTQ alumnae for regular discussion and support around challenges of navigating the rabbinate and world as an LGBTQ rabbi.
In addition to engaging with others in the Beit Midrash and classroom as we learn, each week we gather as a school to celebrate the successes and share the challenges people are experiencing.
Class cohorts also meet weekly to take the measure of their studies and their lives. Beyond the school week, we cultivate a joyous collective responsibility for one another, celebrating Shabbat, holidays, and other s’machot (joyous occasions) in one another’s homes. We call our cohorts: Mekorot, , Shanah Aleph, Shanah Bet, Shanah Gimel, Shanah Dalet and Shanah Heh.
Jackson Mercer, Music & Spirituality
“Growing up, I wanted to be a baseball coach or an architect, or run a law firm. I figured out eventually that what was at the core of all of those career paths was that I wanted to help people and to create systems to build community. All of those were possible as a rabbi. I think part of the reason I was able to come to that conclusion was because I had so many rabbinical role models in my life that weren’t just standing on a bimah giving sermons. They were also doing amazing things that were unique to their personal rabbinate. So when I got to the point of deciding my next steps, it wasn’t so far-fetched to think ‘my rabbinate doesn’t have to be limited; it can be a model for the change I want to make in the world.”
Carrie Watkins, From Pardes to Hebrew College
Carrie Watkins started Hebrew College in Jerusalem in fall 2021. Her laundry list of educational institutions looks something like this: Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies (2 non-consecutive years), Hadar, Romemu Yeshiva (two mind-altering summers), MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning (Master’s degree in City Planning), Brandeis University (undergrad). Professionally, she spent several years in Boston managing a large team in a fast-growing solar start up. She has since slowed way down and currently works part time with Or HaLev Jewish Spirituality and Meditation. Carrie delights in wild adventures. In another life, she would probably be one of those people who lives in a van and surfs and/or climbs all day.
Talia Young, Earth-Based Judaism
Talia Young began learning in Shanah Aleph in fall 2021. She headed to Boston with homes in the Bay Area, the Twin Cities, and Falls Village, CT. As a Teva Educator at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Talia fell in love with earth-based Judaism and building community through immersive experience. From her work facilitating brave spaces to the communal home she shares with twenty people, she’s committed to radical interdependence. She loves spontaneous kitchen conversations and learning from the wisdom of plants.
Rayden Marcum, Tikkun Olam
“I’m Rayden Marcum (he/they), from Northern California. Having grown up in a lay led congregation, I started leading services at age five, and I am eager to begin my formal training to become a better community resource and leader. I graduated from Humboldt State University in 2017 with a BA in Critical Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and a passion for community outreach and education about trans and queer issues. I did advocacy work during high school and college and then spent the better part of three years traveling and living abroad to learn more about the world and cultivate a sense of the world that decentralizes my own experiences. In my travels, I dedicated myself to learning Spanish (mostly in Ecuador) and Hebrew (nearly a year in Israel). In my down time and more settled moments I love learning new crafts, snuggle time with my birds, baking, rock climbing and spending time outdoors both in my garden and exploring wild spaces. I enjoy living spontaneously and use my love of photography to help me slow down and notice the small things.”
Rachel Steinberg, Music & Advocacy
“I’m Rachel (she/her). I’m originally from northern New Jersey but then I went to Brandeis for undergrad and never left the Boston area. I grew up Reform and was active in NFTY, acting as songleader and then a regional board member. I can play four instruments (piano, guitar, ukulele, flute) and speak four languages (English, Hebrew, Spanish, American Sign Language). I recently married a huge nerd at the Museum of Science, and we love to play board games and DND together. I love learning new things, making PowerPoints, and disability advocacy.”
David Malamud, Recovering Academic
David fell in love with Hebrew College while transitioning out of a PhD in Religion at Boston University, working on a dissertation on ancient Jewish crap (yes, he wrote about excrement, ask him about it). Over the course of a brutal global pandemic and comprehensive exams, David decided to do something meaningful with his time and learn Talmud instead. As a recovering academic, David has spent summers bouncing around institutions, learning at JTS and Hadar. Previously, he completed his Bachelor’s of Arts degrees in Jewish Studies, History, and Classics from the University of Maryland, College Park. Starting last year, David has worked as the Rabbinic Intern at Boston College Hillel. He loves guest lecturing in classes, working in multi-faith spaces, and of course, getting free coffee with students! In his spare time, David enjoys reading, tending to his balcony garden, and terrorizing the local turkeys of Boston with his trusty companions Lilah (dog) and Rebecca (wife).
Hannah Limov, Land-based Judaism
Hannah (they/she) spent the vast majority of their 20’s oscillating between the venn diagram of environmental education, Jewish education, and social work in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in and around Asheville, NC; working as a wilderness therapy field instructor, fighting and advocating against domestic and sexual violence, and learning deep Torah from religious school students at multiple synagogues, among other things. She additionally sunk deep into the world of land-based Judaism through the Adamah Fellowship, serving as a Teva educator, and spending a season living, working, and building community at Yesod Farm + Kitchen in Fairview, NC. They received their BA in Environmental Studies and Cultural Anthropology from CU Boulder, their Master of Social Work from Western Carolina University, and have additionally loved learning with SVARA. Having spent the past several months living at home caring for their 100-year old Grandmother (who is still thriving and trying to get rid of her walker every chance she gets), Hannah has learned the never-ending value of family stories, the magic of libraries, and a good hot dog. You can often find them digging their hands deep into the soil tending to plant babies, hiking/backpacking in the woods listening to the song of the blackbirds, singing joyously and off-key with friends, or cuddling and obsessing over her kitties Lily and Padfoot.
Julian Cohen, Hebrew Linguistics Fan
Julian (he/him) grew up in Arlington, VA before moving to Appleton, WI to study Music and Gender Studies at Lawrence University. He was very involved with Hillel and, after a brief stint in an evangelical coffee shop, decided to reenter the Jewish professional world. Julian has spent the last two years living in Jackson, MS working for the Institute of Southern Jewish Life, serving communities across the deep south, tutoring students for their b’nai mitzvot, eating lots of good barbecue and learning the proper time to use ‘y’all’ in a sentence. He’s thrilled to once again live somewhere with public transit and snow! Julian loves long hikes, bikes, and will gladly chat about the benefits of solar and wind technology. He’s fascinated with Hebrew linguistics and the antics of Talmudic rabbis. On a day off you can find him reading, playing horn, or baking something in the kitchen.
Deborah Anstandig, MJEd`09
Deborah Anstandig (Shanah Bet) taught Judaic Studies and served as the Dean of Instruction at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York City. Deborah is passionate about promoting meaningful student and teacher learning and curricular design. Deborah studied English and Music at Yeshiva University, and holds two Master’s degrees: one in Jewish Education from Hebrew College (in 2009) and the other in Learning and Teaching from Harvard Graduate School of Education. “I chose Hebrew College because of the institution’s willingness to engage all questions about what it means to live as a Jew at this moment. I’m excited about the faculty, the colleagues, and the ability to return to a beit midrash filled with profound respect for tradition, openness to innovation, and the desire to emerge as a confident and compassionate leader.
Aaron Berc, Community Organizer
Aaron Berc (he/him) hails from Minneapolis, MN, where he’s spent most of his life—aside from four years at the University of Kansas studying environmental studies, physics, and college basketball. Rock Chalk Jayhawk! The Rabbinate is Aaron’s third career. He comes to Hebrew College after a five-year stint in corporate regulatory compliance at Ecolab Inc., and another five years as a community organizer with Jewish Community Action. Recently, Aaron’s organizing work helped win a Rent Control Ballot Initiative in Minneapolis after five years of movement cultivation helping the Twin Cities Jewish Community make an impact on issues facing renters, fighting gentrification, and seeking equitable community development. Aaron has long chased the next transformative Jewish experience; from Jewish summer camp to USY, and from Jewish organizing to The Adamah Fellowship—he finds value in sharing experience, song, food, and love. He recently completed a Certificate in Jewish Ethics and Social Justice from The Jewish Theological Seminary, and is excited to continue to deepen his Jewish learning & practice over the course of the next six years. Most recently, he was the Rabbinic Community Engagement Intern at Shir Tikvah Minnesota. Aaron is motivated by seeking harmony—harmony of the soul, harmony in relationships, harmony between all living things, & harmony on high. Aaron likes the Minnesota Timberwolves, playing basketball & ultimate frisbee, going for a run, hiking, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and many other items of pop culture ephemera he can make meaning out of.
Boston’s Jewish Community
Hebrew College is located in Newton Centre, just outside Boston, one of the leading regions of Jewish innovation and entrepreneurship.
“I didn’t think I would love Boston this much. Hebrew College has its fingers in so many Jewish and other institutions around Boston—synagogues, social justice organizations, musical spaces—that I can go almost anywhere and find a friend or connections.” – Rabbinical student from Pittsburgh
Home to the progressive federation Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Boston is blessed with a wide array of Jewish religious and social-justice institutions. Congregations — both affiliated and independent, established and start-up — abound. Day schools and supplementary Jewish schools are on the forefront of Jewish education. Hebrew College has developed strong ties with many of these institutions, giving students ample opportunities for internships during school and career options upon ordination.
Home to more than 60 colleges and universities, Boston has earned a reputation as the nation’s premier academic hub. With its myriad arts and cultural offerings, thriving nightlife and scenic beauty, the city is a great place to live and learn.