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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Reform Judaism (10/12)
Section - Question 18.6.1: The Rabbinate: How does one become a Reform Rabbi?

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   While there are several small seminaries whose rabbis claim to be
   Reform, the following applies only to becoming a part of the Central
   Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR).
   Study for the Reform Rabbinate is typically done at the [5]Hebrew
   Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR)
   ([6], although one could also become a Conservative or
   Reconstructionist Rabbi and then petition to join the Reform
   Rabbinate. There are also foreign Reform Seminaries, such as Leo
   Baeck, whose ordinations are acceptable to the CCAR.
   HUC-JIR was founded in 1875 in Cincinnati Ohio, and is the oldest
   rabbinical seminary in the United States ordaining rabbis to serve the
   Reform movement and the Jewish community. It was founded by Rabbi
   Isaac M. Wise, who also established UAHC (1873) and CCAR (1889). In
   1922, Rabbi Stephen S Wise founded the Jewish Institute of Religion in
   New York, which merged with HUC in 1950. The Los Angeles campus
   (located next to USC) was opened in 1954, and the Jerusalem ISRAEL
   branch was established in 1963. The Jerusalem branch serves as the
   center for study of Biblical Archaeology. Thus, there are now [7]four
   campuses (see [8] for specific addresses).
   HUC-JIR's Rabbinic School has a five-year program of full-time
   graduate study leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Hebrew
   Letters (MAHL) and ordination. The sequence is as follows:
    1. Have an accredited bachelor's degree from a quality school, with a
       B to B+ average and high GRE scores. Apply to HUC-JIR; 34 to 45
       students over all 3 US campuses are admitted annually. The
       admissions process also includes interviews and psychological
       evaluation. All candidates seeking admission to the
       College-Institute's Rabbinic School, School of Sacred Music and
       Rhea Hirsch School of Education, will be expected to have
       successfully completed a minimum of one academic year of
       college-level Hebrew or its equivalent.
    2. If accepted at HUC-JIR, the path to ordination is as follows:
         1. One year in Israel in which one attends the Jerusalem campus.
            Study includes Biblical Hebrew, Modern Hebrew, archeology,
            and immersion in Israeli culture. [This year is occasionally
            waived for those who can demonstrate fluency in the language
            and texts.]
         2. Four years at one of the USA campuses in NYC, LA, or
            Cincinnati. Note: LA does not ordain. Those attending the LA
            campus must transfer after two years either to NYC or
            Cincinnati. [Occasionally, the 4 years can be compressed to 3
            years if the person can exempt enough courses.] This course
            of study includes Bible, Midrash, Talmud, Codes, Homiletics,
            History, Education, Liturgy, Philosophy, Human Relations,
            Hebrew, and Aramaic.
         3. Internship: Serve a congregation (usually small solo pulpits
            that can't afford full-time rabbis) for at least one year.
    3. Degree awarded: Master of Hebrew Letters (usually after the 4th
       year) and ordination after the 5th year.
   For more information, you can write directly to HUC-JIR at one of the
   following addresses:
   National Office of Admission            Office of Admissions
   HUC-JIR                                 HUC-JIR, Brookdale Center
   3101 Clifton Avenue                     One West 4th Street
   Cincinnati OH 45220                     New York NY 10012
   USA                                     USA

   Office of Admissions                    Office of Admissions
   HUC-JIR                                 HUC-JIR
   3077 University Avenue                  13 King David Street
   Los Angeles CA 90007                    Jerusalem
   USA                                     ISRAEL

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