One legacy, many voices.

Who are our students?
Our students, many of whom are pursuing a second or third career, are individuals who feel called to serve the Jewish people and who do so with great depth, passion, and integrity; they come from a wide variety of backgrounds and live throughout North America (and, increasingly, around the world, thanks largely to our Distance Learning Program.)

How long do the academic programs take to complete?
Full-time study leading to rabbinical or cantorial ordination usually takes around five years to complete. It is possible to achieve ordination in three years of full-time, year-round study if students enter our programs with a sufficient background in Hebrew language. The Kol-Bo program takes an additional year of full-time study. Full time study leading to an M.A. in Jewish Studies is designed to take 18–24 months.

Do you allow part-time study?
Yes. Many of our students prefer part-time study; many are balancing family commitments and/or economic concerns.

Can I begin my studies as a non-matriculated student?
Yes. AJR allows students to study as part of the Gesher program for non-matriculated study. All courses taken as a Gesher student count toward the degree’s program requirements should that student choose to matriculate. Acceptance into our Gesher program does not guarantee acceptance into our ordination or M.A. programs.

How does AJR’s Distance Learning Program work?
AJR offers a vigorous Distance Learning Program. Our state-of-the-art Hybrid Classrooms, equipped with professional video and sound systems, and using the Zoom video conference platform, make it possible for on-site and off-site students to learn together as one community in real time. Click here for more information.

What prior background do I need before beginning to study at AJR?
All of AJR’s programs are at the graduate level, and students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in order to be matriculated as a student in our programs. All students should be studying Hebrew language, reading Jewish books, and studying Jewish texts in preparation for their AJR studies. A preparatory year, called a Mechina program, which includes Hebrew language, Jewish History, and Text Study, is available for those students who are not yet ready for AJR classes. In addition, rabbinical and cantorial students should be active members of a Jewish community.

Can I receive credit for prior education or life experience?
For those with advanced degrees in Jewish studies, Jewish communal service, or significant life experience, an appropriately-customized rabbinic or cantorial ordination program can be arranged. The M.A. Program allows for some credit to be given for graduate courses completed elsewhere.

Do you provide placement services?
AJR has a personalized placement office which works with our students to provide them with employment opportunities, both for experience and/or income. The same office provides placement services for our alumni who are members of the Association of Rabbis and Cantors, AJR’s professional organization.

How can I afford to continue my education?
Students finance their education through a combination of work and financial aid. AJR’s structure allows for students to maintain significant employment if needed. In addition, some financial aid, including grants and interest-free loans, is available through AJR.

What does it mean to be pluralistic?
AJR believes in a pluralistic approach, cherishing many different approaches to Jewish life as equally valid and acceptable ways of serving God and the Jewish People. We believe that Judaism is richer than any one denomination, and that we all grow as individuals and as Jews by being a part of a diverse community.

Can I still be a part of a denomination and go to AJR?
Yes, many of our students choose to be affiliated before, during, and after their studies at AJR. At the same time, they appreciate all that they learn from the diversity all around them at AJR and feel better prepared to serve the Jewish community thanks to this understanding of Klal Yisrael.

Do AJR alumni have a professional organization?
Yes, AJR alumni join the Association of Rabbis and Cantors (ARC), the only professional clergy organization that includes both cantors and rabbis. AJR alumni stay connected with AJR, and provide mentoring, friendship, and support to AJR students. More info available at

Are AJR alumni welcome to join other rabbinic and cantorial organizations?
Yes, in addition to belonging to ARC, many AJR alumni are members of Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist rabbinical organizations and Reform and Conservative cantorial organizations. Each organization has its own membership process.

Can we help you find a rabbi or cantor?
Many of our students and graduates are available for pulpits, chaplaincy, and other community and individual needs. Please e-mail our Director of Placement Michael Kasper.