Clergy formation at AJR refers to the development of a mature sense of shlihut/mission—that is, a sense of what we are committing to as Jewish clergy, and why we are making that commitment to living in the presence of God in service to the Jewish people, and the world. This sense of purpose should be well-thought-out and well-integrated into the clergy student’s life, and the clergy student should be developing the intellectual, emotional and spiritual qualities and skills to implement their vision, in an ongoing way.
In their process of coming to identify and serve as clergy, we expect that our students will go through a spiritual growth process that will develop or enhance the following ten qualities:
In the human realm:
- Maturity of self-knowing and self-reflection;
- A high standard of ethics;
- The ability to manifest principled humility.
- Curiosity about the experience of others.
In the intellectual realm:
- Maturity of thought, such that one’s beliefs and approaches to Jewish tradition are carefully
- A commitment to continual learning of Torah and Jewish tradition;
- A desire to constantly broaden one’s knowledge beyond the familiar.
In the pastoral realm:
- Maturity of one’s inner life such that the candidate is able to wisely negotiate clergy roles and
- A willingness to serve the Jewish community and the individuals in it;
- An understanding that the role of clergy is to comfort and bring compassion to others;
- Respect for the multiplicity of approaches to Jewish tradition;
In the spiritual realm:
- Maturity of spiritual life, such that one is able to formulate a coherent and considered
expression of relationship with God as one understands God;
- The ability to negotiate an effective interface, in prayer and other sacred practice, between
personal experience and communal service.