AJR rabbis and cantors build communities.


The goal of the Rabbinical School Program is to train future leaders of the Jewish people who have deep learning in texts and tradition, an appreciation for the historical forces that have shaped our people, and a love for the Jewish people. The rabbinate involves service as much as leadership, and the rabbi ordained by AJR will have developed the professional skills to serve with insight and compassion, with wisdom and understanding.

The Rabbinical Program goals are listed here.

Below is a summary of some details of the rabbinical program. A full explanation can be found in the Academic Catalog.

Distance Learning

AJR offers the opportunity for people from around the world to pursue their dream of becoming Jewish clergy without needing to uproot themselves. All required classes are offered via Zoom and ordination students are only required to gather in person at an offsite location twice a year for our multiday communal events in the fall and spring trimesters. For those who wish to take some courses in person at the AJR campus, we regularly offer an onsite intersession course option, together with an online option, in between each of the three terms.

Course Requirements

A total of 140 credits plus 4 trimesters of Fieldwork Support Seminar and 4 trimesters of Core Concepts Seminar are required.

Now that AJR is running on a trimester system, students who want to study full-time all year round can finish the program in three years (provided they enter with a high level of Hebrew). Others will choose to study at a more measured pace, finishing the program in five years or longer, when completed through part time study. Click here to see a listing of the Course Requirements.

Comprehensive Examinations

All rabbinical students must pass a series of Comprehensive Examinations: one in Hebrew, one in Bible, one in Talmud, and one in Codes. These examinations are designed to measure the student’s mastery of basic information and ability to work with the classical primary sources of Jewish scholarship. Details of each Comprehensive Examination are to be found in the Academic Catalog. All the examinations must be completed before the beginning of the fall trimester of the student’s senior year.

Ritual Skills

The Academy admits students with varying levels of ritual proficiency. During their years of study, students will acquire crucial liturgical skills. These include leading the various services of the Jewish year and the appropriate cantillations of various biblical texts. Students entering a rabbinate open to all streams of Jewish life must be proficient in a wide array of these skills. Students will be required to demonstrate their competence in Ritual Skills by oral examination. No Advanced Standing may be earned by rabbinical students in the area of Ritual Skills. For a list of the required Ritual Skills, see here.

Master’s Project

All rabbinical students who have no previously written a Masters Thesis in Jewish Studies must complete a Master’s Project at AJR, which may be a formal academic research paper or a practical project, such as the design of a curriculum or program for an identified population. Details of length and other requirements are given in the Academic Catalog.