List of rabbinical schools


Following is a listing of rabbinical schools, organized by denomination. The emphasis of the training will differ by denomination: Orthodox Semikha centers on the study of Talmud-based halacha (Jewish law), while in other programs, the emphasis may shift to "the other functions of a modern rabbi such as preaching, counselling, and pastoral work.” [1][2] Conservative Yeshivot occupy a position midway between Orthodox and Reform and other denominational or non-denominational programs, in that their training places (significantly) more emphasis on Halakha and Talmud than other non-Orthodox programs.


In Reform Judaism, rabbinic programs span five years and incorporate a master's degree. Studies are mandated in pastoral care, the historical development of Judaism, academic biblical criticism, in addition to the study of traditional rabbinic texts. Rabbinical students also are required to gain practical rabbinic experience by working at a congregation as a rabbinic intern during each year of study from year one onwards. All Reform seminaries ordain women and LGBTQ people as rabbis and cantors.


Conservative institutions, which unlike Orthodox institutions are open to ordaining women and LGBT people as rabbis and cantors, provide an "integrated program" of academic learning and professional development, spanning five or six years.

In addition to knowledge and mastery of the study of Talmud and halakhah, Conservative semikhah also requires that its rabbinical students receive intensive training in Tanakh, classical biblical commentaries, biblical criticism, Midrash, Kabbalah and Hasidut, the historical development of Judaism from antiquity to modernity, Jewish ethics, the halakhic methodology of Conservative responsa, and classical and modern works of Jewish theology and philosophy. Here, students are required to study for one year - usually the program's third - in Israel.

Conservative programs include synagogue administration, pastoral care, chaplaincy, non-profit management, and navigating the modern world in a Jewish context, and incorporate professional placement.

Ordination is granted at:


Orthodox yeshivas are institutions of Torah study generally, "Torah lishma", and are not focused on the training of rabbis per se. Their curricula emphasize Talmud along with the study of halacha (Jewish law); if less emphasized, Tanakh (bible) and Jewish thought /Musar /Hasidic philosophy are also studied. (Orthodox yeshivas do not allow women to enroll.) Rabbinical training proper - often culminating up to a decade of study [Notes 2] - generally takes one of three forms.

Many Yeshivot host a specific Rabbinic kollel, or other program, focusing on Semikhah (ordination); these are then an integral part of the yeshiva. These programs build students' ability to "pasken", i.e. decide cases in Halacha, extending and relying on the textual and analytical skills built over the several prior years of Talmud study; this, in parallel, includes preparation of the specific sections of Shulchan Aruch required for certification-testing (always kashrut; often shabbat, niddah; sometimes avelut, marriage laws).[4][5][6][7][8][9] See Yeshiva § Jewish law and §Talmud study. These programs span 2 years on average, depending on the topics covered. Alongside their Rabbinic studies, students here typically participate in the Yeshiva's senior Talmud shiur. Institutions:

Some institutions specifically focus on rabbinic training; these are essentially "post-graduate", admitting students with an advanced Yeshiva background. These programs typically prepare all of the above topics, and extend the curriculum to other applicable areas of Jewish law (e.g. [14]laws of the synagogue and Jewish prayer, the moadim); these often place a parallel emphasis on "hashkafa", i.e. a systematic discussion of contemporary issues in light of Jewish philosophy; they may also offer some element of "practical Rabbinics" (e.g. homiletics and public speaking, life-cycle events, pastoral care), always secondary,[4] however. These programs average 3 years, but may be up to 5 years. Institutions well known for their Rabbinic training include:

Outside of these, it is common also for a student to prepare material independently, so as to be tested by a well known Rosh Yeshiva or posek, so called "private semicha"[4] (many from the late R. Zalman Nechemia Goldberg). This Semikhah certifies solely the holder's ability, and thus right, to pasken (i.e. "Heter Hora'ah"; see, again, Semikhah § Concept). Recently, several institutions are established around semicha-testing (i.e. as opposed to Rabbinical training); these publish syllabi, with a corresponding learning program, and may provide online training, [32] and are then a hybrid of Yeshiva and private; they are sometimes referred to as "on-line semicha programs."[4] Not intended to produce community Rabbis, and testing a single Halakha-topic at a time (and where the focus may be applied as opposed to theoretical), in some cases, the study-program can be completed in one year [Notes 4]

  • Semicha-testing programs: Pirchei Shoshanim,[33] Yeshivas Iyun Halacha,[34] Yeshiva Chonen Daas,[35] Virtual Halacha Program,[36] Kinyan Hilchos Shabbos, [37] Yeshivat Nefesh HaChaim [38]
  • Chabad programs: The Institute For Rabbinical Studies,[39] Machon Smicha,[40] HSSP,[41] Machon Limud Halacha,[42] Havineini Institute[43] (these largely mirror Tomchei Tmimim)
  • WebYeshiva, a fully online Yeshiva, offers semikha culminating a four year Halakha-program.

Other denominationsEdit

  • The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College is located in Pennsylvania; it ordains women as we well as men (and openly LGBT people) as rabbis and cantors. The first three years of the five-year program cover “Jewish beliefs, texts and traditions” - as approached by Reconstructionist Judaism - and include a year of study in Israel; the final two years center on an “immersive field education”. In 2015 the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College voted to accept rabbinical students in interfaith relationships, making Reconstructionist Judaism the first type of Judaism to officially allow rabbis in relationships with non-Jewish partners.[44]
  • Jewish Renewal has an ordination program, ALEPH, but no central campus. The program entails 60 credits of graduate level study, over 5 years, in the areas of Talmud and Halakha, Tanach, philosophy, history, and Hassidut and Kabbalah; the plurality of the courses are in practical Rabbinics, here preparing graduates to function as “Kli Kodesh” or "vessels of holiness". ALEPH ordains women as well as men as rabbis and cantors. It also ordains openly LGBT people.
  • Humanistic Judaism has the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, which currently has two centers of activity: one in Jerusalem and the other in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Both ordain women as well as men as rabbis, and do not ordain cantors, though they did so previously. Both ordain openly LGBTQIA people. Ordination requires 62 credit hours, completion of a master's degree, and a Rabbinical internship and practicum.
  • The Union for Traditional Judaism (UTJ), an offshoot of the right-wing of Conservative Judaism, operated the non-denominational Institute of Traditional Judaism (ITJ), also known as "The Metivta"; ITJ ran from 1991 through 2010. The Metivta provided a traditional Semikhah Program for men only, focused on Talmud and codes,[45] as well the advanced Semikha Yadin Yadin. Graduates of the rabbinical program were hired by both Conservative and Modern Orthodox synagogues, although the RCA did not recognize the ordination. ITJ did not ordain openly LGBT men. The positioning of UTJ is sometimes described as “Conservadox”.


  • The Academy for Jewish Religion, in New York City,[46] since 1956, and the unrelated Academy for Jewish Religion-California,[47] in Los Angeles, since 2000, have been rabbinic (and cantorial) seminaries unaffiliated with any denomination or movement. These seminaries are accepted by all non-Orthodox rabbis as valid rabbinical seminaries[citation needed], and ordain women as well as men (and openly LGBT people) as rabbis and cantors. The ordination program at both takes 5 years, and develops proficiency in texts and law, as well as education, counseling, and chaplaincy; both include a Master's degree.
  • Hebrew Seminary,[48][49] est 1992, is a non-denominational rabbinical school in Illinois near Chicago which uniquely trains both deaf and hearing students; it ordains women, men, and openly LGBTQIA people.[50] The program spans 5 years, requiring a thesis and a comprehensive exam; a distinctive aspect of the curriculum is the incorporation of Kabbalah and related meditative practices. In addition to the standard Rabbinic components, all graduates (hearing and deaf) are required to obtain fluency in American Sign Language.
  • Hebrew College, near Boston, includes a similarly unaffiliated rabbinic school, opened in the Fall of 2003. The 5 year ordination program includes a master's degree; the Tanakh and Talmud curricula have a required Bet Midrash element.
  • The Midrasha at the Oranim Academic College in Israel,[51] in partnership with the Shalom Hartman Institute,[52] since 2014 offers a pluralistic ordination to both men and women.[53] The program’s curriculum, spanning three years, addresses some of the "most compelling topics for Israeli society", and intends that "Israeli Judaism should be open and inclusive". Cohorts comprise candidates with a significant background in Torah studies (who are additionally native speakers of Hebrew).
  • A "new generation" [54] of smaller US based seminaries offers prospective rabbinic students the opportunity to obtain Semikha in a "nontraditional" [55] manner, and at lower cost[56] (although with some controversy [57]). Programs may require a year or two, depending on candidates’ prior academic degrees and Jewish community experience.
    • The Rabbinical Seminary International, est 1991, is a rabbinical seminary in New York, which ordains women as well as men (and openly LGBT people) as rabbis; it does not ordain cantors. RSI is a transdenominational rabbinical seminary in the Neo-Hasidic tradition.[58] Its program is project based, and culminates with a final thesis and examination; most candidates complete the course in two years.
    • The Ateret Tzvi Academy, of The Open Yeshiva,[59][60] est. 1998, offers a 4-year part time Rabbinics course for students wishing to receive ordination; topics - text or workshop based - include Halakha and Talmud, Hasidic thought, the festivals and shabbat, and practical Rabbinics.
    • Mesifta Adath Wolkowisk[61] offers an off-campus ordination program for mid-career working Jewish professionals - typically a cantor, religious school educator, college Judaic instructor, or hospital chaplain - “who can readily document competence and expertise in traditional Judaic academic disciplines”. The course of study at its Rabbinical Academy, est. c. 2000, is "individually tailored", where a program is developed for each student as a function of their background at application; ordination is granted following a comprehensive examination. There is no minimum time required for ordination.
    • The Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute, est 2010, offers a one year training program, meeting in weekly online classes via the Internet, which ordains women as well as men as unaffiliated rabbis to meet the needs of unaffiliated Jews as well as interfaith couples and their families. It subscribes to Jewish Universalism, promoting religious tolerance and asserting that there are many paths to 'the One.' [62] It does ordain openly LGBT people.
    • The Pluralistic Rabbinical Seminary, est 2019,[63] offers a two-year online rabbinical ordination program to candidates “who already have through prior academic learning or experience the education needed to enter rabbinical school at the third or fourth year”. It trains men and women. Rabbinic educators are Conservative, Reform and Orthodox rabbis, but the semicha is postdenominational.
    • Rimmon Rabbinical School,[64] with its first cohort starting 2020, offers a 3 year online program, totaling 18 classes. The emphasis is on "the independence of graduates… granting them the necessary skills… to reach halakhic decisions without fear." Alongside its courses in Halacha and Rabbinic literature, the program includes [65] Rabbinics with internship postings, Jewish History, and 3 years of parallel study of the Hebrew Language. Rimmon accepts men and women for semicha.


  1. ^ The IIFRR serves the Latin American Reform communities and has had online teaching as part of its curriculum, counting as teachers and supporting lecturers rabbis from the Reform communities throughout Latin America, North America, Israel and Europe.
  2. ^ Membership in the Rabbinical Council of America requires at least six year’s yeshiva study; see discussion under Master of Rabbinic Studies.
  3. ^ In recent years some midrashot offer specialized programs (although not ordination) in Rabbinic-level Halakha, including Talmud-intensive study. Two formal professional certifications are offered: Nishmat trains women as Yoatzot Halacha, advisors in the laws of Family purity; Lindenbaum, through a joint program, prepares women as to'anot, advocates in religious courts for matters relating to divorce. Three programs mirror the Chief Rabbinate’s ordination requirements for men: Ein HaNetziv trains students as "Teachers of Halacha"; Lindenbaum in "Halachik leadership"; Matan as "Halachik Respondents".
  4. ^ Although these programs are sometimes criticized, their syllabi are standard - although their focus may differ as mentioned - and their role, in fact, is intended as providing structured learning in Halacha to those outside of a formal yeshiva; and their offerings then include non-semicha courses. See the discussion re “Non-practicing rabbis” under Rabbi § Functions. As for the above, these programs assume a level of scholarship typically acquired over several years in Yeshiva. Note that the RCA does not include the time spent in an on-line program towards its requirement re years in Yeshiva.


  1. ^ Ordination (Semicha),
  2. ^ Rabbi Steven Blane (N.D.). "Ordination and Semicha",
  3. ^ "Home".
  4. ^ a b c d Semicha Standards, Rabbinical Council of America Executive Committee, 2015.
  5. ^ a b מידע לנבחנים - רבנות ("Information re testing for Rabbanut, the Semikhah Certification of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel"),
  6. ^ CATALOG, Rabbinical College of America
  7. ^ Semikhah Requirements, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary
  8. ^ Semicha Coursework, Hebrew Theological College
  9. ^ Catalog, Rabbinical College Bobover
  10. ^ A New Crop of Students To Receive Rabbinic Ordination,
  11. ^ Hundreds Gain Rabbinic Ordination While Deep Into Successful Careers,
  12. ^ a b שיחת יום ג' פ' וארא, כ"ד טבת, ה'תשי"ב ;§ כג
  13. ^ The certificate - see example - may in fact specify that further apprenticeship is required if the holder is to serve as a community Rabbi.
  14. ^ See, e.g.: "Community Rav Course"
  15. ^ Kollel for Israeli Rabbis
  16. ^ תכניות לימוד, המכון הגבוה לתורה (
  17. ^ הכשרת רבני קהילות,
  18. ^
  19. ^ The Center for Kehilla Development
  20. ^
  21. ^ Musmachim,
  22. ^
  23. ^ Institute for Community Rabbis in the Diaspora,
  24. ^ Yadin-Yadin for the Diaspora,
  25. ^ Beit Midrash Har’el
  26. ^ Rabbi Herzl Hefter, "Why I ordained women"
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ See for example The Chassidishe Kollel,; Siyum by Kollel Zichron Yitzchok Zev,; Happening in… Chicago,
  30. ^ Rabbinical Council of America List of Approved Yeshivot
  31. ^ שיחת יום א' פ' פינחס, י"ג תמוז, ה'תשי"ב;§ כ-כד
  32. ^ Dvora Lakein, 2010. Chabad Rabbi Launches Online Training Program for Rabbis
  33. ^ Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim
  34. ^ Yeshivas Iyun Halacha
  35. ^ /
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ Semicha Program,
  39. ^ Online Smicha Institute For Rabbinical Studies,
  40. ^ Machon Smicha,
  41. ^ Home Study Semicha Program,
  42. ^ Machon Limud Halacha — Lema’an Yilmedu,
  43. ^
  44. ^ Lisa Hostein (October 1, 2015). "Reconstructionists give green light to intermarried rabbinical students". Jweekly. Archived from the original on October 3, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  45. ^ Semikhah, (Archived)
  46. ^ "Rabbinical Program - Academy for Jewish Religion". Academy for Jewish Religion. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  47. ^ Programs,
  48. ^ Hebrew Seminary
  49. ^
  50. ^ "Testimonials". Archived from the original on December 4, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  51. ^ Midrasha at Oranim
  52. ^ Beit Midrash for Israeli Rabbis,
  53. ^ רבנות ישראלית,
  54. ^ Rabbi Andrea Lobel (2021). A Different Path to Ordination, Tablet
  55. ^ Josh Nathan-Kazis (2012). Online-Ordained Rabbis Grab Pulpits, The Forward
  56. ^ Rabbi P. Beaulier (2019). Want More Diversity In Rabbinical Schools? Then Move Them Online,
  57. ^ Yaakov Menken, 2013. The Cartel Has Been Broken
  58. ^ "Rabbinical Seminary International". Archived from the original on September 23, 2011.
  59. ^ Smicha,
  60. ^ See also this program description
  61. ^ Mesifta Adath Wolkowisk
  62. ^ "JSLI". JSLI. August 27, 2011. Archived from the original on April 29, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  63. ^ "Pluralistic Rabbinical Seminary". PRS. January 23, 2019. Retrieved February 14, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  64. ^ Rimmon Rabbinical School Online,
  65. ^ Semikha Outline,