Intensive Text Study
Supportive, Diverse Community
Dynamic Social Justice and Multifaith Programs
Culture of Reconstructionist Values
Varied, Relevant Field Experience
Outstanding Practical Rabbinics Program
Unique Spiritual Direction Program
Growing Reconstructionist Movement
Livable, Lovable Philadelphia
1. First-Rate Academics
RRC offers small, seminar-style classes, personal connections with exceptional faculty members, creative assignments and an emphasis on learning, not performance. Our professors are talented scholars who have chosen RRC because they want to teach rabbinical students in an intellectually vibrant, non-dogmatic environment. You’ll engage in challenging and academically rigorous courses. Professors will encourage you to ask questions about the relevance of course materials to contemporary Jewish life and to think about how to teach this to others. Read about the changes at RRC that are part of our Reimagining Rabbinic Education project.
2. Intensive Text Study
Text study is a high priority at RRC and combines the best of traditional yeshivah-style learning with a contemporary, critical approach. You’ll study texts in their original languages and learn extensively through hevrutah (two-person, partnered study). Hevrutah allows you to delve deeply into content as you develop a fruitful relationship with your study partner. The Director of the Bet Midrash provides additional guidance outside of classes and can help you develop your own connections with the text, your personal spirituality and your future rabbinic work.
3. Supportive, Diverse Community
Above all, RRC is a caring community. You can look forward to personal attention and mentoring support as you develop learning goals, create your rabbinical identity and formulate your personal vision for the rabbinate. In addition to learning within a close-knit academic family, you will daven together, share Shabbat meals, dance and make music together, lend a helping hand when someone is sick, and support each other through the challenges, joys and woes of five to six years of intensive study.
We celebrate the unique life experiences that each person brings. Our students come from across the country and around the world. They are diverse in age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious upbringing, prior professional and academic paths, and desired rabbinic career. This diversity deepens and enriches learning and personal growth at RRC.
4. Dynamic Social Justice and Multifaith Programs
RRC has championed programs dedicated to the most pressing needs of our time. The Social Justice Organizing Program uses courses, paid internships and other community-based experiences to train Jewish leaders who can promote a socially just, environmentally sustainable, and spiritually fulfilling world. It is the first specialized academic track at a Jewish seminary to focus on justice organizing. The Department of Multifaith Studies and Initiatives offers coursework, interfaith dialogue and engagement, and community-based internships to train rabbis who can foster understanding and collaboration among people of all faiths. It has a special emphasis on Jewish-Muslim engagement and features frequent guest scholars. Both programs are led by RRC graduates renowned in their fields.
5. Culture of Reconstructionist Values
The RRC community embraces and lives by the core values of innovation, egalitarianism and tikkun olam.
Innovation: The idea of Judaism as an evolving religious civilization lies at the heart of our Reconstructionist culture. As an RRC student, you’ll find intellectual openness and an academic atmosphere that encourages you to challenge and change current thinking
Egalitarianism: Everyone at RRC, including the president, goes by first name. Faculty and administration have an open-door policy. You will have a role in governing the College through committee work and community discussions in every area, from curriculum and extracurricular programming to communal spiritual practice
Tikkun olam: You will encounter many fellow students who are active in social justice and social-change initiatives. These future rabbis choose RRC largely because tikkun olam is a pillar of Reconstructionist Judaism, and the College is well known for students, faculty and graduates whose rabbinic work emphasizes repair of the world.
6. Varied, Relevant Field Experience
RRC requires you to complement your coursework with hands-on internships and field experiences. These allow you to explore different types of rabbinic work, which can enhance your classroom learning and help you clarify the kind of rabbinate you want to pursue. All fieldwork is supervised by RRC faculty, who will help you get the most out of your placements. Many students use these paid internships to help cover their living expenses while gaining valuable rabbinical experience.
7. Outstanding Practical Rabbinics Program
Successful rabbis need more than grounding in Jewish study and yiddishkeit. They also need to understand how groups work and how to be effective managers, educators, pastoral counselors and leaders. Knowing how to put your knowledge to work in the real world is an invaluable skill. Students must take eight classes in practical rabbinics, taught by rabbis who bring the richness of their own years of experience into the classroom. At RRC, you also have a choice of five specializations that prepare you even more deeply for a particular type of rabbinic career.
8. Unique Spiritual Direction Program
Rabbinical school is a time of exploration and change. To serve others effectively, rabbis must continue to nourish their own Jewish lives and spiritual connections. As an RRC student, you will have the option to meet monthly with a spiritual director who helps guide and support you as you lay the foundation and master the tools for lifelong spiritual growth and development. Seventy-five percent of our rabbinic students choose to participate in Spiritual Direction, and many graduates report that this program has a major impact on their ability to offer spiritual guidance to others.
9. Innovative, Growing Reconstructionist Movement
Judaism’s most dynamic movement constantly strives to imbue ancient texts and rituals with contemporary meaning and relevance. Reconstructionist Judaism features values-based, inclusive communities, strong lay-rabbinic partnerships and strong leadership in tikkun olam. Students at RRC have a major voice in shaping our movement, especially since the unique restructuring that has made congregational programming the responsibility of the College. You’ll find many opportunities to get involved in leadership roles for the movement through congregational internships, work at Camp JRF and the No'ar Hadash Israel Experience, as well as other situations. RRC encourages and supports expansive thinking about the rabbinate, as does our movement. We want rabbis who can meet people “where they are” physically, intellectually and spiritually. Our graduates have a history of serving the wider Jewish community in many meaningful and important ways.
10. Livable, Lovable Philadelphia
Philadelphia offers you outstanding cultural and educational resources, diverse neighborhoods and a low cost of living. The city’s large, vibrant Jewish community provides many opportunities for teaching, other types of field experience and personal or family involvement. Philadelphia boasts Kosher restaurants, a progressive community mikveh, Jewish preschools and day schools. Fairmount Park, the nation’s largest landscaped park with 4,180 acres and two rivers, is readily accessible for hiking, biking, rowing and paddling. We’re also home to four major sports teams, a world renowned symphony orchestra and a lively arts and entertainment scene. The College is a short train ride from the city’s downtown area, and the region has an extensive public transportation system. New York and Washington, DC, are easy to access by car, train or bus.