Israel Program | Reconstructionist Rabbinical College


Israel Program


Israel Program

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A key part of our rabbinic education is engaging with Israel and learning there. According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 40 percent of the world’s Jews live in Israel. A deep knowledge of Israel is crucial to understanding today’s diverse and vibrant Jewish civilization, even as fluctuating political developments there strongly shape the lens through which we view it.

21st-century rabbis must be skilled facilitators of conversations about Israel, one among many topics about which people have powerful emotions, and sometimes conflicted and conflicting points of view.

We believe it important that students spend at least one semester studying in Israel, deepening their knowledge of its culture and also experiencing some of the Jewish learning opportunities only obtainable there.

Our Israel curriculum enables you to craft your experience there to match your interests and goals. The Israel curriculum has two core components:

  • Facilitated academic and experiential courses that focus on contemporary Israeli society, and its most critical issues as a state founded on Jewish and democratic principles
  • Elective opportunities in Hebrew language, advanced text study and experiential learning about contemporary Israel


Real-time learning

The in-country academic program, which we facilitate, features a course on the history of the State of Israel, as well as a weekly, interactive seminar that provides you with a more intimate knowledge of Israel and the forces shaping its cultural, political and social environments as related by diverse community leaders and community members.

Our unique curriculum creates a textured learning experience that reaches well beyond the classroom and the textbook. Your experiences are real-time, firsthand accounts of a fluid situation set against a more thorough understanding of what led to the current moment. In the end, you’ll have an even better appreciation of what it means to be a Reconstructionist in Israel and become part of the conversation of what a Jewish state means at this particular time in this particular part of the world.


Flexibility to pursue your interests

You will supplement the civilizational study of Israel with courses and experiences that align with your individual interests. Many students choose to study full-time in batei midrash (houses of traditional study of sacred text), while others study in more academic settings, engage in service learning, or pursue independent study and research projects.

Students study in a variety of institutions, including:


Minyan in Jerusalem

An important component to your time will be to help lead the Jerusalem Reconstructionist Minyan, a monthly Shabbat-morning minyan conducted by our students during the academic year. The Minyan provides an opportunity to improve your liturgy skills, and deepen your relationships with other Reconstructionists and aligned communities abroad.

The goals of the Israel experience are to encounter and better understand contemporary Israeli society as a vital expression of contemporary Jewish civilization and to prepare students to navigate the complex role of Israel in contemporary North American Jewish life for themselves and for the people they serve.