Competencies for the 21st Century Rabbinate  | Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

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Competencies for the 21st Century Rabbinate 

RRC’s curriculum cultivates the competencies that 21st century rabbis need to help individuals and communities use the riches of Jewish tradition to make meaning, connect to the holy and bring themselves, their communities and the world to greater justice and peace:

Be a vessel of Torah 

  • Articulate the perspective of Judaism as a dynamic religious civilization;   
  • Demonstrate textual competencies regarding the following texts and genres: Tanakh, Mishnah, Midrash, Talmud, parshanut, codes, Jewish thought, kabbalah, Hassidut, siddur, modern/and contemporary literatures;  
  • Demonstrate knowledge of halakhah and minhag;   
  • Effectively articulate relevance and resonance of Jewish texts, customs and historical experiences in a variety of setting. Such settings include pastoral encounters, campus, school, and pulpit, in the public square, and the wider world.    

Demonstrate personal and spiritual grounding for effective and ethical Jewish leadership 

  • Articulate a personal, authentic spiritual/theological professional and political vision;  
  • Demonstrate the ability to elicit and integrate feedback, the capacity for reflection, and the self-awareness necessary to perform effectively in a range of communal and rabbinic settings;  
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical and pastoral dimensions of rabbinic situations and respond in ways that demonstrate middot tovot;   
  • Demonstrate the ability to adapt one’s attitudes and strategies in an environment of fast-paced change;  
  • Exhibit curiosity about alternative worldviews and understandings of life.   

Demonstrate the professional skills and knowledge for effective and ethical Jewish leadership 

  • Demonstrate familiarity with key components and theories of organizational systems and organizational behavior;  
  • Demonstrate familiarity with a variety of leadership styles and how their leadership is an expression of Reconstructionist Judaism;  
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the diversity of contemporary Jewish communities, including an awareness of how group dynamics, power, privilege and authority affect the experience of various Jewish populations both in the mainstream and on the margins;  
  • Demonstrate familiarity with principles of participatory decision-making and apply them to resolve challenges;  
  • Enact principles of multifaith engagement and multi-ethnic engagement;   
  • Demonstrate the entrepreneurial skills needed to respond to the landscape of the contemporary Jewish community;   
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills necessary to conduct worship and rituals in ways that honor and uphold tradition and meet the needs of those one serves;  
  • Demonstrate an evolving relationship with Jewish practice;   
  • Present ideas, sermons and other forms of communication with clarity, persuasion, and Jewish content;   
  • Demonstrate ability to teach in formal and informal settings in ways that are informed by familiarity with curriculum design and principles of educational development; 
  • Articulate the Jewish values and narratives that mandate justice and dignity for all people and apply them to contemporary situations;   
  • Demonstrate the ability to facilitate difficult conversations, to cultivate community and to guide communities into action.   

Be a healing and helpful presence 

  • Demonstrate skills and knowledge pertinent to the fields of counseling and pastoral care;  
  • Provide appropriate support, directions and referral in pastoral context;  
  • Communicate clear boundaries.