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Training Rabbis

Kolot's impact on the Jewish community is exponential through our work at RRC. It is felt in the congregations, day schools, college campuses and Jewish communal organizations where RRC-trained rabbis are employed.

RRC's commitment to the education of Jewish women and the transformation of the Jewish community dates back to the founder of Reconstructionism, Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan, who created the first bat mitzvah ceremony for his daughter in 1922.

Kolot faculty teach courses such as:

Bible and the Feminist Imagination. This course focuses on contemporary Jewish women's poetry and midrash that speak in the voices of Biblical characters and the biblical commentaries written by Jewish women today. How is women's creativity expanding the meanings of the tradition and the canon?

Queering Jewish Studies. This course explores how gender analyses and queer theory might help us to find new meanings in Jewish texts, culture, and practices. Students read both exemplary analyses of Judaism that are informed by these theories and theory that incorporates analyses of Judaism or Jewish identity

The Body in Jewish Mystical Thought. This course attends to the construction and use of gender as expressed in representations of the bodies of the worshipper and the divine.

In 2002-2003, the student/faculty Kolot College Program Committee enriched rabbinical training at the College with programs on Ad-Dressing the Body, including workshops to help students assist congregants with eating disorders, breast cancer, and transgender issues, and an exploration of self-presentation and authority entitled Fashion and the Rabbi. Kolot sponsored two programs by Mistabra, Brandeis University's Center for Jewish Textual Activism. A lunch-time program introduced the concept of Jewish textual activism, and a three-hour evening program included text study, dinner, and a performance piece addressing the Hanukah story and the concept of sacred space.

In 2001-2002, Kolot complemented its training with experiential programs on Feminism and Jewish Men. Workshops on such topics as Raising Feminist Sons and Gender Politics and the Situation in Israel considered how women's and gender studies help create a more meaningful and inclusive Judaism. In the winter, students and faculty attended a special showing and discussion with the filmmakers of the documentary Trembling Before G-d about gay Orthodox Jews, Jewish law and tradition, and coming out. In the spring, students and faculty met with members of the Orthodox lesbian group, Orthodykes.