Preparing Jewish Rabbinical Leadership for the Modern World
“Ohr Torah Stone’s rabbinic training is about so much more than learning the halakha,” enthused Aviel Javesky, a student in Ohr Torah Stone’s Joseph and Gwendolyn Straus Rabbinical Seminary. “I also learned philosophy, psychology, and gained the skills I will need to be an effective rabbi. The program far exceeded my expectations.”
There are many yeshivot across Israel where a young adult seeking to become a rabbi can learn the material for the rabbinic exams administered by the Rabbanut. However, to really be a good rabbi, someone people can turn to for guidance during all of the different moments in their lives, a rabbi needs much more than halakhic knowledge. He needs to be able to recognize when people are facing challenges, and to have the tools and resources to help.
The Straus Seminary offers two rabbinical training programs, a five-year program geared largely towards young men who plan to serve in Israel and a two-year program, which trains rabbis to serve in Diaspora communities. Students in both programs cover all of the traditional areas of halakha, including Kashrut, Shabbat and festivals, family purity, mourning and marriage.
Rabbinical students interested in serving on shlichut in the Diaspora also participate in the Straus-Amiel Rabbinic Emissary Training Program, where they gain practical tools, placement assistance and ongoing guidance throughout their work overseas.
Seven students will be completing their rabbinic ordination in the coming weeks, using the halakhic knowledge, training and tools they have gained at Ohr Torah Stone to serve as rabbinic leaders and educators in Israel and in Diaspora communities around the world.
Among the students completing rabbinic ordination, three will work as educators in Israeli communities and four will serve as rabbis in communities across the world, in Hong Kong, Spain, Africa and California, with ongoing guidance from their teachers as they begin these new positions.
“I learned so much more than how to respond to halakhic questions,” continues Javesky. “We were introduced to psychologists to discuss mental health issues, and we gained hands-on, practical skills related to all of the topics we studied,” he relates. “I know I will use all of the knowledge and skills I gained as I begin my new role in Hong Kong.”
Rabbi Kenneth Brander, President and Rosh Hayeshiva of Ohr Torah Stone says, “We are training rabbis to serve in the modern world – rabbis who will be educated, sensitive leaders prepared to work in Israel, in North America, or in any Jewish community in the Diaspora. I am very proud of our students and graduates.”
Twelve new students will be joining the Straus Seminary in the fall.