Changes in the Jewish world have necessitated a paradigm shift in training and strategies for leadership. Today’s Jewish community is complex, diverse, professional, well-educated and often cynical. Therefore, effective rabbis and educators must be innovative, proactive and engaging. In addition to being fluent in both Jewish and secular subjects, they must also know basic psychology and sociology, understand community and organizational structure, be aware of important or controversial contemporary issues and generally speak the lingua franca of their constituency. They must be given the skills of communication which will enable them to speak, write and engage in a compelling manner. And they must be trained in the skills of outreach, so that they will be able to speak to the assimilated and even the intermarried, and make today’s marginal Jew tomorrow’s committed and proud Jew.
OTS emissaries-in-training receive these tools and more through the George Weinstein Curriculum, whose syllabus comprises the entire training component of both Beren-Amiel and Straus-Amiel programs for educators and rabbis, respectively.
The curriculum covers educational, outreach, pastoral and pedagogical skills, providing a thorough examination of some of the most challenging issues facing the Jewish people today with outstanding personalities in Jewish thought and halacha, as well as training in essential subjects such as public speaking, the nature and role of Jewish organizations, rhetoric, marketing, time and management skills, technology and social media, and public relations.