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In today’s era, it is no longer sufficient for a rabbi to merely minister to a population’s religious needs. A modern rabbi – a rabbi who is relevant to today’s society and can make an impact on the Jewish world and the nation’s future – must also be a true spiritual leader.
For decades, Ohr Torah Stone has been training this new type of spiritual leader; someone who can synthesize between modern and ancient, who can bridge between secular and religious, and who can expose the beauty and relevance of Judaism to communities all across the world. These modern rabbis and educators must be intellectually open and aware, fluent in the language of the modern world and conversant in current events and challenges. They must have the ability to reach out to their fellow Jews with a message of understanding and warmth; who can mend rifts through an ultimate commitment to the Jewish people as a whole and who can expose a Judaism that is welcoming, meaningful, alive and profoundly relevant.
The Seminary is comprised of two Rabbinical training kollels – Torat Yosef, a two to three-year semicha program which certifies rabbis to serve in the Diaspora; and a five-year program which trains spiritual leaders for Israel. Both cover in depth the traditional areas of Kashrut, (Issur V’Heter), Shabbat and Festivals, Family Purity (Niddah), Mourning, and Marriage (Chuppah V’Kiddushin) through rigorous daily classes coupled with supervised havruta study in the Codes, including an examination of their development from their initial Biblical source through relevant Talmudic sources.
In addition, the Straus Seminary runs a world-renowned practical rabbinics program, Straus-Amiel, which provides emissaries-in-training with the tools and skills they will need for their future service, places them in communities across the world and continues to support them throughout their time abroad.