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Just how much ground has shifted in recent years in the U. [See full story here: “So you’ve decided to become a rabbi…”] Here’s another interesting statistic: For all the hoopla over Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, the liberal Orthodox rabbinical school founded by Rabbi Avi Weiss, the New York seminary is ordaining just two rabbis this year. Consider this: This year the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, the Conservative movement’s L. seminary, will surpass the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York in ordinations – 17 vs. And Hebrew College, the decade-old nondenominational school near Boston, will be ordaining just as many new rabbis this spring as JTS.By contrast, Yeshiva University, for all its troubles (financial and otherwise), ordains more rabbis than any of the non-Orthodox seminaries – more than 50 per year.
Y.: 4 Yeshivat Chovevei Torah: 2 Academy for Jewish Religion-California: 1 In the old days, the rabbinical seminaries were there to serve the movements, producing rabbis to fill their denominations’ pulpits and schools.
These days — thanks to the proliferation of rabbinical seminaries, rising disaffection with denominational ideology and the growth of rabbinic employment outside synagogues — there is increased overlap between seminaries, and they’re competing for students as never before.
An Orthodox-minded rabbinical student might opt for Chovevei instead of Yeshiva, then find himself in Chovevei’s beit midrash next to someone raised as a traditional Conservative Jew.
In the Conservative movement, prospective rabbis have not just JTS and Ziegler to consider but also Hebrew College, which sends some graduates to Conservative pulpits and attracts some Conservative and Reform Jews interested in a nondenominational approach.
Then there’s the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Reform’s Hebrew Union College, and the two Academies for Jewish Religion, in Los Angeles and New York (the two AJRs are no longer formally connected with each other).