The Rabbinical Seminary International has, for thirty years, followed the most traditional method of training Rabbis. Traditionally, there were no seminaries. Everyone studied and, when students were ready, the students asked their Rabbis to examine them. When their Rabbis determined they were ready, they were sent to two additional Rabbis to be examined and who would then issue smichot (certificates of ordination).
At the Rabbinical Seminary International, each student is provided with a course of study, reading lists and study guides. Under the auspices of one or two mentoring Rabbis, each student studies Jewish history, ethics, and philosophy as well as the Tanakh (complete Torah, the Prophets and the Writings) and lessons from the Talmud, Mishna and Gomorrah. Students must be proficient in liturgical Hebrew and have the ability to lead services and conduct all life-cycle ceremonies.
In order to qualify for graduation, students must prepare and present to the faculty book reports, sermons, divrei Torah (explanations, commentaries and implications of weekly Torah portions), and a course end thesis, as well as a complete Shabbat (Sabbath) service both in writing and recorded in either .mp3 format, on CD/DVD, or on tape.
The course is self-guided as to pace, and since most students are mature adults who are working in the business world and are entering this program to begin a new path in their lives, the length of time it takes to be ready for graduation varies. Some students have been ready in two years, and some have taken 3 to 4 years. When a student and the faculty agree that a student is ready to apply for ordination, the student then presents himself or herself to a Beit Din composed of three Rabbis who have been receiving and evaluating that candidate's course work.
There is a comprehensive three day intensive in New York City, which consists of oral testing of each candidate by the three Rabbis of the Beit Din. Only after the Beit Din is satisfied that the candidate is sufficiently accomplished to become a Modern Rabbi, is the candidate ordained and granted Smicha, a Diploma of Ordination.
Under no circumstances is the Rabbinical Seminary International a "mail-order" institution where someone simply sends in money and is sent a certificate. While some students who live at a distance from NYC indeed mail their assignments to the faculty board, no candidate can qualify without completing the program and the intensive with the Beit Din.
The Rabbinical Seminary International is committed to paths of traditional Judaism, and, therefore, does not admit Messianic Jews or Jews for Jesus.