The Modern Rabbi Program

Founded by Rabbi Joseph H. Gelberman, The Rabbinical Seminary International offers a unique individualized program for the training of the Modern Rabbi. This program helps students cultivate practical skills and knowledge that can enable them to serve as teachers, counselors, worship facilitators, spiritual healers and teachers of faith. The program prepares people of the Jewish faith to serve the Jewish and larger communities as spiritual leaders within the context of the Jewish perspective.

The program includes instruction in the practical aspects of Rabbinical service as well as extensive education in the Bible, Jewish history, Philosophy, theology, and varieties of Jewish spiritual experience. Students can work privately with experienced Rabbis and tutors providing as many opportunities as possible to practice their skills in actual situations.

The most important qualification for Modern Rabbis is their own spiritual and ethical value system. Candidates for the Seminary should be committed to a life of personal spiritual development and service to God and humanity. Ongoing spiritual work is seen as an integral part of the program of study.

A Rabbi for the Ages

Historically, Jewish communities have offered persons who were called to spiritual service myriad opportunities to serve. The Modern Rabbi program of the Seminary is in keeping with a tradition that has been alive in the Jewish community for thousands of years.

The Modern Rabbi is distinguished from the traditional rabbi in two important ways. First, the main emphasis of the learning experience of the Modern rabbi is on personal and practical spiritual ministry, not Jewish law. The curriculum of the Seminary does not call for intricate technical studies of Jewish law that no longer guides the lives of the majority of Jews today.

Second, the traditional rabbi has the authority to act as a judge in matters of Jewish ritual and civil law. The Modern Rabbi is not a judge or an interpreter of law. Instead, he or she serves as a spiritual guide for people searching for a greater spiritual connection and consciousness in Judaism.

Along with traditionally ordained rabbis, cantors, and educators, there is a need and place for Modern Rabbis to offer their own contribution toward the spiritual renewal of the human community.

Completion Requirements (in brief)

Students must demonstrate:

In addition, the student must write a final thesis on his or her own goals and plans as a modern Rabbi, complete an intensive in New York City, and answer all questions of the final examination.

A diploma — semicha — is granted to students upon successful completion of all requirements.


Registration fee is non-refundable
Tuition payment refunds: