Six-Year Degree Program Enables Advanced Students to Integrate Semicha Studies into Undergraduate Education
For exceptional aspiring rabbis with a passion and demonstrated affinity for Torah learning, Yeshiva University and its affiliate, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, have announced a new six-year joint program that will enable participants to earn a bachelor’s degree and semicha [rabbinic ordination] while fully immersing themselves in Torah scholarship that will lay the foundations for their future.
“The result of a full year of discussions among our roshei yeshiva on how to bring our semicha standards to ever-higher levels, this rigorous 6-year program is designed for our strongest talmidim [students], who are interested in completing their Yeshiva College bachelor’s degree while maximizing their learning time,” said Rabbi Menachem Penner, the Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS. “Talmidim will be challenged to learn even more halacha [Jewish law] than the typical semicha student, covering a chelek [volume] of Mishnah Berura each of their six years in the program. Additionally, the roshei yeshiva are excited that these talmidim will be able to organize their schedules as a group to learn afternoon seder [extended study session] for most of their college years with a wide choice of advanced chugim [study groups] in halacha and hashkafa [Jewish thought] in the late afternoon, an entirely new option.”
The program is highly selective, with admittance based on demonstrated commitment to learning and skill level as well as the recommendations of applicants’ rebbeim. Participants take just one or two Yeshiva College courses in their first semester to allow themselves to remain immersed in full-time yeshiva learning as they begin their college studies and experience the full range of Yeshiva’s Torah offerings as they study for RIETS ordination under the guidance of its world-class roshei yeshiva. By spreading coursework for their bachelor’s degree over eight semesters, rather than the six typical for students who have completed a year of study in Israel, participants ensure their education is firmly centered around learning throughout their undergraduate experience.
“This program allows us to look at the undergraduate and semicha years from a holistic perspective, enhancing both the college and semicha experiences to produce an unparalleled product—a rabbi with a strong Torah knowledge base, grounded with professional development and uniquely prepared to meet the needs of today’s community,” said Rabbi Yosef Kalinsky, associate dean of undergraduate Torah studies at YU.
Participants will learn three daily sedarim in a vibrant beit midrash [study hall] and participate in a unique halacha curriculum, including the mastery of a chelek of Mishna Berura each year. Combining in-depth study of many halachic disciplines with professional rabbinic programming that includes training in oratory skills, pastoral counseling and more, the program prepares students for their future careers at the communal helm through leadership seminars and teaching internship opportunities.
In addition, students interested in Jewish education can earn a simultaneous master’s degree at YU’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration—a cutting-edge degree from the leading institution in the field.
Generous scholarship assistance will be available to support each student on their journey to the rabbinate.
For more information about the program, contact Rabbi Yosef Kalinsky at 646-592-4068 or firstname.lastname@example.org.