The Seminary Leadership Project provides rabbinical, cantorial and education students in all denominations at seminaries across the country with organizing and leadership development training, internship opportunities, and mentorship with rabbis and organizers engaged in synagogue organizing. It provides opportunities for students from various seminaries and denominations who are interested in organizing to impact the Jewish community and the world around them to learn from and support each other.
The Seminary Leadership Project offers three distinct aspects to its training program*:
- It provides direct education in leadership and organizing through a full semester, cross-denominational course in NY, mini-mesters, and modules at most of the major seminaries.
- It facilitates mentorship and paid internships for rabbinical students to deepen their skills through year-long part-time internships with synagogues in the New York area and Los Angeles and full-time summer internships*, primarily with congregation-based community organizations.
- It facilitates a seminary alumni council, which offers students and new clergy in the field the opportunity to support and learn from each other.
In training the next generation of religious Jewish leaders, we intend to fill synagogues across the country as well as other Jewish institutions with clergy who understand how to build thriving communities based on relationships and common purpose. Clergy trained through the Seminary Leadership Project have the skills to develop leadership teams, rather than leading on their own. They have the appetite to transform their own institutions into healthy, vibrant, thriving beacons and to lead those institutions as they act on values grounded in social justice in the world around them, helping it become a more just place. They see their laypeople as allies, not problems to be controlled, and other clergy – both Jewish and non-Jewish – as partners. They have the confidence to experiment and the talent to position themselves for success.
Over 200 rabbinical students have been trained through the Seminary Leadership Project, which was founded at Interfaith Funders and later housed by Jewish Funds for Justice before moving to JOIN for Justice in 2011. Our alumni are assistant or lead rabbis at synagogues all over the country, such as Boston, New York, Washington DC, Dallas, New Jersey, Florida, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
*Courses and internships offered for Reform Movement seminary students are in partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism’s Just Congregations.
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