List of Courses

Quick links to the course listings on this page:


Genres of Themes of Biblical Literature
This Mekorot course is an overview of Tanakh, focusing on biblical narrative and legal discourse.

Introduction to Readings in Biblical Literature
A second Mekorot Tanakh course, this class focuses on building Tanakh text reading skills.

Bereshit (Genesis)
In this Shanah Aleph course, students engage in close readings of Bereshit, paying particular attention to the dynamics between the matriarchs and patriarchs. Students hone their Hebrew text-reading skills and are introduced to the basics of medieval commentary, with a special focus on Rashi and his midrashic sources.

Shemot (Exodus)
In the first semester of this Shanah Bet course, Shemot is studied as the national saga of the Jewish people. In addition to a close reading of the text, students study the midrashic uses of the biblical text in the halakhic and aggadic development of Judaism, as well as the importance of the Exodus and Sinai motifs in Jewish theology. In the second semester, this course examines major themes of Shemot as they are seen in key writings of the Hasidic movement.

Vayikra (Leviticus)
Standing at the very center of the Pentateuch, Vayikra reveals the priestly view of the relationship between God and Israel, and the interconnected dimensions of sacred time, space and person. In this course, students study major themes of Vayikra, applying insights from anthropology, comparative theology and other contemporary disciplines, but with a main emphasis on a careful reading of the text.

Bemidbar (Numbers)
This course draws on historical-critical approaches as well as classical Jewish "parshanut" (commentators) to study Bemidbar in-depth. It addresses themes such as the role of census, tribal encampment, trials in the Wilderness, challenges to leadership and prophecy.

Devarim (Deuteronomy)
This Shanah Heh course examines the book of Deuteronomy as a source of Jewish religious teachings and values, including readings from midrashic, medieval and modern interpretive sources. It also discusses the place of Devarim in the emergence of rabbinic Judaism, including halakhic, ethical and devotional dimensions.



Introduction to Mishnah

This first-semester Mekorot course is an intensive introduction to the form and content of the Mishnah, the first code of rabbinic law. Students will gain familiarity with classical rabbinic syntax, key concepts and frequent forms of rabbinic teachings, building a foundation for further study of rabbinic literature.

Introduction to Talmud
In this second-semester Mekorot course, students learn the skills of analyzing a variety of Talmudic texts, aggadic and halakhic. Students will learn basic Talmudic terminology, including a glossary of Hebrew and Aramaic terms and concepts, and how to use dictionaries, concordances and other reference tools to decipher and understand a Talmudic sugya.

Shanah Aleph 

Talmud Berachot

In Shanah Aleph, students do an intensive study of selections of Massechet Berachot. Coursework covers essential themes in the field of liturgy while building skills that are necessary for reading, understanding, appreciating, analyzing and participating in Talmudic discourse and for accessing the full range of classical rabbinic sources.

Theories of Halakhah

This course provides an introduction to theories of halakhah and halakhic literature, contextualizing halakhah within a wider world of legal theory as well as examining its particularly Jewish expression of law.

Hilkhot Tefillah (Laws of Prayer)

This course introduces students to primary halakhic texts relating to tefila, with a particular emphasis on personal practice and prayer leadership.

Shanah Bet-Shanah Dalet

Students in Shanah Bet, Gimel and Dalet are grouped by level for Talmud and halakhah courses. During these three years, students move through a cycle of themes based on orders of the Talmud: Mo’ed (Sacred Time), Nashim uGevarim (Women and Men) and Nezikin (Damages).

Mo’ed (Sacred Time)

Students do an intensive study of topics from Seder Mo’edfocusing on the theme of separating and sanctifying time. 

Hilkhot Shabbat (Laws of Shabbat)
The course delves into the laws and traditions of the Sabbath, using this material as an example of how to read and research the halakhic codes, especially those of Maimonides and Joseph Caro.

Hilkhot Yom Tov (Laws of Holidays)
This course focusses on the festival laws as a means to examine basic issues in the workings and historical development of halakhah. 

Nashim uGevarim (Women and Men)

Students examine essential talmudic sources in Seder Nashim. Courses comprise an introduction to classical rabbinic concepts, categories and practices concerning the roles and status of women and men and as a basis for analyzing issues that surround gender roles in contemporary Jewish practice.

Hilkhot Kiddushin viGittin (Laws of Marriage and Divorce)
With a view to practical rabbinic applications, this course surveys the essential rules and regulations that traditionally govern marriage ceremonies and divorces. The course also considers present-day innovations, challenges and opportunities.

Hilkhot Aveilut (Laws of Mourning)
Again with a view to practical rabbinic applications, this course surveys the essential halakhic concepts for performing funerals and guiding the bereft through the stages of Jewish mourning.

Nezikin (Damages)

Students do an intensive study of talmudic sources in Seder Nezikin. Courses explore the rabbinic conception of the human being, the construction of the court system and civil responsibility.

Hilkhot Nezikin
An investigation of talmudic and halakhic sources regarding various areas of Jewish interpersonal ethics, including treatment of workers, property rights, proper speech and other selected topics.

Advanced Talmud Elective
Shanah Heh presents the opportunity for an advanced Talmud elective.

Hilkhot Kashrut (Laws of Keeping Kosher)
This Shanah Heh course is an overview of the laws of kashrut with in depth study of classical sources and attention to contemporary concerns.

Prayer and Theology

Liturgy of the Synagogue Service
An introduction to the structure and content of Jewish prayer for Shanah Aleph students, this course examines the historic development of the synagogue and the siddur. The course covers liturgy of the three daily services then the liturgy of Shabbat and "chagim" (holidays).

Theology of Jewish Prayer
In this Shanah Aleph course, students investigate varied traditional and contemporary approaches to and styles of Jewish prayer, the inner life of prayer as taught by various masters, and the theologies that underlie prayer and proceed from it.

Theology of the Jewish Year
In this Shanah Bet course, students explore the Jewish sacred calendar both in its historical origins and in the fullest context of later interpretation, from early midrashic sources to reflections in contemporary theology.

Tefillah Groups
Students meet weekly with peers and a faculty member to reflect on tefillah as a spiritual practice and develop a deeper, nourishing experience of Jewish prayer.

Jewish Thought and History

Second Temple and Early Rabbinic Judaism
In Shanah Aleph, students learn about the diversity and development of Judaism in the ancient world. Course time is also devoted to the first century of the Common Era that saw the birth of Christianity, the destruction of the ancient Jewish state and the beginnings of rabbinic civilization.

Classical Jewish Thought in Historical Context
This course for Shanah Bet students considers concepts and articulations of the nature of God, Creation and Revelation as they developed from biblical through medieval times, including consideration of rabbinic, philosophic and kabbalistic sources.

Medieval Jewish Thought in Historical Context
A Shanah Gimel course, this class focuses on the writings of four of the most influential writers and leaders of the Jewish Middle Ages: Saadya Gaon, Yehuda Halevi, Moses Maimonides (Rambam), and Nachmanides (Ramban). The course will address how these individuals functioned as leaders and how their overall understanding of Judaism affected their approach to community and leadership.

Modern Jewish Thought in Historical Context
In Shanah Dalet, students explore the writings of major Jewish thinkers living in the modern era and place them in the context of their historical setting.The class focuses on the various ways these thinkers — from Spinoza to Buber — understood the dynamic relationship between inherited tradition and modern conceptions of religious life.  

Contemporary Jewish Thought in Historical Context
In Shanah Heh, students explore American Jewish history and thought, focusing on themes of particular importance to rabbinical students such as the emergence of denominations and the evolution of the American synagogue.


Shemot II: The Book of Exodus in Hasidic Imagination
In the second semester of studying Sefer Shemot, Shanah Bet students examine three major themes of Sefer Shemot — the exodus from Egypt, the Sinai Revelation and the Mishkan — as they are seen in key writings of the Hasidic movement. Through this course, students learn models for contemporary personal and spiritual readings of the Torah narrative and develop textual skills for reading Hasidic and other late rabbinic Hebrew texts.

The Zohar
This Shanah Heh course is an introduction to the Jewish mystical tradition and the reading of its central text, the Zohar. Students will be taught the symbolic language of Kabbalah and will learn to read passages in the Aramaic original.

Hasidic Texts on Leadership and Blessing
This advanced elective examines Hasidic teachings on leadership and transformation. Students study models of personal growth, master-disciple relationships, charismatic figures, peer-to-peer influencem and blessing, and discuss the relevance of Hasidic teachings for our contemporary lives. 


Hebrew 5 & 6
Generally taken during Mekorot (preparatory year), students will deepen their understanding of the Hebrew language, with emphasis on skill acquisition and development through the extensive use of classical and modern texts. These courses give a systematic presentation of grammatical and syntactic principles of biblical and rabbinic Hebrew (including vocabulary).

Hebrew 7
This Shanah Aleph class focuses on the phonology, morphology and syntax of biblical Hebrew.

Hebrew 8
With a primary goal of building skills in accurately reading and analyzing unvocalized Hebrew texts written in the style of Rabbinic Hebrew, Shanah Aleph students read short stories of S.Y. Agnon, with a close focus on language.

Students will learn the basic features of Aramaic grammar, focusing on the dialect of Aramaic used in the Babylonian Talmud.

Professional Development

Individual Support
The initiation into professional development begins in the first year of the program as students meet with the director of professional development to outline an individualized plan based on the interests and skills of each student.  

Rabbi as Educator
During Shanah Bet, students study pedagogy and educational practice with a focus on educational settings and issues for rabbis.
Lifecycle Seminar for Rabbis
Students learn how to counsel and perform lifecycle events in this Shanah Bet class as they study traditional ritual forms as well as contemporary challenges and ways to perform them.

Hilkhot Kiddushin viGittin (Laws of Marriage and Divorce)

With a view to practical rabbinic applications, this course surveys the essential rules and regulations that traditionally govern marriage ceremonies and divorces. The course, offered to Shanah Bet, Gimel and Dalet students, also considers present-day innovations, challenges and opportunities.

Hilkhot Aveilut (Laws of Mourning)

Again with a view to practical-rabbinic applications, this course surveys the essential "halakhic" concepts for performing funerals and guiding the bereft through the stages of Jewish mourning. The course is offered to Shanah Bet, Gimel and Dalet students.

Introduction to Pastoral Care
Students learn the basic skills and theory of pastoral care. The course is co-taught with Andover Newton Theological School faculty and students, and is offered to Shanah Bet, Gimel and Dalet students.

Sermons offer an important context for meaningful dialogue between a rabbi and her community. This course helps students cultivate skills in sermon preparation and delivery. It also emphasizes development of students’ unique voice and style as "darshanim" (teachers of Torah) and learning to give and receive constructive feedback.
Rabbinical Internships and Seminars
In Shanah Dalet and Shanah Heh, students have the opportunity to connect theory to practice, working in 10- or 20-hour-per-week internships. These paid experiences  have on-site supervision and mentorship. Students also have a seminar each year to reflect on the internship experiences and issues in the professional rabbinate.

Senior Seminar
As ordination approaches, students in Shanah Heh reflect on and study contemporary issues facing the Jewish community in this seminar.

Rabbinic Leadership and Management Seminar
In this Shanah Heh class, students are introduced to Jewish leadership theory and practice, and develop practical skills in such areas as budgeting and fundraising.


See the list of courses for the current academic semester here.