students hiking in Israel

The Rabbinical School's Approach to Israel Education and Engagement

Throughout its history, Hebrew College has had a strong and vibrant relationship to Zionism and the state of Israel.  Founded as part of the Hebraist movement, we have remained deeply and consistently committed to fostering a connection to the people, land, language, and culture of Israel as a cornerstone of our educational mission.  We are particularly passionate about nurturing relationships that grow in the fertile ground of lived experience – immersive programs for our students in Israel, and intensive collaborations with Israeli partner institutions and individuals.

Our attachment to Israel, and our commitment to its significance in contemporary Jewish life, continues to make a profound claim on us as Jews living in North America.  We feel a sense of responsibility to help our students cultivate a connection to Israel that is rooted in a love of the Jewish people, a deep understanding of Jewish history and contemporary Israeli society, and a commitment to democracy, pluralism, and human rights.

As a pluralistic educational institution nurturing learners of all ages and training Jewish leaders for the next generation, we engage a diversity of views and seek to promote dialogue and education about Israel in a spirit of shared inquiry and mutual respect. 

Preparing Rabbis for Leadership about Israel in the Twenty-First Century

 Whether they serve on college campuses or in congregations, in schools or in other communal organizations, today’s rabbis are called upon to provide intellectual, moral, and spiritual leadership about Israel in an increasingly complex and often divisive political environment.  A thoughtful, informed, and deep relationship with Israel – rooted in personal experience and nuanced study of Israeli history, culture, and society – is therefore an essential part of our training for the twenty-first century rabbinate. 

The heart of our approach to Israel education and engagement is our year-in-Israel program.  During their third year of rabbinical school, students live and study in Jerusalem, cultivating a personal relationship with the land and people of Israel, and engaging with the richness and complexity of contemporary Israeli life.  Through a combination of Hebrew language instruction, intensive text study, mifgashim (structured encounters) with Israelis, special seminars and tiyulim, volunteer work in Israeli organizations, spiritual direction, and mentorship with leading Israeli rabbis, our students explore the place of Israel in their own religious lives and in their emerging visions of rabbinic leadership. 

In addition to our year-in-Israel program, we offer intensive dialogue and education about Israel as part of our ongoing curricular and co-curricular activities – including special week-long and day-long seminars, lectures and courses with visiting Israeli scholars, public programs on Israeli arts and culture, and annual communal observances of Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzma’ut.


Rabbi Daniel Klein
Director of Admissions

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