Thursday, May 10, 2007

Future rabbis of America

The Forward has a little special section on Rabbis this week, which features advertisements from rabbinical schools touting themselves and their soon-to-be graduating classes (as I learned when I was a journalist the whole point of a "special section" is to sell highly targeted ads!).

I was somewhat stunned to see that the Reform movement is graduating over 60 new rabbis. My alma mater, the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, in contrast, is ordaining 10 rabbis this year (my graduating a class a few years ago was only six!). Of course, Ziegler is just one of the two Conservative movement seminaries in North America. I don't know how many new rabbis that other institution (which is another of my alma maters!) -- the Jewish Theological Seminary -- is planning on ordaining, but I'm sure the Conservative movement total is far shy of 60.

I was sorry to see, by the way, that neither of the Conservative institutions took out ads in the Forward's section. Admittedly, advertisements are only one of the many ways to recruit candidates to a rabbinical school. But I think the Forward's readership probably includes a lot of the kind of bright, creative and deeply committed Jews who don't know yet that the rabbinate is going to turn out to be their personal path to serving their people and their highest values. So, I'm sorry to see my movement not taking this opportunity to raise our profile here.

But, I am looking forward very much to the upcoming ordination at Ziegler. Some of my dearest friends will be ordained, and I am going to be there to share the simha with them! One of my former classmates was profiled in the Foward section.

There were other rabbinical schools who took out ads in the section, by the way, including the unaffiliated Academy for Jewish Religion (ordaining four) in New York, Yeshiva University, Hebrew College (in Boston), the RRC (ordaining 11) and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.

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