The Semikha program accepts Modern Orthodox male applicants who demonstrate love and dedication to serving the Jewish people, and who posses yirat Shamayim, ahavat haTorah, and ahavat Klal Yisrael. Students should have facility with Gemara and rabbinic texts, overall academic excellence, potential for leadership skills, an open and inclusive orientation, and high moral character. Specific requirements for incoming students include a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, and at least two years of post-high school intensive study of rabbinic texts or the ability to demonstrate the equivalent of such study in terms of textual skill in Talmud and classical commentaries.
The Mekhina program is a pre-rabbinical school preparatory program for students who are not yet ready to enter the semikha program, but who demonstrate the will, commitment and passion for entering the rabbinate. We assume, therefore, that while a mekhina student does not yet have the textual skills and technical knowledge to enter the semikha program, he comports himself in modes of thought, belief and behavior within the norms of an inclusive Orthodox life. The mekhina program requires a full-time commitment and most mekhina students spend one complete academic year in the program. The program focuses heavily on skill building through an intensive and in-depth curriculum based on reading the text of the Gemara along with the classic Rishonim, Rashi and Tosafot. Students are exposed to the breadth of rabbinic literature by studying Mishnayot and other foundational sources of Torah broadly and intensively. Students are integrated into the culture of YCT in very intentioned ways: they learn in the beit midrash, are present for all special shiurim, and receive all curricular information and mailings along with the semikha students.
Students interested in applying for the mekhina program must have a working knowledge of Hebrew and skills that would be commensurate, for example, with reading and working with a passage from the Mishna Berura. Admission to the mekhina program does not guarantee admission to the semikha program. Midway through the mekhina year, students meet with the Dean and members of the Admissions committee and Rabbinic faculty to evaluate their progress and to determine their eligibility for admission to the semikha program.
Semikha for Rabbinic Professionals
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School offers rabbis who are already serving the Jewish people with a previously acquired semikha to form a professional association with YCT by becoming a musmakh of the yeshiva. Such individuals should demonstrate an inclusive orientation to Orthodoxy and the Jewish people, a solid grounding in the basic areas required for a Yoreh Yoreh semikha and successful rabbinic leadership. In addition to submitting a full application, acceptance is based upon conversations with the Rosh HaYeshiva and Dean, assessment of the applicant’s current work and experience as a rabbi, and supporting recommendations and material. The program generally requires two years of part time residence, and customizes the curriculum based on the particular needs of the candidate. Usually this means tailoring the halakha requirements and emphasizing areas in pastoral education and practical rabbinics. We encourage interested candidates to write directly to Rabbi Yonah Berman, Director of Recruitment, with any questions.
To apply to any of these programs, please fill out an application.