July 13, 2024
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Record 147 Rabbis Ordained at Rabbinical College of America

Rabbi Moshe Herson, dean of the Rabbinical College of America since 1965, addresses the group of 147 newly ordained rabbis in Morristown, New Jersey, on June 11. (Credit: Shmulie Grossbaum/Chabad.org)

(Courtesy of RCA) 147 candidate rabbis and their families gathered from all over the world at the “Chag HaSmicha,” on June 11 in Morristown to honor the new rabbis at the Rabbinical College of America (RCA).

With enrollment at similar rabbinic programs across non-Orthodox Jewish denominations dwindling in recent years, this ceremony is a celebration of Chabad-run institutions across the country experiencing growth in the face of a changing landscape for American Jewry.

Rabbi Chaim Schapiro, honored for his 25 years at the school, reflects on his time teaching the new rabbis.
(Credit: Shmulie Grossbaum/Chabad.org)

The program is just one of many Chabad-run rabbinic programs across North America, and the 147 rabbis ordained include those who completed their studies since COVID. The new rabbis are from across the United States and Canada and from around the world, including Australia, South Africa, Ukraine, Belgium, Germany, Israel, England, Russia, Spain and Brazil.

The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, the most influential rabbi in modern history, encouraged young men to study and receive rabbinic ordination, ensuring that they are able to address day-to-day questions that are sure to arise in a Jewish household. Many of the new rabbis go on to serve Jewish communities worldwide through Chabad.

Some of the rabbis who were ordained at the RCA in front of the school. (Credit: Shmulie Grossbaum/Chabad.org)

RCA was established in 1947 in Brooklyn and moved to its current location in Morristown in 1971. The college offers a five-year program of study with options to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s in Talmudic and rabbinic studies. The program includes courses in Talmud, Jewish law, Jewish philosophy, Hasidic thought and Jewish history, as well as training in community engagement and counseling.

“The success of our institutions illustrates the Rebbe’s involvement,” said Rabbi Moshe Herson, dean of the college since 1965. “We wish the newly ordained rabbis God’s blessings and success in all their endeavors.”

Some of the rabbis who were ordained at the RCA in front of the school. (Credit: Shmulie Grossbaum/Chabad.org)

Graduates received ordination from Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Kiryat Malachi, Rabbi Yitzhak Yehuda Yaroslavsky; former Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Israel Meir Lau; and President of the Toronto Rabbinical Council, Rabbi Dovid Schochet, who affixed their signatures to each certificate.

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