The MJTI Rabbinic Studies Program (RSP) prepares Jewish men and women to serve as rabbis in the maturing Messianic Jewish movement. The program offers a Master of Rabbinic Studies (MRS) leading to smicha (ordination) as a rabbi. As a custodian of Israel’s revelation and holy tradition, and a disciple of Messiah Yeshua, a Messianic Jewish rabbi teaches and models the ways of God for the Messianic Jewish community in the power and wisdom of the Spirit of God. Program faculty draw on their rich experience and knowledge to prepare men and women for this holy work.
Rabbis should, first of all, be uncompromising disciples of Messiah Yeshua. Therefore, the Rabbinic Studies Program seeks to establish our students ever more deeply in the character and practices that should mark the life of all who cleave to God through Messiah. We strive to teach them how to walk in the reality of the Spirit, to experience healing, and to grow both spiritually and in their ability to form healthy relationships in every sphere of life. For a fuller understanding of the role of the Rabbi see our “What is a Rabbi” video.
Upon this foundation, the faculty teaches and mentors students in the necessary perspectives, attitudes, and skills of the effective rabbi. These include the ability to nurture their communities by preaching, teaching, and leading Jewish liturgical services in ways that exalt the Messiah and honor Jewish tradition, build leadership and administrative teams, and care for individuals as they experience the seasons and challenges of life. Also included are skills essential for any rabbi: being knowledgeable about Messianic Jewish halakhah and knowing how to apply it sensitively in congregational life. The program is relevant for rabbis who serve as congregational leaders or in other roles.
Three unique elements of our Rabbinic Studies Program are its Mentoring Program, Residential Study Weeks and Humanitarian Service Project. These components add valuable face-to-face contact and practical experience. The Mentoring Program relates to Congregational Life and Leadership courses and the Residential Study Weeks consist of interactive seminars in Midrash text study, the activity of God’s Spirit, and discerning one’s particular calling as a rabbi. Participants get the opportunity to know experienced rabbi/scholars face to face and develop personal and professional relationships with their fellow students. Candidates for the Master of Rabbinic Studies degree attend at least two residencies and the Humanitarian Service Project.
The faculty and staff of the Rabbinic Studies Program believe that the preparation of men and women to serve as rabbis is essential for the continued growth and maturation of the Messianic Jewish movement. We are honored to be part of the process by which students are prepared to serve as rabbis.
The Mentoring Program
The Mentoring Program is a distinctive component of the Rabbinic Studies Program that emphasizes personal development and guided learning. Utilizing a cohort comprised of rabbinic, lay, and faculty mentors, RSP encourages students to discover their own learning needs, style, and potential. The mentoring program is crafted to be living, personal, and individual.
Guided Learning Contracts are employed to help in the development of spiritual formation and ministerial competencies. Working with their mentors, students are encouraged to determine precise areas of growth needed within the parameters of each course and to articulate clear learning objectives. The students, assisted by their mentors, have the opportunity to individually tailor learning tasks that are both didactic and practical to help achieve the learning objectives. The program is intended to assist students in acquiring the tools necessary to become life-long learners with the ability to guide and mentor others.
Live, online seminars and webcasts help the mentors and students to become versed in the program’s mentoring method. Mentors will be enabled to interact with other mentors from around the U.S. and abroad. Students integrate their individual learning process into their virtual classrooms through the use of asynchronous blogs and live webcasts.
Most importantly, the mentoring program is designed to help produce rabbis who are servant leaders. Rabbinic candidates are not placed in a sterile academic environment, but remain in the congregations where they intern and serve, to be imprinted by the life and rhythms of their community. The coupling of nurturing synagogues with the emphasis of RSP on academic excellence, engenders a powerful approach to spiritual formation and rabbinic preparation.
MRS Degree Requirements
The Master of Rabbinic Studies degree requires the completion of 30 3-credit courses (90 credit hours), including twoResidential Study Weeks, and a Humanitarian Service Project. Biblical Hebrew Proficiency is required for admission to the program. Applicants who do not meet this requirement may be admitted provisionally on condition that they complete the MJTI Biblical Hebrew Language series (or their equivalent) by the summer following their first full year as a Rabbinic Studies student.
Rabbinic Studies Program – Congregational Life and Leadership
Congregational Life and Leadership courses seek to establish MJTI Rabbinic students ever more deeply in the character and practices that should mark the life of all who serve God through Messiah. Prospective rabbis need to learn how to walk in the reality of the Spirit, experience healing, and grow spiritually and in their ability to form healthy relationships in every sphere of life.
On this foundation, the faculty teaches and mentors students in the necessary perspectives, attitudes, and skills of an effective rabbi. These include the ability to nurture their communities by preaching, teaching, and leading services in ways that exalt the Messiah, as well as building leadership and administrative teams, and caring for individuals as they experience the seasons and challenges of life. All of this is relevant for rabbis who lead congregations and for those who serve in other leadership roles.
The Messianic Jewish rabbi should be familiar with the primary writings of Rabbinic Judaism for use in personal study and congregational services. The two core courses R501 and R502 Introduction to Rabbinic Writings 1 and 2 are key contributions to a constructive Messianic Jewish theology. These courses survey the formative period of Judaism in the Land of Israel and Babylonia. Students are introduced to the rabbinic writings in their cultural context and translate passages of the Mishnah and Midrash. In addition to gaining this foundational knowledge of rabbinic writings, students take two further Rabbinic Writings courses in Midrash.
The Sages of the formative period of Judaism (2nd through 7th centuries C.E.) were the only group of their era to study Scripture out of devotion to God, Israel, and the Torah. Their biblical commentary, known as Midrash, embodies their inter-textual biblical interpretation and theological reflection on Scripture. Their theology and study methods set trajectories that have continued in Judaism to the present day. The goal of these courses is to enable students to read the Bible and think theologically, not only in the Jewish context, but as Jews who stand at the intersection of life in Messiah and our Jewish traditions. These courses also examine the presence of Midrash-like writings found in the Tanakh and the Apostolic Writings. Thus, these courses contribute to the ongoing task of shaping Messianic Jewish theology in personal and communal contexts.
Elective Rabbinic Writing courses are designed to provide students with options for expanding and deepening their study in relation to the core concepts learned in the required courses. Students who desire to serve as Messianic Jewish scholars are advised to take Rabbinic Writings electives.
Midrash and Mishnah texts are studied in their original Hebrew texts, with some Aramaic. Talmudic texts studied in bi-lingual editions.
- Core – 12 courses (36 credit hours) See list of Core Courses
- Congregational Life and Leadership – 10 courses (30 credit hours)
- S620 Messianic Jewish Hermeneutics
- RS501 The Personal Life of the Spiritual Leader*Y
- RS502 Key Events in the Jewish Lifecycle*Y
- RS503 Caregiving through the Changes and Challenges of Life*Y
- RS601 Sermon Preparation and Delivery
- RS651 Basics of Synagogue Worship*Y
- RS652 Leading Shabbat and Weekday Services*Y
- RS652 Leading High Holiday and Hagim Services*Y
- RS701 Congregational Growth and Development*Y
- RS702 Halakhic Process*Y
- Rabbinic Writings – 2 courses (6 credit hours)
- RW681 – Midrash Song of Songs Rabbah
- RW682 – Midrash Pesikta Derav Kahana
- Residential Study — 2 courses (6 credit hours)
- RS661 Residential Study 1Y
- RS662 Residential Study 2Y
- Humanitarian Service Project (3 credit hours)
- Electives – 3 courses (9 credit hours)
Total – 30 courses (90 quarter credit hours)
Note: Courses marked with an asterisk (*) are required for UMJC and MJRC ordination.
All courses marked with a star (Y) are limited to RS students only.