The MA in Applied Rabbinic Theology provides those studying for Rabbinic Ordination with the opportunity to combine the study of biblical and rabbinic texts at MA level with commensurate congregational and pastoral work and analysis, thus heightening the synergy between them. In addition, students will have the opportunity to study creative and comparative liturgy, Jewish responses to theodicy and readings in modern Jewish thought.
The MA in Applied Rabbinic Theology will be awarded to students who have successfully completed 180 credits. 60 credits are awarded for a dissertation of 20,000 words and the remaining 120 credits are obtained through the completion of modules.
This programme is quality assured by Middlesex University and you will receive a Middlesex award on successful completion.
This course is only open to students on the Rabbinic Programme who have already completed the previous three awards (Graduate Diploma in Hebrew and Jewish Studies Part 1 & Part 2 and the Postgraduate Diploma in Hebrew and Jewish Studies) or those students who have completed three years of equivalent study at another recognised institution of higher learning or seminary and at the discretion of the Admissions Board. For students whose first language is not English, Level 6.5 International English Language Testing System (IELTS) will be required.
Teaching and Assessment
A variety of teaching methods including tutor-led, group work and independent study will be used. Types of assessments include essays, presentations, appraisal of articles, research proposal, set exercises, a responsum, preparing liturgy and dissertation.
In the course of any given year a rabbi will have need of the right collection of readings and prayers for occasions which fall outside of the parameters of the established liturgy. In such circumstances a combination of the traditional and the creative will meet the need. This module is designed to introduce students to the range of creative material that is available for use in a Progressive Jewish liturgical context, to review theological and ideological implications of creative material, and to assimilate the ways in which other Progressive movements have utilised creative material in their own liturgies.
The primary content of this module is the study of the five biblical books known collectively as the Megillot (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther) with the aim of developing the students’ ability to read, analyse and translate the Hebrew text. Students will engage with a range of different methodological approaches ranging from traditional Jewish medieval commentaries, the Septuagint and Targum and contemporary academic theories. I.e., feminism, reader-response theory, post-colonial theory, intertextuality, translation theory, and cultural studies. These exegetical methodologies will be applied to excite deeper understanding of these texts. As all five of these books serve a liturgical function in the Jewish calendar, we will consider the ways different methodological approaches facilitate better access to the texts both in academic and congregational settings.
This module offers the student the opportunity to engage in study of research-driven rotating topics, enabling the production of advanced, original and independent research in unusual and innovative areas of study.
Jewish life has constantly developed through the application of halachah to existing and new situations. Indeed it was a primary way in which Judaism sought to respond to the challenges of the contemporary world throughout history. But Progressive Jews live in a world which is not bound by Jewish Law alone. This course will deepen students’ understanding of the complexities of this literature, in terms of ideas and form of expression, and utilise different methodologies for navigating their way through it. As a result of their analysis of the ways in which rabbis grappled with the dilemmas, challenges and questions of their time, they will acquire the means to keep Jewish life rooted in Jewish tradition and the contemporary world.
During the late 19th/early 20th century there was, among several major Jewish thinkers, a ‘turn’ from idealist universalism toward something like a proto-existentialist particularism. There was also a profoundly related ‘turn’ toward re-engaging with traditional Jewish sources, though now with a sophisticated array of philosophical and literary tools. This turn could be described as a critical moment in modern Jewish Thought, and continues to reverberate even today, though like all Jewish Thought, it continues to grow and change. Through close reading of selected texts, the course will consider some of the central works that emerged from this moment in their own context(s), as well as considering their ongoing influence on our own theologising.
This course will enable students to make the transition from a rabbinic student’s level of pastoral and community skills to those of an ordained rabbi: to set appropriate aims, objectives and timetables; to understand issues of confidentiality; to bring spirituality and Jewish values into the work; to set up and work with a voluntary care team; to be equipped to negotiate with leaders and committees of employing congregations; to reflect on their personal self-development throughout the full five year period of training.
This module is aimed at helping the student in the transition from rabbinic student to rabbi through gaining an increasing depth of understanding of the rabbinic role; articulating and reflecting on previously gained skills in a congregational setting; drawing upon experiences of the rabbinic programme to increase feelings of confidence in the congregational placement; learning to identify which skills and techniques will be of help in any given set of circumstances within the rabbinic role; and providing information about the two Progressive Movements, their Rabbinic Bodies and their Religious Courts.
The module introduces the student to a range of research strategies, methodologies and methods to enable critical reflection on methodological issues, including the ethical dimension. In so doing, the module supports the student through the process of the development of a research proposal which may form the basis of the dissertation which follows. In addition, it aims to equip the student with a knowledge and understanding of research methodology to facilitate the undertaking of critical analysis of published research in the chosen field of study
The module provides an opportunity for the student to undertake an independent, extensive investigation into a specific topic relevant to applied rabbinic theology which links classical texts and modern practice. Here, the student will be expected to draw upon previous knowledge gained during the course of the MA programme, including a thorough understanding of research methodology and relevant research techniques and tools. During the course of the module, the student will receive support through personal supervision to ensure that the dissertation reflects sustained arguments presented rationally, critically and coherently; evidence of having mastered the literature relevant to the topic; a capacity to write and present work to a high academic standard.