In Year 1, students will be introduced to all of the core skills necessary to ensure that they can interface properly with communities. Students will be expected in Years 2-5 to fulfil certain congregational commitments of increasing challenge and, therefore, Year 1 is designed as an opportunity to ensure that basic skills are introduced and developed. The modules include, Service Leading Skills, an Introduction to Jewish Preaching , Homiletics, Counselling Skills for Rabbis and Education.

In Years 2 & 4 these basic skills are developed, deepened and honed in more directed courses, looking at specific core areas of rabbinic work. These include life, cycle events; death, dying and bereavement; social action; Jewish festivals; and mental health. In each of these areas students will be introduced to theory, practice, pastoral components and Jewish values.

In Year 3, students will participate in a yearlong module learning about key Jewish social welfare providers in the UK.  As part of the module they will participate in placements with some of the providers one afternoon a week in the second semester. Finally, students will meet regularly with a member of faculty at Leo Baeck College (both in groups and individually) to facilitate amalgamation of this learning into their growth as rabbinic students. There is also a module about Israel.

In Year 5, students will focus on the acquisition of leadership and management skills at an advanced level, particularly those skills relevant to synagogue development, change management and the pastoral needs of communities. Students will study both the academic research on these issues, particularly as it is relevant to faith communities, and reflect on their own experience in placements in congregations in relation to these topics. Students will also participate in the module entitled ‘Pastoral Care and Community Skills: Transition to the Rabbinate’ as part of the MA which enables students to reflect on their transformation from student rabbi to rabbi and engage in discussion based on students’ practical experience in congregational placements.

This module is designed to be a practical introduction to one of the rabbi’s key functions, that of preacher, and key skills, preparing and delivering intelligent, accessible and Jewishly-well-informed sermons. Students will be guided through the essential areas of resource material, both classic and contemporary, will learn the key skills that are needed to write a good sermon, and the methodology of sermon delivery. They will be instructed on techniques for sermons across the spectrum, from Shabbat, Festival and Days of Awe sermons to wedding address and funeral eulogies.

The module will introduce the students to core counselling skills (active listening, interpersonal skills, empathy, impartiality, reflection and setting boundaries). It will allow them to reflect on and develop these skills with a view to interacting more effectively with fellow professionals and congregants (as a Rabbi not a therapist).

It will be experiential and focus both on the students’ prior experience of life and on exercises based on the sort of experiences which rabbinic students and rabbis are likely to have with congregants. It will be student focused so that there will be flexibility about the programme, depending on the needs and wishes of the group.

First year rabbinic students enter the College with a wide range of different levels of experience and knowledge in delivering Jewish Education. At the start of the academic year and in discussion with the students a programme of studies will be created reflecting students’ experience, knowledge and needs

This vocational course will help students begin to develop the skills they will need in their role as rabbinic prayer leaders in both public and private contexts. We will consider the importance of worship in congregational life and the way in which the service leader can affect the experience of the congregation. The course will introduce students to the parameters within which services of all kinds take place, and will engage students with some of the challenging but essential aspects of service leading. The course will give students the opportunity to practice specific rituals with their peers and to learn their strengths and weaknesses. It will provide a space for students to engage with those aspects of services and service ritual that specifically challenge them, including the Zoom worship experience.

This is a foundation course on the whole Jewish life cycle. Teaching is based on classical Jewish texts, Jewish folk customs, practical rabbinics and developing pastoral judgement in this key area of congregational work.

This course is part lecture format and part seminar, presenting strategies for helping congregants to create personal and communal meaning from their experience of the Jewish Festival Cycle. As part of the course both traditional and alternative resources will be considered.

This module explores a range of philosophical, psychological and curricula issues facing the Jewish educational leader. Different concepts and theories of leadership and management are reviewed as well as the skills, behaviours and competencies educational leaders need. The module offers students an opportunity to be reflective about their style of leadership and begin to understand what further work they need to pursue in order to develop as educational leaders.

This module prepares the student to deal with the inevitable distress that at some point they will come across in their professional duties. It will allow the student to distinguish between “normal” distress, and situations that might need professional advice.

The module will not turn the student into a psychiatrist, but give the student sufficient information and confidence to be able to deal effectively with a congregant who is disturbed and in need of support.

This course is a discussion-based examination of both the practical and underlying aspects of death, dying and bereavement when it comes to rabbinic practice.

The module will explore and critique the term ‘Tikkun Olam’ and its development and relevance for the rabbinate today.  Use will be made of concentric circles of Tikkun Atzmi (repair of the self), Tikkun Kehila (repair of communities) and Tikkun Olam (repair of the world) to explore how Justice work is relevant in all these spaces and modes. Each session will be grounded in a key Jewish Justice text and case studies of Jewish Justice movements and moments will be examined. Students will be able to build a toolkit and resources to take with them into the rabbinate for Justice work.