Academy for Jewish Religion (California)

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Academy for Jewish Religion California
Type Seminary
Established 2000 (2000)
Affiliation Jewish (nondenominational)
Location Los Angeles, California, United States
34°04′13″N 118°26′18″W / 34.0702°N 118.4384°W / 34.0702; -118.4384Coordinates: 34°04′13″N 118°26′18″W / 34.0702°N 118.4384°W / 34.0702; -118.4384
Website ajrca.edu

The Academy for Jewish Religion California (AJRCA), is a Jewish seminary located in Los Angeles, trains rabbis, cantors and chaplains to serve congregations and organizations of any Jewish denomination.[1]

The school was conceived as a transdenominational alternative to the more established rabbinical schools by two Los Angeles rabbis, Stanley Levy and Stephen Robbins, later joined by a third, Mordecai Finley, who became president of the school soon after its establishment in 2001. Initially conceived as a branch of the New York City-based Academy for Jewish Religion, it soon became independent. In its first years the school was housed in a small temple in West Los Angeles,[2] later moving to the Yitzchak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA. It ordained its first three rabbis in 2003, and provided a means for students to pursue rabbinical studies while still working in other jobs.[1]

In 2010 the school partnered with Claremont School of Theology (CST) to provide a Jewish component for CST's interfaith curriculum.[3] In January 2013 Tamar Frankiel became the president of the Academy for Jewish Religion, making her the first Orthodox woman to lead an American rabbinical school.[4][5] The school itself is transdenominational, not Orthodox.[5] Later in 2013, the Academy relocated from UCLA to a building in Koreatown shared with two other Jewish organizations.[6]. The Academy returned "home", to UCLA Hillel in the fall of 2017.

AJRCA is the only Jewish graduate institution in the US that prepares people to become board certified chaplains through a Clinical Pastoral Education Program.[7]

The Master's program offers leadership development for candidates looking to enhance their knowledge or further their current career. Master's specializations include: Jewish Values and Ethics, Sephardic Studies, Music in Jewish Life, Interfaith Relations and Creativity in Jewish Life.

All schools and programs are available to students via the low-residency, hybrid option (pending WSCUC approval) for those who wish to learn at a distance.


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