Academy for Jewish Religion (California)

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Academy for Jewish Religion California
Established2000 (2000)
AffiliationJewish (nondenominational)
Location, ,
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

The Academy for Jewish Religion California (AJRCA), is a Jewish seminary in Los Angeles. It 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.[1]

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.


Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life

The Yitzchak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life is a center for Jewish cultural, religious and spiritual education at the University of California, Los Angeles.[8][9][10] The Hillel has been home to the Academy since the new building was dedicated in 2002.[11]


  1. ^ a b c Nancy Sokoler Steiner, "Academy of Jewish Religion offers alternate path to rabbinate for 16 new grads", The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, June 7, 2007.
  2. ^ Julie G Fax, "Rabbis Without Dogma", The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, June 28, 2001.
  3. ^ Mitchell Landsberg, "Claremont seminary reaches beyond Christianity", Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2010.
  4. ^ "Dr. Tamar Frankel". Archived from the original on 2011-12-28. Retrieved 2013-01-17.
  5. ^ a b Gail Shefler, "Orthodox woman to head 'transdenominational' rabbinical school", Jewish Telegraphic Agency in The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, January 16, 2013.
  6. ^ Ryan Torok, "Academy for Jewish Religion moves to Koreatown", The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, September 18, 2013.
  7. ^ "Reflections on my Mother: Judaism and Radical Life Extension". November 24, 2015.
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  11. ^ Seidler-Feller, Shaul; Myers, David N. Swimming against the Current: Reimagining Jewish Tradition in the Twenty-First Century. Essays in Honor of Chaim Seidler-Feller. Academic Studies PRess. ISBN 978-1-64469-375-9. Retrieved 17 February 2021.

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