Academy for Jewish Religion (California)

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Academy for Jewish Religion
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

The Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJR-CA), 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]

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]


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