Online Ordination and Semicha (S’micha)

Online Ordination and Semicha: Transformative Experiences at JSLI

Embarking on a Journey to Rabbinical and Cantorial Ordination

Becoming ordained as a Rabbi or Cantor through our online Rabbinical Seminary is an incredibly meaningful journey. During your studies, you’ll form deep bonds with peers, culminating in a special ordination ceremony. This significant milestone is marked by a full Shabbat of celebration, shared with your Rabbinical School classmates.

Inviting Family and Friends to Your Online Ordination

The beauty of our online ordination services is the inclusivity it offers. Family and friends can easily join the online ceremonies and services, sharing in this significant moment of your spiritual journey.

Scheduling Your Ordination

Ordination weekends are held twice a year, in June and January, allowing flexibility depending on your enrollment date in JSLI’s Rabbinical School. Adapting to contemporary needs, especially since COVID-19, our ordination ceremonies have transitioned to a fully online format, a practice we continue to uphold.

A Future-Forward Online Rabbinical Seminary

As a forward-thinking online Rabbinical Seminary, JSLI is committed to maintaining the integrity and sanctity of the ordination process while leveraging the advantages of digital connectivity. This approach ensures accessibility and inclusivity for all aspiring Rabbis and Cantors, regardless of their geographical location.

Videos from previous Ordination Weekends:





Semicha (S’micha) and Online Ordination: A Comprehensive Guide

Achieving Semicha Through JSLI’s Online Rabbinical Seminary

Upon successfully completing JSLI’s rigorous program, students are granted Semicha during our special Ordination Weekend. This certification affirms your proficiency in our codes and texts, empowering you to serve as a rabbi and teacher.

Embracing Your Role as a Rabbi

As a newly ordained rabbi, your journey involves utilizing and sharing the skills and knowledge you’ve gained, both from your studies and life experiences, within your personal rabbinate and the broader community.

Post-Ordination Support at JSLI

Even after ordination, JSLI continues to support your path. You are welcome to join our weekly video conferences to discuss issues within your pulpits and communities, and partake in yearly alumni gatherings. Our private Facebook page serves as a dynamic hub for our entire JSLI community.

Traditional Pathways to Semicha

Traditionally, semicha is obtained after a demanding study program in Jewish law and responsa. The most common form of semicha, “Yoreh Yoreh,” is typically held by Orthodox rabbis, while the more advanced “Yadin Yadin” qualification is for those adjudicating monetary law cases.

In Orthodox Judaism:
  • No bachelor’s degree is required for most Orthodox seminaries.
  • Emphasis is on Talmud, Rishonim, Acharonim, and Jewish law.
  • Women are traditionally ineligible for rabbinic roles.
In Conservative and Masorti Judaism:
  • Comprehensive study programs include additional subjects like pastoral care and psychology.
  • Women can become rabbis and cantors.
In Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism:
  • A more modern approach to rabbinical studies, focusing on sociology, cultural studies, and modern Jewish philosophy.
  • Both men and women are eligible for rabbinic roles.

Recognition Across Denominations

The acceptance of a rabbi’s legitimacy varies across Jewish denominations, with Orthodox Judaism generally not recognizing non-Orthodox rabbis, whereas non-Orthodox forms of Judaism often accept the legitimacy of each other’s and Orthodox rabbis.

Diverse Rabbinical Seminaries

In addition to large denominational seminaries, there are other options like the Chabad Lubavitch network, the Union for Traditional Judaism, the Jewish Renewal movement’s ALEPH program, the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, the Academy for Jewish Religion, Hebrew College, and the Rabbinical Seminary International (RSI).

The Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute (JSLI) stands out with its unique weekly online curriculum, preparing students to serve the needs of the interfaith and unaffiliated Jewish populations.