Rikmah (Hebrew for “tapestry”) is YCT’s rabbinic and leadership training program for rabbis and rabbaniyot in Israel serving in positions of influence, as rabbis of communities and yishuvim, heads of school; ramim and ramiyot in yeshivot hesder and midrashot; poskim and poskot; and religious advisors to ministers in the Knesset.
Rikmah is the premier program of YCT Israel and has quickly grown to be one of the most successful rabbinic training programs in Israel.
With currently 38 alumni rabbis and rabbaniyot, the program is now entering its fourth year with a cohort of 12 fellows.
We are excited to be working in this endeavor alongside Ne’emanei Torah Va’avodah and, starting in 2021, to have Maharat participate as a partnering institution. We are grateful to Rabbi Hillel Mansfield whose initial idea for such a program helped make all of this happen.
Rikmah Cohort 3 Visit to USA
Goals & Objectives
- To create more effective and more open-minded Israeli rabbis who see themselves as true religious leaders and who embrace a professional and vision-driven rabbinic identity for their leadership
- To enable rabbis to become fully attentive to communal needs, and active listeners and a pastoral presence for those in need
- To create rabbinic community and fellowship. Rabbis deeply desire a sense of community and fellowship, which can give them a sense of belonging and mutual support. Such a community can also be a source of professional advancement through members informing one another of job opportunities and in the professional network that it creates.
- To help support and advance women’s rabbinic and religious leadership in Israel. The relatively new phenomena of rabbiniyot as female religious leaders in Israel has been growing in recent years, and yet still faces significant challenges. A program is needed to empower women so that they can own this identity and own it as women..
- To have a meaningful impact on the dati (religious) and broader Israeli society, by bringing to it a religious approach marked by openness, nuance, and humility, and a concern for all Jews and all people.
- To strengthen the ties between U.S. and Israel Jewry. Religious leaders in Israel can play a major role in helping to bridge the growing gulf between Israeli and North American Jewry. Israeli rabbis need to develop a sense of Klal Yisrael that extends beyond the borders of Israel, to be aware of and experience North American Jewry in all its flavors, and to feel a sense of fellowship with and responsibility towards Jews and Jewish communities outside of Israel.
- To change the ecosystem of Israeli rabbinic training towards a more professional rabbinic field.
Why This Program Is Unique
Three things make this program unique:
Focus on rabbinic identity, not skills
A 10-day trip to the USA
Immersive pastoral counseling training
Rikmah has already translated into significant job opportunities and professional advancement for its participating rabbis, and communities and yishuvimin Israel are reaching out to us to recommend one of our rabbis for their community. We are truly transforming the Israeli rabbinate!
Rabbi Ilay Ofran, Co-Director
Rav of K’vutzat Yavneh and Founder and Co-Head of Mechinat Ruach HaSadeh
Rabbanit Yafit Clymer, Co-Director
Senior Lecture at Matan Institute and Steering Committee Member, Beit Hillel.
Rabbi Yonah Berman, U.S. Director
Dean of Rabbinic Initiatives
Rabbi Mishael Zion (’11)
Director of the Mandel Program for Leadership in Jewish Culture serves as a founding faculty member.