At the heart of our yeshiva and central to YCT’s vision and founding, our semikha program prepares Modern Orthodox rabbis to be talmidei chakhamim, poskim and spiritual leaders, serving the Jewish community in a wide range of capacities with compassion, sensitivity, and a recognition of each individual’s unique needs within the broader system of halakhic Judaism.

YCT rabbis draw deeply from Torah to confront the challenges of the modern world. We believe that a life of religious meaning, faith, and Jewish identification can be integrated with deep engagement with the best of modernity. Our semikha program prepares rabbis to articulate a hashkafa rooted in text and traditional wisdom and share their learning with the world.

Students emerge from the semikha program with strong analytical skills, love of learning, reverence for Chazal, and the deep knowledge necessary for a lifetime of Torah-committed leadership.

Our Semikha program features:

  • Small classes that promote intellectual growth and encourage strong friendships and supportive peer groups.   
  • A high faculty-student ratio and the consistent presence of faculty in the beit midrash, which fosters lively, stimulating interactions between students and their rabbanim
  • Teachers who concern themselves with the whole student, attending to each student’s intellectual, emotional and religious development.

In addition, YCT fosters:

  • Commitment to and pride in serving Klal Yisrael
  • Love of learning Torah and need to bring Torah in conversation with the urgent issues of today
  • Intellectual openness anchored in a deep commitment to halakha, tradition and community
  • Mutual respect between students, rebbeim, and faculty
  • A valuing of diversity and the importance of every individual
  • A sense of responsibility to others through chevrashaft, tzedakah, chesed, and outreach

Curriculum

YCT rewrote the book on rabbinic education and remains at the cutting edge of rabbinic training. Many programs now offered at other rabbinic institutions, across the denominational spectrum, began right here, and we continue to develop and refine our training to meet the Jewish world’s ever-changing needs.

Core components of our training include:

  • We seek to create rabbis to serve communities as sensitive, nuanced halakhic decisors. 
  • Students study the laws of Shabbat, Kashrut, Niddah, Kiddushin, Gerut, Aveilut, prayer, holidays, and lifecycle events, from Gemara through Rishonim, Shulkhan Arukh, commentators and contemporary poskim.
  • Students are tested on mastery of the material and ability to use good judgment in analyzing and paskening on real-world cases.
  • Teshuvah writing workshops
  • A four-year intensive curriculum required of all students
  • Courses in Fundamentals, Marital and Family Counseling, and Life-Cycles
  • Teaching modalities include: Role-playing with reflection discussion; master classes; and written reflections
  • Weekly process group to cultivate group cohesion and active listening skills
  • Intensive field work and a required unit of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education), demanding 400 hours of supervised pastoral work in a hospital setting.
  • Synagogue and community
  • Halakhot of and officiating at life-cycle events
  • Public speaking
  • Pedagogy, and formal and informal education
  • Torah and contemporary issues
Internships with active mentoring and reflective seminars over the full four years. For more, see below.

Leadership skills including entrepreneurship and community building. For more, see below.

  • Torah of Today – ongoing student presentations on Torah and halakha in conversation with the larger issues of today.
  • Intensive, multi-dimensional weeklong programs devoted to The Rabbi and People with Disabilities
  • Immersive weeklong programs devoted to beginning-of-life and end-of-life medical ethics
  • Fighting anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism on campus and everywhere
  • The challenges of social justice and intersectionality

Still Innovating…

YCT continues to develop its curriculum to respond to the changing world around us. In the 2021-2022 academic year, YCT launched its new professional and leadership curriculum. 

This new professional curriculum seeks to:

  • Create rabbis as visionary, innovative leaders
  • Train based on learning through doing
  • Cultivate independent learners

Components of  the new professional curriculum include:

  • Focus on training leadership skills, including: community organizing, relational engagement, innovation, entre- and intrapreneurship.
  • Emphasis on mentored fieldwork and projects over classroom learning
  • Greater independence and self-direction, with mentorship and funding, in areas of Torah learning, academic growth, and professional development

Admissions Criteria  

The Semikha program accepts Modern Orthodox male applicants who demonstrate love and dedication to serving the Jewish people and who possess yirat Shamayim, ahavat haTorah, and ahavat Klal Yisrael. Students should have facility with Gemara and rabbinic texts, overall academic excellence, potential for leadership, an open and inclusive orientation, and high moral character. Specific requirements for incoming students include a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, and at least two years of post-high school intensive study of rabbinic texts or the ability to demonstrate the equivalent of such study in terms of textual skill in Talmud and classical commentaries.

Application Instructions

YCT Rabbinical School admits students of any race, color, national origin, or ethnic origin. All documents submitted in support of an application for admission become the permanent possession of YCT and cannot be returned to the applicant.

All prospective students spend at least two days at the yeshiva while it is in session. Visits should be arranged in advance. Applications should include three letters of recommendation: one rabbinic reference, one academic reference, and one personal reference. Applications should also include an official transcript. Those currently enrolled in degree programs should include mid-year transcripts and arrange for final transcripts to be mailed to YCT upon completion of the semester.

Interviews will be scheduled upon receipt of a complete application. The interview, should it be granted, includes a meeting with Rabbi Dov Linzer, President and Rosh HaYeshiva; a formal interview with our admissions committee; and a written and oral assessment of the applicant’s Talmud skills. In preparation for discussions during the interview, applicants are asked to prepare a 3-5 minute d’var Torah on the topic of their choice.

YCT offers qualified students tuition remission and a generous monthly living stipend. For more information email Ruthie Simon at rsimon@yctorah.org.

APPLY NOW

For more information about applying, contact us at semikha.admissions@yctorah.org

For more information about the program, contact us at semikha.general@yctorah.org

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