The Changing Face of the Rabbinate

Exclusively the territory of young men for so long, rabbinical schools today in the non-Orthodox movements are welcoming women and gay students.

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There is no single reason why these new options have come into being when they have. In a pragmatic sense, they offer geographical diversity. But many also appeal to students who might not fit neatly into denominational categories. They symbolize--and are a product of--the weakening of the denominational bodies; Jews today define themselves less and less by their denomination, and tend to be more fluid in drifting between them.

New schools, new faces, new types of people. The rabbinate will never be the same--and hundreds of rabbis, and thousands of their congregants and students, are thankful for that.

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Michael Kress

Michael Kress is the executive editor of He was also the the VP of Editorial and Managing Editor at Beliefnet and the founding editor-in-chief of