A seminary can be a retreat from the world, but at AJRCA we see it more as a laboratory. It plants seeds from Jewish tradition’s seminal ideas, nurtures the shoots in seminars, but then the plants must be able to grow in the larger world. We look for connections to that world that will help our students before they are transplanted out of this unique laboratory.
One set of connections is to others in the Jewish world. Our students attend events sponsored by the Southern California Board of Rabbis, such as the renowned High Holiday Seminar each summer. They participate in retreats sponsored by Rabbis Without Borders on the east and west coasts. We also co-sponsor events with various synagogues.
Another group of connections is the interfaith world. Students have attended interfaith conferences for many years. In the summer of 2008, AJRCA leadership was invited on a leadership tour in Israel sponsored by the Southern California Board of Rabbis, joining with Muslim, Christian, and other Jewish leaders to learn and travel together. Relationships formed there continued into other ventures.
Interfaith leadership group at Yad Vashem, 2008. Photo by Oren Cohen.
We continued this work by building relationships with other seminaries. Students have cross-registration privileges at the Claremont School of Theology, Bayan Claremont (Muslim), and University of the West (Buddhist).Our faculty interfaces with the faculty members of those institutions in multiple projects.
AJRCA is a member of the Intersem project of the American Jewish Congress, which enables our students to attend retreats with Roman Catholic and Protestant as well as Jewish students from other seminaries.
Please see Interreligious Studies/Our Partners for further information on this area.
In 2013, AJRCA was selected as a participating organization in the Angell Foundation’s Organizational Spirituality Initiative, a two-year program of leadership training devoted to principles of “collective wisdom.” This brought us into connection with 13 other Los Angeles organizations, including a wide range of social service organizations and the Center for Collective Wisdom itself.
The Center for Collective Wisdom, with its talented founders and consultants John Ott and Rose Pinard, have brought us additional resources in their superb leadership training. Administration, faculty, students and the board of directors have all benefited from this unique connection.
Faculty Retreat on Spirituality at AJRCA, August 2013, facilitated by John Ott of the Center for Collective Wisdom. Pictured: Front, Dr. Marvin Sweeney, Cantor Sam Radwine. Back: Rabbi Yehuda Hausman, Rabbi Toba August, Rabbi Rochelle Robins, Dr. Robert Levy, Cantor Jonathan Friedmann.