history

history

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Rabbi Stan Levy, Rabbi Stephen Robbins, and Rabbi Mordecai Finley are the visionary rabbis who founded the Academy in 2000. All have continued to serve in leadership capacities and on the board or faculty.

AJRCA was founded in 2000 by rabbis who recognized that there was an urgent need to produce a new kind of Jewish spiritual leader; one who could effectively serve the 21st century American Jewish community in all its diversity, including those who are unaffiliated. Determined to create the highest caliber institution, our founders recruited an illustrious faculty representing all of Judaism’s denominations, highly accomplished students and dedicated community leaders. We relocated in 2006 to the Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA and in 2013, following continued growth in our programs, to our present location in the vibrant and dynamic Wilshire/Vermont area of Los Angeles.

Rabbi Mel Gottlieb 2011

Rabbi Mel Gottlieb helped shaped the Academy from its early years, as Dean of the Rabbinical School in 2002, founding Dean of the Chaplaincy School in 2004, and as President from 2008 through 2012. He returned as Spiritual Director and faculty member in 2015, and in 2016 was named President of the Academy.

 

Today the Academy encompasses a Rabbinical School, a Cantorial School, a Chaplaincy School and Master’s programs with various graduate specializations. Our alumni are hired by denominational and transdenominational institutions nationwide. They lead existing congregations and have founded new ones; they serve as the spiritual leaders of day schools, direct religious schools, head chaplaincy organizations, and teach at universities. Most importantly, they are transforming the Jewish communities in which they serve.

 

Together, the rich life experience and maturity of our students, the diverse expertise of our faculty, and the uniqueness of our curriculum and training have created an environment and community that is intellectually, personally and professionally dynamic, enriching and supportive.