spiritual development

spiritual development

Spiritual and ethical development  – tikkun ha-nefesh and tikkun ha-middot – are key elements of an AJRCA education. Students must develop balance, perspective, and deeper maturity in order to excel in their work as clergy and community leaders.  To serve that end, AJRCA provides an intellectual foundation through course work in mysticism and spirituality, but in addition requires participation in Spiritual Development groups which meet for one hour each Sunday evening in the regular semesters.  They are introduced to a range of spiritual practices and reflective traditions, learning to be introspective, to share their inward journeys, and to welcome feedback from trusted companions.  In this way they develop greater psychological consciousness and spiritual depth.   Those attending in intersession (hybrid programs) will have the opportunity for alternative learning in this area.

Students in the professional schools are also required to complete one or more units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Chaplaincy candidates normally complete at least two units while enrolled, while Rabbinical and Cantorial candidates complete one.  These units, if taken at AJRCA, involve enrollment in a CPE-related academic seminar and doing clinical service (chaplaincy fieldwork). With permission, students may complete this requirement elsewhere.  CPE is now considered to be an essential competency for professional clergy, and AJRCA offers one of the leading CPE programs in the nation.