Thank you for submitting an application to The Rabbinical School. The standardized test scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation in your application materials provide only a partial view of your qualifications for the rabbinate. Getting to know you and your Jewish path as fully as we can is essential to our making good admissions decisions. The essay questions that follow ask you to reflect on several core issues at some length. We hope that the writing process will prove clarifying for you as well.
Please respond to the four questions below with separate essays of approximately 750 to 1000 words each; the four essays in total should take up no more than 20 pages. We have asked four broad questions that include several subtopics. If weaving all subtopics for a given question into a single essay will not be coherent, you should answer that question with a primary essay and additional notes at the end to address the subtopics.
The essays we want from you are reflective and forthcoming. They should relate your own experiences and beliefs rather than attempt to conform to an assumed ideal.
Thank you for your time and candor. We look forward to this opportunity to get to know you better.
Note: if quoting Hebrew, please provide transliteration since our application program does not recognize Hebrew characters at this time.
1. Biography: Please reflect on your spiritual autobiography from childhood until this point.
2. Identity and Practice: Please read our document, Norms of Religious Identity and Practice (following), and discuss both the ways in which this aligns with your personal practice, as well as where you anticipate the greatest challenges as you embark upon your rabbinic training.
3. Faith: Explore just one of the following topics, bringing to it insights you have gleaned from your personal experiences, your readings, and your teachers. Cite primary and secondary sources as appropriate:
4. Rabbinate: Why do you wish to become a rabbi, and what makes JTS the best fit for you? In your response, please consider the following: