The Covenant Grants

Spiritual Formation in Rabbinic Education

Organization: Hebrew College, Newton Centre, MA

Grant Year: 2022

Project Director: Rabbi Daniel Klein and Dr. Susie Tanchel

Type of Grant: Signature

Grant Amount: $150,000 (3 years)


Professional Development
Spiritual Development

Why is this particular work (spiritual identity formation) necessary right now, for this particular population of Jewish professionals?

This is a time of extraordinary transition. One of the critical responsibilities of rabbis, and clergy in general, is to walk with people in tumultuous times and help us experience these transitions as thresholds, not precipices. For rabbis to be loving guides and companions, they must have the habits of heart and mind to sense the sacred in and through their interactions with Jewish texts, rituals, and customs as well as the people they serve. Through this spiritual attunement, rabbis will be more able to care for the people they serve and help draw them more deeply into life-sustaining engagement with Jewish tradition.

What do you think is the most pressing need in the Jewish community right now?

We are living in a time of increasing polarization, when the wisdom of Jewish tradition is needed more than ever — and yet it is ever harder to hear and to hold amidst the fraying of lived community, and the flattening of human beings as reflections of the divine image. This project will help rabbis internalize this wisdom and serve a world in need.

What excites you about this work?

Everything! Torah is the Jewish word for our ongoing conversation of sacred living. It is a joy and gift to help future rabbis become more fully a part of this millennial dialogue – to feel they are in an intimate relationship with Jewish tradition and that the ever-evolving words, rituals, and customs of our tradition are the language of their heart and soul. It is thrilling to know that this educational work of helping rabbis develop their capacity to sense the sacred in and through Jewish tradition will help them serve and lead with wisdom, compassion, resilience, and perseverance.