Fellowship unites Reform, Conservative seminaries

Two of the nation’s largest seminaries are going interdenominational.

But not in the way you might think.

Lynn Schusterman, chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, recently announced the Hevruta Fellowship, a five-year pilot program for rabbinical students studying at the Reform Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Conservative Jewish Theological Seminary.

Besides their regular coursework, Hevruta fellows will study together in regular meetings and retreats led by faculty from both seminaries as well as educators from STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal) and the Center for Leadership Initiatives. The fellowship will provide rabbinical students the opportunity to collaborate, study together and build leadership skills in a context of the shared values of the Reform and Conservative movements in Judaism.

This is the first time JTS and HUC-JIR rabbinical students will be involved in a sustained, collaborative educational program.

Starting this fall, eight outstanding students (four from each school) will be admitted to the program for each year of the five-year pilot phase of the project.

“The connections our students will make with their fellow students at HUC-JIR, and the deepening ties between our two institutions, bode well for the future of the American Jewish community,” said professor Arnold M. Eisen, chancellor-elect of JTS.

The total budget for the Hevruta Fellowship is approximately $2.5 million, a sum the Schusterman Family Foundation will disburse over the five years of the program.