Academy for Jewish Religion, America’s Oldest Pluralistic Jewish Seminary, Celebrates Its Prestigious New Accreditation and Unprecedented Growth – Doubling in Size in the Past Five Years

Academy for Jewish Religion, America’s Oldest Pluralistic Jewish Seminary, Celebrates Its Prestigious New Accreditation and Unprecedented Growth – Doubling in Size in the Past Five Years

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YONKERS, N.Y., Jan. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — With 36 percent of American Jews describing themselves as not belonging to the Reform, Conservative or Orthodox movements, America’s oldest pluralistic Jewish seminary that serves all movements and unaffiliated Jews, the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York is celebrating its prestigious accreditation and unprecedented growth on its 65th anniversary.  

As America’s oldest pluralistic Jewish seminary, serving all movements and unaffiliated Jews, the Academy for Jewish Religion (Yonkers, NY) is celebrating its prestigious accreditation and unprecedented growth on its 65th anniversary. The Academy, providing rabbinic, cantorial and graduate studies, confronts the challenges of a changed and changing Jewish community: Studies show that 36 percent of American Jews describe themselves as not belonging to the Reform, Conservative or Orthodox movements.

Founded in 1956 to ordain clergy for the entire Jewish community, the Academy for Jewish Religion received accreditation in 2020 from the Association of Theological Schools, the organization that accredits Harvard Divinity School, Yale Divinity School and the Princeton Theological Seminary.   The accreditation is a highlight of the past five years for AJR, during which time student enrollment has doubled – an unusual rate of growth for any seminary.

“For 65 years, AJR has had a unique and inclusive message for American Jewry,” said Dr. Ora Horn Prouser, CEO and Academic Dean.  “Our diverse student body and faculty cherish difference and know that we all grow and are better able to serve the Jewish people by appreciating the richness of diversity and by the willingness to learn from each other.”

“AJR’s accreditation and our remarkable growth stems from the quality of our rabbinic and cantorial education,” said Dr. William Liss-Levinson, Chair of the AJR’s Board of Trustees.  “Our faculty includes renowned scholars in their Jewish fields, and our student body, mostly second- and third-career students, come to the classroom with real-life experience that lead to electric conversations on the cutting edge of Judaism.”

AJR’s anniversary celebration will be this Sunday night, January 10, 2021, on Zoom.  The celebration will reflect that which makes AJR unique.  In the footsteps of its “Studying Bible Through Circus Arts” course that has received front-page coverage, AJR has chosen a circus theme for the celebration, reflecting the school’s creativity in its thinking and curriculum.  AJR’s students have reflected on sacred text while walking on a tightwire, hanging from a trapeze, and juggling, increasing their ability not just to understand the Bible but also to feel it with heightened sensory perception.

The celebration which begins at 7:00 PM will include circus performances, both professional and amateur, musical presentations, and study sessions focusing on music, contemporary ritual, Pluralism, and Studying the Bible through juggling.

Contact:  Dr. Ora Horn Prouser 516-603-1098

SOURCE Academy for Jewish Religion

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