Training American Orthodox Rabbis to Play a Role in Confronting Assimilation: Programs, Methodologies and Directions [Adam Ferziger]

Dr. Adam Ferziger holds a Ph.D. from Bar Ilan University and Orthodox rabbinical ordination ("semicha") from Yeshiva University. His research is devoted to an analysis and critique of American Orthodox rabbinical training from a "counter-assimilationist" perspective. After outlining the difference between classic "kiruv" activities and the type of involvement that could be appropriate for the broad section of Jews verging on assimilation, Dr. Ferziger poses these seminal questions:

How are Orthodox rabbinical candidates currently being trained? Do the Orthodox institutions that train congregational rabbis offer them the skills necessary to deal with contemporary assimilatory trends? Do most young Orthodox rabbis in training learn about the nature of the greater Jewish community? Do they gain abilities to communicate with non-observant Jews? Does their intensive study of classical Jewish texts enable them to locate suitable ones for exposing Jews who have become alienated from Judaism to the beauty of tradition? Do the rabbinical training centers encourage their graduates to become pulpit rabbis? Based on the answer to these questions, a proposal can be put forward for how to focus future rabbinical training more directly on dealing with assimilation.