Yeshiva University Counters Rabbinical Shortage by Offering Fellowships

A new program to meet the problems of decreasing seminary enrollment and a growing shortage of rabbis was announced today by Yeshiva University. Dr. Samuel Belkin, president of the university, announced a new Semicha (ordination) fellowship program which will provide financial support for outstanding rabbinical students in the same manner that fellowships are awarded in the arts and sciences.

Under the program, eligible single students will receive $1,200 and married students $2, 000 for the academic year. Unmarried fellowship holders, who will reside in the university residence, hall, will also receive a $300 total-cost dormitory scholarship. The fellowships, which will be available beginning in September, will be for one academic year, but may be renewed.

The decline in seminary enrollments is a problem faced by all three major faiths in this country, according to a recent enrollment survey by the American Association of Theological Schools. Dr. Belkin deplored the fact that “many a serious-minded young man, bent on becoming a rabbi, has been deterred by the numerous fellowship programs offered him in the arts and sciences. ” The fellowship program will provide financial support for outstanding rabbinical students in the same manner that fellowships are awarded in other areas, he noted.

The shortage of rabbis, Dr. Belkin said, has been brought about by the great post-war expansion, with new congregations being established in the suburbs and across the country.

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