(JTA) – Chabad-Lubavitch’s Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, N.J., plans to ordain 280 new rabbis at an event that the movement is billing as the largest ordination class in the modern era.
The Sept. 9 program will feature former Israeli Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and other rabbinic dignitaries. The newly minted rabbis, some of whom are already serving in communities around the country and world, will represent Chabad in 14 countries and 23 states. They will take on the title ambassadors of Judaism and serve in Chabad’s network of Jewish educators and social service organizations in 75 countries.
“We feel indeed privileged to bestow 280 rabbinical degrees — an unprecedented number,” Rabbi Moshe Herson, dean of the Rabbinical College, told JTA. “We are happy for our students that they will have the signature of Chief Rabbi Lau on their certificates for posterity.”
Lau is not a Chabad rabbi. The Chabad rabbinical college last held a mass ordination five years ago, when 100 rabbis were ordained. The institution was established in 1971 and has ordained thousand of rabbis, according to Chabad spokesman Rabbi Motti Seligson.