Know Your Seminary: Rabbinical Seminary International

For the sixth in our continuing series “Know Your Seminary!” we present a brief profile of the Rabbinical Seminary International (RSI). Located in New York City, RSI was founded in 1955 by the Hungarian Hasidic Rabbi and Kabbalist Dr. Joseph Gelberman, who was also known as a pioneer in “inter-religious dialogue” (or, constructive interaction between religious faiths). RSI is non-affiliated, and teaches from a strong Neo-Hasidic approach. This tradition seeks to incorporate Hasidic beliefs and practices into other Jewish movements, and has been championed by such writers as Martin Buber and Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Though located in the city, there aren’t classes per se. The course of study is self-guided, with each student provided with reading lists and study guides. Under the auspices of one or two mentoring Rabbis, each student studies Jewish history and writings, and must show proficiency in liturgical Hebrew as well as the ability to lead services and conduct life-cycle ceremonies in order to graduate and apply for ordination. Some students can therefore complete their studies in as little as a year, though the average length of time at RSI is two years.

You can explore their website here:


 To be as prepared as possible, the committee has begun to familiarize itself with the different rabbinical schools the applicants may have attended. This is the first in a series called, “Know Your Seminary!” to share with the community what we are learning about these schools.

As always, the Committee welcomes your thoughts and concerns! Please share at this address: