Skip to main content

Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship Information & FAQs

All you need to know about the Fellowship, how to apply, and frequently asked questions.

briefcase

Interested in becoming a Fellow?

Applications will open in mid-August 2024. Click below if you’d like to be notified when applications to Cohort 5 open.

What the Fellowship Entails:

Since 2019, 18Doors has successfully trained 39 Rukin Rabbinic Fellows over three cohorts from across North America and from a variety of denominations. The Fellows have served over 2,300 individuals in interfaith relationships to date and counting. Through the professional development opportunities offered by this Fellowship, we hope that future Fellows will be able to advocate for more interfaith inclusion in Jewish life and engage more wholly with interfaith couples and families.

The professional development offerings for Cohort 5 will include the following:

  • An Opening In-Person Retreat in March or April 2025
  • Monthly Webinars with Experts in the Field and Related Fields 
  • Small Discussion Groups with Other Fellows  
  • Ongoing Chavruta with Another Fellow 
  • A Capstone Project Selected by the Fellow 
  • A Closing Retreat in October 2026 

Our Ideal Applicants:

We will be seeking 30 early to mid-career rabbis who have some experience with interfaith couples and families, but who desire to be more comfortable and more skilled in working with people in interfaith relationships – and who want to achieve this by participating in a learning community. The members of the Fellowship cohort will learn together and support each other in increasing their knowledge of interfaith inclusion issues and participate in developing solutions to create communities of belonging for these couples and families. 

fellowship retreat 1

If you have questions about the Fellowship, please email Rabbi Robyn Frisch, Director of the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship. 

Interested in applying to the Fellowship?

Applications will open in Fall 2024. Click below if you’d like to be notified when applications to Cohort 5 open.

fellowship retreat 2
fellowship retreat 3

Frequently Asked Questions

When will applications for the Fellowship be open?

Applications for the fifth Fellowship cohort will be open in Spring 2024.

From where do you have to have been ordained to apply to the Fellowship?

In order to apply to the Fellowship, you must already be an ordained rabbi. Additionally, we only accept applicants who were ordained at the following institutions: Academy for Jewish Religion (NY), Academy for Jewish Religion (CA), AJU Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, ALEPH, Chief Rabbinate of Israel, Hebrew College, Hebrew Seminary, HUC-JIR, IISHJ, JTS, Leo Baeck College, RRC, Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Yeshivat Maharat, and Yeshiva University.

Is the Fellowship open to rabbis who live outside of North America?

18Doors has fellows in the United States and Canada, and is focused on serving interfaith couples and families in North America at this time. We do not offer the Fellowship overseas.

What experience and qualities should applicants have?

We are seeking early-mid career rabbis who likely have some experience working with interfaith couples and families, but who aren’t entirely comfortable doing such work, and who want to learn how they can better meet the needs of interfaith couples and families.

Examples of those who would be good candidates for the Fellowship include, but are not limited to:

  • Rabbis who are allowed to officiate interfaith weddings but feel that they don’t really do a good job meeting the needs of both partners when they do officiate, as well as those who don’t officiate because they’re not sure if they’re comfortable doing so.
  • Rabbis who aren’t sure how to counsel interfaith couples.
  • Rabbis who struggle with the role of family members who aren’t Jewish during the B’nai Mitzvah process or other lifecycle events.
  • Rabbis who find it hard not to judge people in interfaith relationships and find that this is interfering in serving them.
  • Rabbis who aren’t entirely comfortable counseling interfaith couples and families and “meeting them where they are.”

Applicants should be willing to look at their personal policies and boundaries when it comes to people in interfaith relationships and determine where they might be open to change. 

What is the purpose of the webinars and who are the presenters?

Fellows will attend webinars that expose them to a wide variety of experts and topics relating to interfaith couples and families, enabling them to develop a deeper understanding of the lives and experiences of these couples and families. They are intended to help Fellows understand how they can best support these couples and families and become more skilled in interacting with them and advocating for them. The webinars push Fellows to challenge their own boundaries and assumptions regarding interfaith couples and families. Our goal is to encourage Fellows to be thoughtful about their boundaries and kind and sensitive in the way those boundaries are communicated to interfaith couples. Our goal is not to have Fellows necessarily change their views on particular issues or what they’ll do as a rabbi, but rather to encourage them to be thoughtful and open minded and to be aware of and sensitive to the fact that there are many ways of viewing and doing things. Webinar presenters include a wide range of individuals whose work includes studying or working with interfaith couples and who are experts in their respective fields.

Past webinar presenters have included: Fern Chertok of the Cohen Center of Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University; Susan Katz Miller, author of “Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family”; and Edmund Case, founder of InterfaithFamily (now 18Doors) and the Center for Radically Inclusive Judaism, and author of “Radical Inclusion: Engaging Interfaith Families for a Thriving Jewish Future.”

Is it mandatory for Fellows to attend the retreats? 

Yes. The Fellowship will begin with an in-person retreat from from Sunday early evening to Wednesday early afternoon in March or April 2025 (dates and location TBA). Anyone who applies must be available to attend this retreat. There will be a second mandatory in-person retreat at the end of the Fellowship in October 2026 (dates to be determined).

Who pays for the costs related to the retreat? 

Once you arrive at the retreat, 18Doors pays for all costs – a single room for each Fellow, as well as all meals and programming. While the Fellows will book their own travel, 18Doors will reimburse each Fellow based on the average cost of travel from their home to the retreat.

Will all food at the retreat be Kosher?

Yes. All food will be Kosher, under rabbinic supervision.

How do the Discussion Groups work? 

Fellows will choose which Discussion Groups they want to be part of based on topics they want to discuss in greater depth with their colleagues (e.g., officiation of interfaith weddings, dual faith families, synagogue policies regarding interfaith couples and families). Throughout the period of the Fellowship, each Fellow will participate in five or six Discussion Groups, with each group meeting approximately three times.

What does the Chavruta involve? How often do we need to meet? How will we know what texts to study? 

At the opening retreat, each Fellow will be paired with another Fellow, who will be their Chavruta for the period of the Fellowship. They will have their first opportunity to learn together during the opening retreat, and they’ll be asked to figure out times that they can meet for an hour virtually on a monthly basis.  

18Doors will provide the texts for study, as well as questions to consider. Our hope is that not only will the Fellows benefit from their Chavruta experience but that they will also be able to use the texts that we provide them with in their own teaching.  

What does the Capstone Project involve? 
The goal of the Capstone Project is for the Fellow to think deeply about an issue related to interfaith couples and/or families and to produce or provide something that will benefit people in interfaith relationships. This can be done in many different ways, including through creation of materials that will be valuable to people in interfaith relationships (e.g., curriculum to be used by rabbis or other professionals or resources to be provided directly to couples) or provision of professional development for professionals and/or lay leaders who work with people in interfaith relationships.
Examples of Capstone Projects include but are not limited to: a research project; writing an article for the Jewish press; training Jewish clergy, professionals and/or lay leaders in the Fellow’s community or at a national gathering; creating a curriculum for a program for interfaith couples or parents, parents of adults in interfaith relationships, or grandparents; creating resources for 18Doors’ website; or creating materials that can be used by the clergy in 18Doors Jewish Clergy Officiation Referral Service.

Want to know when applications open for Cohort 5?