Leo Baeck College is an institution of Jewish scholarship and learning that is the heart of the intellectual and spiritual life of the Progressive Jewish community. It is the place where rabbis and educators equipped for the 21st century are trained, where leaders of Progressive Judaism are nurtured and where the core of Progressive Jewish thought is developed.
Following the destruction of much of Continental Jewry in the Holocaust, Leo Baeck College was set up in 1956 to begin the process of re-educating and recreating the leadership for the Progressive Jewish communities of the UK and those in Europe. It’s origins are based on the model of the Berlin Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums which was the first institute to apply modern academic methods of study to Jewish texts. Shut down in 1942 by the Nazis, Leo Baeck College sees itself as an inheritor of that tradition. The College is sponsored by the Movement of Reform Judaism and Liberal Judaism in the UK and the College is a member of EUPJ (European Union of Progressive Judaism).
From the onset the College developed its own programmes encompassing academic, vocational and professional studies. Its degrees were first validated by the CNAA and over the years the College’s reputation as a centre for Jewish studies has grown. Currently it offers awards in the fields of Jewish Studies and Jewish Education, which are validated by Middlesex University. These include:
Graduate Diploma in Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Part 1. This is a FHEQ Level 6 award
Graduate Diploma in Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Part 2. This is a FHEQ Level 6 award
Postgraduate Diploma in Hebrew and Jewish Studies. This is a FHEQ Level 7 award
MA in Applied Rabbinic Theology. This is a FHEQ Level 7 award
MA in Jewish Educational Leadership. This is a FHEQ Level 7 award
Students wishing to be ordained study all four of the Jewish Studies awards in addition to vocational modules and they undertake a series of placements in Progressive communities.
Studies at the College are challenging but carried out in an individual, friendly and supportive environment. The small number of students means that the College is able to make the learning experience a truly personal one. The close connection to the community enables students to gain work experience in synagogues as part of their training and to forge contacts with future employers.
The College’s faculty is very varied being made up of academics, practising rabbis and educators. This offers students the preparation they need whether they wish to pursue academic and/or leadership positions.
The College library houses one of the best Judaica collections of its kind in Europe.
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