Applications Open for Rabbis Without Borders Fellow

rabbis-doneCLAL’s Rabbis Without Borders Network (RWB) is the leading edge of today’s rabbinate. Rabbis Without Borders challenge themselves to see, experience, and create the next era in Jewish life. RWBs span different denominations and viewpoints, yet are united in an effort to communicate a Judaism that can complete in a globalized, interconnected world, in which identities and communal boundaries are increasingly permeable. To achieve this goal, RWBs are committed to the values of pluralism, service to everyone, and innovation in all aspects of Judaism.

To enter this exciting network of rabbis, directed by Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu, we invite you to apply to be an RWB Fellow, with teachers and mentors from the CLAL Faculty. Each year we accept a diverse group of twenty rabbis to form a cohort group.

The RWB Fellowship is a one year program consisting of:

  • An intensive peer cohort experience fostered through:
  • Three in person retreats
  • An interactive Google Group for ongoing conversations
  • Relationship building though growth and study
  • Multifaceted learning on issues central to American life today
  • One-on-one coaching to bring innovative ideas to fruition

During the course of the RWB Fellowship, rabbis learn:

  • How to use Jewish wisdom and practice as a public good.
  • How to use the science of positive psychology to reimagine Judaism as a path of flourishing for individuals and communities.
  • How to use post-modern identity formation theory, epistemology, and sociology to create a pluralist, accessible, usable and passionate Judaism.
  • How to employ technology and social media to reach a larger audience.
  • How to employ innovation theory and design thinking to create new Jewish products, services, experiences and organizations.
  • After completing the first year Fellowship, rabbis will be integrated in to the larger RWB Network, an environment which fosters on-going experimentation, innovative thinking, collaboration on projects, and opportunities to serve in diverse settings. Each Fellow is required to create at least one new program/initiative/curriculum/product as a result of the Fellowship (examples can be found here), be open to giving back to the community by serving in the RWB Service Corps, and committed to deepen the work of the RWB Network.

If this sounds exciting to you, then please apply! The ideal candidate is a rabbi who believes that the teachings of Judaism can help navigate every aspect of modern American life. This rabbi seeks to have an impact both within and beyond their individual congregation, organization, or community. Creativity and an ability to think outside the box are valued qualities.

We are looking for a diverse group of rabbis: pulpit, non-pulpit, and those forging new paths. All ages and stages are welcome. We just ask that you have at least one full year of rabbinic work post ordination before applying.

As part of the Fellowship we gather for three retreats. The Fellowship is awarded to you; however, there are basic retreat expenses. Total costs combined for all three retreats are: $1,500 for a double room, $1,950 for a single room. Travel is on your own. Scholarships are available – please do not let financial concerns get in the way of applying!

The 2017-2018 RWB retreat dates are as follows:
June 4-8, 2017 at The Pearlstone Retreat Center
Nov. 6-9, 2017 at Brandeis Bardin Campus
Early 2018, TBD

To Apply: Please do so here:

Applications are due: Thursday Jan. 12th. Late applications will not be considered. Questions? Please email our Program Coordinator, Shelli Aderman at:

The ideas and experiences shared in the RWB Fellowship year open rabbis to think, teach and share Judaism differently. They each come out of the experience with new ideas and projects to apply to their particular rabbinates. In evaluations, alumni of the program report on the impact of the Fellowship in their lives and work:

  • 98% of RWB Fellows report that their participation in RWB has affected their thinking about Judaism.
  • 96% of RWB Fellows have strengthened and increased their comfort crossing denominational and institutional boundaries.
  • 94% of RWB Fellows report an increase in their audience (i.e., the people with whom they are in contact as a rabbi).
  • 91% of RWB Fellows have created new programs or approaches to programming in their synagogue/organization.
  • 81% of RWB Fellows have seen an increase in participation in programs and services in their synagogue or organization.
  • 80% of RWB Fellows are appearing in/writing in/teaching in new venues since participating in the fellowship.
  • Collectively, RWB Fellows are reaching over 1.5 million people.