Ohr Torah Stone’s Straus-Amiel | Beren-Amiel institute was established in 1998 to train modern orthodox, religious Zionist rabbis and educators for communal and educational leadership positions in Jewish communities around the world.
The Jewish people need great leaders. With assimilation around the world at an all-time high, there is a pressing demand for inspiring rabbis and educators to reinvigorate our synagogues, uplift our schools and build communities based on intellectually compelling and spiritually uplifting Judaism.
Jewish leadership is not only about expertise in Jewish law, but also the ability to share that knowledge with others and inspire them with a love of our tradition. With this in mind, Ohr Torah Stone’s Founding Chancellor and Rosh HaYeshiva Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin invited former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay, Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum, to be the founding director of the Beren-Amiel and Straus-Amiel programs in order to professionally train a cadre of inspiring educators and rabbis. The young, dynamic graduates of these programs are dedicated to energizing schools, communities, congregations and university campuses with a vision of Judaism that is authentic, relevant, sensitive and compassionate.
At the heart of our philosophy lies the belief that rabbis and educators must be learned, well organized, dynamic professionals, capable of building bridges between Jews of all levels of observance and showing respect and sensitivity to all.
The Straus-Amiel | Beren-Amiel institute functions in three main areas:
Training – During the two-year program the institute brings the best speakers, educators, rabbis, experts in Halacha and advisors to supply the couple with the tools that will serve them during their religious Zionist shlichut.
Placements – The placement of the students happens in complete cooperation between the institute, the families and the communities. We are also in contact with other organizations who offer shlichut positions (such as Bnei Akiva, Torah Mitzion, OU-JLIC, UK Chaplaincy, WZO)
We work together with the couple to prepare their resumés which are then sent to the relevant communities and positions. We assist the couples in researching the community and prepare them for the interview process. Following a successful match between the couple and the community, we also guide the couple in the intricacies of signing the contract for the benefit of all concerned.
Straus-Amiel | Beren-Amiel graduates fill many different positions across the Jewish world, for example:
Head of department
Bnei Akiva/NCSY/Tribe and other youth organizations
Ongoing Support and Guidance – The institute is an address for any question or dilemma – whether in the field of Halacha, education, ethics, Jewish thought and even logistics. Guidance is provided to our graduates over the phone, through e-mails, visits of Ohr Torah Stone’s staff to the communities, visits of our emissaries in Israel, our Facebook page and in-service training provided during regional conventions.
Applicants to the program must possess:
- A strong desire to work with and on behalf of the Jewish people
- Hebrew at a good level as well as another language
- Semicha and/or teaching qualification, or experience in formal and/or informal education
- Post-high school formal Jewish studies
Where appropriate, applicants are invited for a personal interview prior to acceptance to the program.
The training is a two-year program, with the option of assuming a communal position after just one year of studies.
Amiel in Numbers
The Amiel Institute was founded in 1998. During that time:
- 18 programs have been run with an average of 25 couples in each year-group.
- over 650 students have passed through our doors during that time.
- 180 graduate families are currently serving in the field
- 186 graduate families are currently back in Israel after a successful tenure abroad
- 30 student families are currently learning in our two-year program
- 98% of our placements are in communities comprising religious, traditional and secular members, presenting the rabbis and educators with challenges relating to halacha and modern life.
- Over 90% of returning graduates continue working in the fields of rabbinics, education and kiruv.
- Many of the emissaries continue to higher-level positions in their communities or to other communities overseas.
- Approximately 20% of graduates take up a second position overseas after their return to Israel.