Founded in 1999, the Abraham Geiger College at Potsdam University is the first academic seminary for rabbis and cantors in Continental Europe after the Shoah and stands in the tradition of the Berlin Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums (the Institute for the Scientific Study of Judaism), which was closed down by the Nazis in 1942. It draws funds from private and public sources, the Federal German Government, the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Laender in the Federal Republic of Germany, the Federal State of Brandenburg as well as the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the Leo Baeck Foundation. The first rabbinic ordination took place in Dresden in 2006. Our mission is to train male and female rabbis as well as male and female cantors for Jewish communities all over Central and Eastern Europe and in particular for Germany. The academic education is integrated into the extensive curriculum of the Institute for Jewish Studies at Potsdam University and is embedded in the broad context of a state university, in order to also foster the understanding of Judaism in a pluralistic context. A faculty of male and female rabbis and cantors from all over Europe supports the development of the aspirants by regular evaluation of the improvement of the single segments of the training. Each student has a mentor.
Education at the Abraham Geiger College at Potsdam University is based on three pillars:
- high academic standards with a broad selection of courses in Potsdam and Berlin, leading to a master’s degree in Jewish Studies at Potsdam University.
- support of the students during their practical training by expert psychosocial monitoring
- guidance of the students in their pastoral practice through mentorship
The Abraham Geiger College is a member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) and is accredited by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR).