The Center for Jewish Spiritual Leadership

Abraham Geiger College was founded as an academic institution for the training of rabbis and cantors with two key objectives in mind:

  • To meet an urgent, unfilled need for rabbis and cantors who are able to communicate with German congregations in their language while appreciating their particular concerns and cultural affinities based on their familiarity with them;
  • To give women the chance to study Jewish theology as an academic subject, so as to equip them to pursue the rabbinate or cantorate as their life’s calling – thereby aligning with the trend already underway in many Reform and Conservative Jewish communities throughout the world.

Partnering with the School of Jewish Theology has allowed the Abraham Geiger College to develop into an independent scientific institution of academic excellence at the level of a university.

Since then, a comprehensive seminary program for rabbis and cantors has been made available by the Center for Jewish Spiritual Leadership at the Abraham Geiger College.

The Center for Jewish Spiritual Leadership’s mission is to train future rabbis and cantors in a practical, hands-on manner that will prepare them for real life. Thus, we nurture and assist our students every step of the way, from admission to ordination. Our goal is to train rabbis and cantors who can serve as worthy role models for Reform Judaism and its ethical values in contemporary society. This means that a student must develop and demonstrate a wide range of requisite character traits, skills, and qualifications before he or she can be ordained as a rabbi
(Smicha) or invested as a cantor. Utmost care is devoted to ensuring that the relevant academic and personal skills are acquired, with a focus being placed particularly in the following areas:

  • spiritual and intellectual leadership;
  • teaching;
  • spiritual counseling and life coaching;
  • congregational management skills;
  • civic engagement.


The Center for Jewish Spiritual Leadership comprises a diverse and cosmopolitan teaching faculty:

Practical training, spiritual counseling, community work, homiletics
  • Rabbi Drs Edward van Voolen (Director of Congregational Proficiency, Reform)
  • Rabbi Jona Simon, MA
Assistant lecturers
  • Prof. Dr. Judith Frishman (Torah Cantillation)
  • Prof. Dr. Heinz-Gunther Schöttler (Homiletics)
  • Cantor Jochen Fahlenkamp (Coaching)
  • Prof. Ralph Selig (Coaching)
  • Rabbi Dr. Henry G. Brandt (Community Work)
Applied liturgy
  • Rabbi Prof. Dr. Dalia Marx
Applied Halakhah
  • Rabbi Prof. Walter Jacob, DHL, DD, DLit (Reform)
  • Rabbi Jonah Sievers, MA (Reform)
  • Rabbi David Fine, PhD (Masorti)
Cantorial training
  • Cantor Prof. Dr. Eliyahu Schleifer, PhD
Assistant lecturers
  • Cantor Josee Wolff, D. Min.
  • Cantor Azi Schwartz
  • Cantor Roslyn Barak
  • Cantor Israel Goldstein
  • Cantor Simon Zkorenblut
Personal development
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Klessmann
  • Rabbi Markus A. Lange, MA
  • Germana Alberti vom Hofe
  • Elvira Glück