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Jewish Synagogue moves ordination online to circumvent COVID-19 shutdown

Published Monday, Jun. 29th, 2020

If you needed proof that COVID-19 is moving religion online, a mass-online-ordination by the Jewish Universalist Online Synagogue of 162 Rabbis and Cantors from all around the world certainly checks that box. 


Ordination in the Jewish faith has traditionally has traditionally been a timely and complex process, but at The Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute (JSLI), technology has allowed women and men to serve their communities as Rabbis and Cantors who otherwise might not have been able to attend classes or training. 


Now, COVID-19 has even moved the final ordination ceremony – which used to be done in-person – online. What makes this story so remarkable to us at American Marriage Ministries is the way in which technology has impacted such an ancient faith, with thousands of years of tradition and history. It’s similar to what we have done with our online ordination, and underscores the value and equity of ordination, regardless of whether done over the internet, or in-person.


Rabbi Steve Blane of Sim Shalom Jewish Universalist online synagogue and a Bet Din convened a holy ordination and Shabbaton on the June 19th weekend online. Rabbi Blane is the Dean and Founder of the Jewish Spiritual Leaders' Institute that was created to train clergy to meet the needs of modern Jews. The group of twelve ordained this past weekend joined the 162 Rabbis and Cantors in the US, Canada, Great Britain, Japan and Israel. JSLI alumni are serving in pulpits, as Chaplains, educators and performing life cycle events.


While the ordination was moved online due to COVID-19 it remained a truly moving and spiritual event and allowed the friends and family of the candidates to attend an online gathering. 

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