Mission Statement, Core Values, Vision and HTC Conceptual Framework
Hebrew Theological College - Beis HaMidrash LaTorah is committed to the advancement of scholarship in accordance with the principles of Orthodox Judaism, providing academic programs to produce Torah Scholars, who will provide Rabbinic and lay leadership, serving the Jewish community in their professional and personal vocations.
ללמד וללמד, לשמר ולעשות
To Learn, To Teach, To Observe, and To Do
Hebrew Theological College is a Torah centered institution dedicated to:
- Promoting growth in Torah learning and scholarship.
- Fostering increased commitment and adherence to the principles of Orthodox Judaism.
- Incorporating the highest ideals of general academia and professional studies.
- Embracing a spectrum of Orthodox perspectives within our community.
- Service to the community and to its moral, social and cultural development.
- Instilling in our students an attachment to the State of Israel and its people as well as a sense of responsibility for their welfare.
Striving for Excellence
Building on its history as the preeminent Torah institution of higher learning in the Midwest, Hebrew Theological College will continue to provide Rabbinic and Lay leaders who are equipped through advanced Judaic and general education to meet the evolving needs of the Orthodox Jewish community as it confronts the emerging challenges of a multi-cultural world while fulfilling its eternal destiny as illuminated by Torah values.
HTC Conceptual Framework
Hebrew Theological College enhances the intellectual skills, cultural sensibilities and ethics of all of its students through the traditional methodology of religious study that has been the hallmark of the Jewish Heritage of Scholarship. Concurrently, Hebrew Theological College promotes the academic and spiritual aspirations of its students such that their lifestyles and professional careers will reflect Torah values.
To Learn: Hebrew Theological College values learning as a lifelong pursuit, and models and instills this value in its students. The faculty models scholarship and the pursuit of excellence, encouraging students to engage in learning as critical thinkers and effective communicators. Hebrew Theological College engages in continuous assessment of student learning outcomes.
To Teach: Hebrew Theological College prepares its students with the knowledge and skills to be effective agents of positive change. Furthermore, all students will act, either formally or informally, as teachers. It is axiomatic to Orthodox Jews, that instruction, be it textual or moral, spiritual or behavioral, is an integral part of their lives. The preparation received at Hebrew Theological College serves as the foundation for a life filled with teaching in one’s family, society, classroom or synagogue.
To Observe: Religious commitment is at the cornerstone of the Orthodox Jewish life. Through the lessons learned by example and in the classroom, Hebrew Theological College students enhance their appreciation for Jewish Heritage while increasing their own personal commitment to following the tenets of Jewish tradition.
To Do: Hebrew Theological College values action, not simply intention, as components of change and growth. Improving a society is accomplished with the individual actions of each one, and the actions of all individuals acting as one. The value of service is instilled in the students so that they see themselves as part of the greater good, with the potential of improving life for others.
The College operates within the framework of Halacha, Jewish law, as prescribed in the Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish law. The needs and goals of each student are met in an atmosphere conducive to learning and the free exchange of ideas. The faculty and administration of the College are dedicated to providing personal and career guidance and tutelage. The growth of the individual is further encouraged by a program of cultural, communal, social and recreational activities that allow for leadership training, creative expression and the development of lifelong friendships.
History of Hebrew Theological College
In 1919 a group of rabbis met to evaluate the priorities of higher Jewish education in Chicago. The Beis HaMidrash LeRabanim was founded at this meeting, with ten students. On October 15, 1921, the name of the school was officially changed to Hebrew Theological College ‑ Beis HaMidrash LaTorah, and chartered by the State of Illinois as a degree granting institution of higher education.
The school was established on the West Side of Chicago and a building was erected to accommodate the growing student body. Shortly thereafter, the Teachers Institute for Women was established as a division of Hebrew Theological College to provide women with opportunities for advanced Jewish studies and to prepare those seeking careers in Jewish education. In 1976, the women's division was endowed and named the Anne M. Blitstein Teachers Institute for Women.
From 1922 until 1946, Hebrew Theological College was led by the esteemed Rabbi Saul Silber. One of Rabbi Silber's major goals was the training of Orthodox Rabbis to meet the needs of the American Jewish community while, revolutionary for those times, requiring a baccalaureate degree of all students before ordination.
The continuing growth of the College and the population shift made it necessary to relocate. In 1958, a new classroom and administration building was completed in suburban Skokie and operations in the new location began at once. The Synagogue Building was completed shortly thereafter. The growth of the women's division from a part-time evening program to a full-time all-day seminary/college program necessitated the acquisition of a second campus in 1994, including classrooms, computer labs, library facilities, faculty and administration offices as well as student residence facilities.
The School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, later renamed in memory of William and LiIlian Kanter, was established in 1959, to further promote the goal of encouraging each student to pursue general knowledge while providing the best Judaic Studies program possible. By the late-1980's HTC made a concerted commitment to establishing a full range of course offerings leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Judaic Studies for both men and women at their respective campuses. In addition to the Hebrew Teacher Certification, the Department of Education developed a program leading to State of Illinois Certification in either Elementary or Special Education. Additional options for additional majors were introduced gradually during the 1990’s. Today the additional majors offered are Accounting, Business, Computer and Information Sciences, Education, English and Psychology. Recently, the Kanter School of Liberal Arts and Sciences has introduced a variety of courses preparing students for graduate and professional studies in allied health sciences. In Fall, 2005, the baccalaureate degree was renamed the Bachelor of Arts Degree.
Since 1921, Hebrew Theological College has ordained hundreds of rabbis who have served as rabbis, chaplains and educators in the United States, Canada, Israel, and throughout the world. The thousands of alumni who have studied at HTC have made an indelible impression, as lay or professional leaders, on the world Jewish community. Hebrew Theological College is a beneficiary of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.