Through academic, graduate, and professional programs, Hebrew Theological College – בית המדרש לתורה strives to produce graduates committed to the principles of halacha (Jewish law) and scholarship, and to serving the Jewish community and humanity.
Hebrew Theological College fosters academic and spiritual growth within a Torah environment to guide our students toward lives that reflect Torah values and community leadership. Using the the traditional methodology of Torah study and academic rigor that has been the hallmark of Jewish scholarship for millennia, we develop and nurture our students’ intellectual skills, cultural sensibilities, and ethics. Our faculty models lifelong learning and encourages critical thinking, while also developing opportunities for our students to engage in community service.
HTC’s faculty and administration provide personal and career guidance to each of our students. Our student body also enjoys cultural, communal, social, and recreational activities that promote lifelong relationships. All of our divisions operate within the framework of halacha as prescribed in the Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law.
Since its inception in 1921, Hebrew Theological College has ordained hundreds of rabbis and produced thousands of graduates who have served the community as rabbis, chaplains, educators, professionals, and lay leaders across the United States, Canada, Israel, and throughout the world. While “Skokie Yeshiva” is recognized today around the Jewish world for both its educational reputation and prolific alumni, our roots are modest and Midwestern.
Launched first as Beis HaMidrash LeRabanim in 1919 with ten students, Hebrew Theological College/Beis HaMidrash LaTorah was founded in October, 1921, on Chicago’s West Side, and chartered by the State of Illinois as a degree-granting institution of higher education. In 1924, HTC established the Teachers Institute for Women to provide women with opportunities for advanced Jewish studies and to prepare those seeking careers in Jewish education.
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 eventually made it necessary to relocate, and in 1958 HTC moved to its current location in Skokie. The School of Liberal Arts and Sciences was established in 1959 and was later renamed by William and LiIlian Kanter. In the 1970s, the School of Advance Hebrew Studies was endowed by Max Bressler. Meanwhile, the Teachers Institute for Women became the Rose Cohen Women’s College, also in 1959.
In the early 1960s, under the direction of President Rabbi Oscar Z. Fasman, HTC formally opened a Yeshiva high school to serve Chicago-area students as well as boys from around the country. The high school was subsequently renamed after Rabbi Fasman in 1981.
In 1976, the women's teacher’s institute was endowed and named the Anne M. Blitstein Teachers Institute for Women.
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. Additional teacher certifications were offered, and additional majors were introduced gradually during the 1990s.
By 1994, with the women's division having grown from a part-time evening program to a full-time all-day seminary/college program, HTC established a second campus in Chicago’s West Rogers Park neighborhood, including student residence facilities. In Fall 2005, the baccalaureate degree was renamed the Bachelor of Arts Degree.
HTC became accredited by the North Central Association, Higher Learning Commission as a candidate in 1995 and fully accredited in 1997.
In 2015, HTC formally joined the Touro College and University System, connecting its students to a system with 19,000 students spanning 30 undergraduate and graduate schools across four countries. The move also provided funding and institutional support in areas including finance, HR, operations, legal, web development, and marketing.
Hebrew Theological College is authorized to operate as a postsecondary educational institution by the Illinois Board of Higher Education.
See how HTC has been shaping its future in this year’s Annual Report.
HEERF Quarterly Budget & Expenditure Report
Rabbi Shmuel L. Schuman
Chief Executive Officer
Rabbi Avraham Friedman
Rosh HaYeshiva Emeritus
Dr. Chani Tessler
Dean, Blitstein Institute for Women, Chief Academic Officer
Rabbi Dovid Kupchik
Principal, Fasman Yeshiva High School
Chief Operating Officer
Director of Institutional Advancement