Shabbat dinner tells one part of the story. When Alon Kashanian, a UCLA senior, wants a “very big social atmosphere” on erev Shabbat, he goes to Hillel’s grand, Jerusalem-stone-adorned, 25,000-square-foot Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life on Hilgard Avenue in Westwood. He socializes with friends and mingles with some of the 100 to 200 students — the number can vary widely — who come for services and Friday night dinner.
The Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJR-CA), graduated its 10th class of rabbinic and cantorial ordinees last month. The transdenominational seminary has graduated close to 90 rabbis, cantors and chaplains since 2003, and nearly all have found work in Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and non-denominational synagogues, as well as in schools, hospitals and other institutions.