How much do Shul Rabbis get paid? Are there job opportunities in smaller communities out of New York, for people looking to go into the Rabbinate?

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    user736, Welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for bringing your question here! Please edit your user profile and give yourself a name, unless you really like the number 736.
    – Isaac Moses
    Oct 18, 2011 at 23:13
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    How far outside of New York? Ramleh?
    – WAF
    Nov 28, 2011 at 13:54
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    According to Slate, rabbis make loads of money.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 20, 2012 at 2:15
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about Judaism. Aug 15, 2016 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


At the risk of answering a question that might get closed for being too vague:

1) It depends and 2) It depends.

Essentially, a rabbi being paid for leading a congregation will be subject to how much value that rabbi will bring to the congregation. In many instances, this will translate to "How dynamic is the rabbi?" (I.E. Can he bring in a bunch of people who otherwise might not come?), "What is the rabbi's stance on halacha?" (I.E. does the rabbi's stance fit with the stance of the congregation itself?) and "How much of a leader is the rabbi?" (I.E. is the rabbi willing to be a yes-man to the president of the synagogue board?).

As for job-opportunities, it really depends on where you're willing to look. Most big cities have long-established rabbis (or they know of places where they can go when they need someone new). Smaller, more rural areas will probably look for a rabbi more as someone who can give some nice speeches without preaching fire and brimstone to the congregation (the farther away jews have to go to the synagogue, the less likely you will find an orthodox community). This is not to say that there aren't orthodox rabbis in small areas - but those are usually placed there by Chabad or some other similar organization (I.E. someone with deep pockets who can pay for a rabbi that otherwise wouldn't get offered a job).

If you can get a job with a large congregation (200+ people on a weekly basis) and/or you work for a liberal temple, you can probably make a decent salary (I won't even hazard a guess as to how much most rabbis get paid). Most other rabbis, though, usually have to supplement their income with other jobs (such as teaching in a school nearby). Being a rabbi is a tough calling. If you're able to do it, more power to you. But don't expect a big payday unless you work for a Syrian-Jewish synagogue in New York.

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    Halevai Chabad had "deep pockets"! The usual arrangement, as I understand it, is that a new shliach is funded only for the first year by the central Chabad organization - after that, he is expected to "live off the land" by fundraising, providing services to the community (such as a school), etc.
    – Alex
    Nov 28, 2011 at 15:49
  • +1, nice answer. But re "This is not to say that there aren't orthodox rabbis in small areas - but those are usually placed there by Chabad or some other similar organization": depends what you call "small". There are plenty of cities across the United States with vibrant, orthodox congregations unaffiliated with any organization that places rabbis. Even more, I assume, in Israel.
    – msh210
    Nov 28, 2011 at 15:57

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