Talbot opens new campus in Manhattan


Photo by Talbot Seminary

The inaugural class at the Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies began the new master’s program this summer.

This past summer, Biola’s Talbot School of Theology launched its second program extension, The Charles L. Feinberg Center, in Manhattan, N.Y.

As an accredited extension site, second behind a site in Kiev, Ukraine, the Charles L. Feinberg Center offers a Master of Divinity in Messianic Jewish Studies degree. This specific and tailored master’s program is a three-year course of study, designed to serve students planning on a life of full-time ministry in a Messianic Jewish community or those who are currently involved in a life of ministry but have never received training necessary for the field.

Although considered an extension of Talbot, this center is unique in that it is also a partnership with Chosen People Ministries (CPM), a worldwide ministry focused on the Christian evangelism to Jewish people.

Dennis Dirks, dean of Talbot, and Mitch Glaser, a Talbot graduate and current president of CPM, worked together in the establishment of this program. Their vision is to eventually train all CPM staffers through this program so that they can more effectively evangelize and train others, according to Carol Baker, Talbot’s administrative assistant.

Charles L. Feinberg was a Jewish believer who came to the Christian faith through a staff member of CPM in the 1920s. After graduating from Dallas Theological Seminary, Feinberg helped to form a new seminary, Talbot Theological Seminary (now Talbot School of Theology). He served Talbot as its first and longest-standing dean, a position he held from 1952 to 1976. While serving as dean of Talbot, Feinberg was also an active member of CPM. Feinberg’s contributions to both organizations made him a fitting namesake for the collaborative program.

Establishing The Charles L. Feinberg Center in the metropolis of Manhattan was an intentional move. As the location of CPM headquarters, New York is also home to a population of over 900,000 Jewish people, according to Mike Brady, coordinator of Talbot’s extension programs. This sizeable population, one of the largest in the nation, will prove to be a great opportunity for student evangelism practice and a deeper understanding of Jewish culture.

The program, launched at Talbot’s campus at Biola University this past summer, had a very small group of students enrolled. These small numbers are in part due to the long process of acquiring accreditation with both the Association of Theological Schools and the New York Board of Regents, a process which took over three years to complete, Baker said. However, growth is expected, as the international reaches of CPM will soon become a draw for prospective students.

“The program is still being adjusted a little bit,” said Brady, “in order to improve its quality and to make sure it meets the students’ needs.”

Although initially focused on educating staff of CPM, The Charles L. Feinberg center is hoping to reach out to further its impact. Next month, Glaser, a founder, will be speaking in undergraduate chapel offering the Biola student body with the opportunity of joining the program after graduation.

“If students are looking to possibly get into ministry with Jewish people, to either present the gospel to them or to work in a Messianic church, this would be a good opportunity for them to get a graduate degree that focuses on Messianic Jewish studies,” Brady said.

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