Q: How will we find the next Senior Rabbi for Beth Israel?
Q: Who is serving on the search committee?
Q: How can I be involved in the search process?
Q: When will our new senior rabbi join Beth Israel?
Q: What are the steps in finding the new senior rabbi?
Q: How is the rabbi selected exactly?
Q: What happens next after the search concludes?
Q: More questions?

Q: How will we find the next Senior Rabbi for Beth Israel?

A: Beth Israel is following a search process designed by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) for searches at Reform congregations. We’ve completed the CCAR’s first few recommended steps. First, we conducted the Self Study, to consider who we are as a congregation and identify the personal characteristics we’re seeking in the new senior rabbi whom we hope will lead us far into the future.

Also, we’ve researched trends in the Reform movement and among Jews today to better understand the environment in which our temple will grow and evolve during the next senior rabbi’s tenure.

As chairs, we take very seriously the honor and weighty responsibility of chairing a rabbinic search for our congregation. We embrace the CCAR’s advice:

There is no more important work in the life of your congregation at this time than the search for your spiritual leader and its successful conclusion.

Q: Who is serving on the search committee?

A: Beth Israel’s bylaws specify that the president co-chairs the search and selects a co-chair and members of the Search Committee. The members were carefully chosen as individuals who represent the best interests of the entire congregation in this awesome and challenging responsibility.

As you’ll see, the Rabbinic Search Committee is composed of a cross section of the temple’s membership. Committee members are active, involved synagogue members who participate in a broad array of temple life. We strove for balance in gender and age. We sought certain professional expertise such as human resources management, therapy, and broad experience within the Reform movement. We followed the CCAR’s counsel to seek members who embody six important character traits from our ethical tradition: equanimity (maturity), organization, decisiveness, humility, calmness and silence.

Meet the Search Committee members. 

Q: How can I be involved in the search process?

A: Top rabbinic candidates will be invited to visit Beth Israel to meet clergy and staff and have in-person interviews with the search committee. Beth Israel members who wish to be involved in the Search may be on the Search Advisory Committee and will be invited to specific sessions and asked for feedback. The feedback will be an important part of the Search Committee’s evaluation process.

Once the new rabbi is elected, there will be additional opportunities to become involved in helping the new rabbi get established in our community and meet our members. Please let us know if you’d like to be involved.

Q: When will our new senior rabbi join Beth Israel?

A: If all goes according to plan, our new senior rabbi will join Beth Israel in July 2020.

Q: What are the steps in finding the new senior rabbi?

A: Our updated application will be posted on the CCAR’s search website so that eligible rabbis will know our search is open. Rabbis with eight or more years of rabbinic experience are eligible to apply to Beth Israel according to CCAR rules.

The CCAR will send us resumes of eligible and interested candidates. We will review resumes, and conduct video interviews with our strongest candidates. Then we will invite some candidates to visit Beth Israel for on-site interviews.

Visits to Beth Israel are opportunities for the committee to get to know the rabbis and for candidates to refine their level of interest in Beth Israel. We may also visit candidates’ current synagogues, and we will call references, and then deliberate on each candidate.

Q: How is the rabbi selected exactly?

A: After all the interviews and visits are over, the Search Committee will deliberate. When ready, the Committee will make a recommendation to Beth Israel’s Board. If it concurs with the Search Committee’s recommendation, the Board will vote to recommend a candidate to the Congregation.

The Committee Chairs will correspond with Beth Israel’s members about the recommended candidate and invite members to a Special Meeting at which the Board recommends a new senior rabbi to congregation for a vote of the membership. Most likely the rabbi will address the congregation at the Special Meeting.

And then members will vote by secret ballot. Election of a new senior rabbi requires the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members in good standing who are present.

Q: What happens next after the search concludes?

A: We will need the help of many members to welcome our new senior rabbi. The CCAR wisely counsels that a successful search is not complete until 18 months after the new rabbi assumes his or her position. We will offer lots of opportunities for members and the new rabbi to meet and get to know each other. We will help the rabbi and family get settled into our community. And we will assure a smooth transfer of information about our existing customs and practices.

Q: More questions?

A: Please let us know what questions you may have about the Rabbinic Search. We will endeavor to answer your questions and keep you informed throughout!