Dear Fellow Congregants,
It’s time to update you on the Rabbinic Search. We promised full transparency throughout this process. We will keep our membership updated on our efforts as well as provide opportunities for input and your involvement.  

The process began when Rabbi Nemitoff announced his retirement date. Part of the process included laying the groundwork for a successful transition with the search for an excellent second Rabbi. In January 2018, B’nai Jehudah submitted our application to the Central Conference of American Rabbis to fill the second Rabbi position. Through conversation and exploration, we determined that a second Rabbi, who would serve in transition rather than become a Senior Rabbi candidate at B’nai Jehudah, would be the best practice and in the best interest of our congregation.
We are so pleased with our choice, and Rabbi Smiley is fully on board with her leadership role in this transition. We value her experience and insights during this time and she, in turn, has a tremendous opportunity to gain consistent experience while playing a key role in helping to lead us through the year of transition. The transition year will be July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022. 

Our Rabbinic Task Force is now formed and comprises many engaged and informed individuals. They will reach out to get additional input. 
Search process updates and next steps: 

  • The Vision and Transition Task Force, under Tracey Litwin, is in the process of gathering congregational input, through a survey, focus groups and phone calls. This input is to help get a clear vision of the characteristics and qualities we are seeking in our next Senior Rabbi. All demographic groups will have the opportunity to provide feedback and have their opinions represented.  
  • Over the next several weeks, the Rabbinic Search Task Force (RSTF) will work in collaboration with the Vision Task Force to gather the input needed. Together, these groups will work to touch base with as many members of our congregation as possible.  
  • The RSTF has begun to meet and the congregation’s search for a new Senior Rabbi is officially underway. Like many things these days, the timeline for our search has been pushed back due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 
  • The RSTF is working with the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) to determine the best practices for how to move forward with our search. This includes finalizing a timeline for the search process and solidifying the norms and processes by which the search committee will operate and, ultimately, make a recommendation to the board.  
  • The committee hopes to have a finalized timeline set in the next two to three weeks.  

The survey is available by clicking here   or in the weekly e-News you receive each Friday. If you are not able to access the survey, please let us know so we can make other arrangements for you to participate. We want to make sure that this process is accessible to everyone. Our goal is to include every perspective in our congregation in the process and decisions of the search committee. Every survey response is being carefully read and we are reviewing all focus group input. That takes some time and a great deal of work. The feedback gathered from the congregation will be used throughout the search process, including constructing the job description for the ideal candidate. This feedback is very important to the group’s progress and they hope to have the opportunity to talk to many congregants.  

As we continue to meet (yes, virtually) we will keep you apprised of our progress. We are currently adding to the Rabbinic Search Corner on our website to keep you informed with all of the information that is available.

In the meantime, we urge you to take a few minutes and respond to the survey . In addition, please sign up for a focus group . You and your needs, concerns, desires matter!

The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah is a warm, caring, loving, innovative, creative, talented, spiritual congregation. We need to make sure we express in our application what we want and need in our new Rabbi. Please be a part of that information gathering.  

Most Sincerely,  
Jocelyn Fry
Zach Bassin  
Chair – Rabbinic Search Task Force 
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