From the Interim Rabbi Selection Committee – March 2018

Congregants Help Decide What We Want in Our Interim Rabbi

A series of nine Community Conversations, or group discussions, were held between January 25 and February 5 at TBE and in congregants’ homes that provided valuable input about congregants’ wants and needs in our Interim Rabbi. In total, 102 congregants of all ages (including teens) participated in the discussions that were facilitated by members of our Rabbi Transition Committee.

While most of the discussion focused on the Interim Rabbi role, input was also provided regarding our Settled Rabbi search, which we’ll begin once we’ve hired an Interim Rabbi. The information will help inform the interviews for our Interim Rabbi and our evaluation of their respective candidacies.

Among the many characteristics that congregants said they want from our Interim Rabbi, some of the most important mentioned were having a personality compatible with our culture (i.e., always welcoming, friendly and outgoing, warm, compassionate, caring, and authentic), being a stabilizing force during transition, inspiring us from the bimah, providing a strong spiritual lead, and unifying our community around Jewish morals and values.

With respect to our next Settled Rabbi, in addition to the characteristics mentioned above, some of the most important mentioned included skills at expanding membership (especially young families), being a strong advocate for excellence in Jewish education (youth and adult), being adaptable to different personalities, understanding temple finances and administration, and being involved in the broader South Bay and interfaith community.

Thanks to our hosts and all who participated. All congregants are welcome to reach out to our co-Presidents, Gale Swartz and Eric Imley, with other input that can improve our selection.