Dear Temple Beth El Family,
Our beloved Director of Education, Debi Rowe, recently informed us that she will not be renewing her contract as our Educator which expires June 30, 2018. Many of us can trace our histories with Debi to the late 1980s. Our children and even many of us adults have received much their formal Jewish education under her leadership. All have received an education that was thorough and well rounded, but more importantly, led by someone who clearly loved them and showed it constantly.
This letter is the first formal communication, with many to come, that serves to ensure open communication, transparency and thoughtfulness as we seek our new educational leader. We recognize that this is a time of great change within our community, which is unprecedented in our congregation’s recent history. Change of this nature affords us the opportunity to continue to step back, analyze where we are and set a course for the future of TBE. It is extremely important to the entire Temple leadership that our children and adults continue to receive the excellence in educational programming that is one of the many strengths of this congregation.
The work has already begun. We have been in contact with the Association of Reform Jewish Educators (ARJE) and the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) in response to Debi’s decision. The TBE Board of Directors has authorized the immediate initiation of a search for a new, settled Educator (not an interim). The position will be part-time and begins on July 1, 2018. The Educator search committee will be led by Linda Gren, VP of Education, in conjunction with the Board of Education. The methodology of the search will emulate the wonderful work being done within the Interim Rabbinic search committee enabling us to learn from our experiences and share resources. The process will consist of posting the open position with the ARJE placement office, screening applicants through a series of interviews and recommending the top 2 or 3 recommendations to the BOD for final interview and selection. There will be an opportunity for the congregation to meet the final candidates and provide feedback prior to the final selection.
We will be disseminating information via the weekly emails, Kol Beit El articles and at the monthly Pastries with the Presidents. We, along with Linda Gren, are always available to speak with you and welcome any comments and concerns that may come up over the next two months.
We will certainly miss Debi’s sense of humor, her ability to turn an ordinary activity into a sacred teaching moment, her boundless love of education and enthusiasm in sharing her knowledge with others. Debi’s attention to ethical and values-based education inspires us to be better people. We will miss hearing her infectious laugh in the hallways and miss seeing her and Alan at our events and gatherings.
With sadness and gratitude,
Gale Swartz and Eric Imley, TBE Co-Presidents