President’s Post – February 2018

A Time of Transition

Eric Imley & Gale Swartz, Co-Presidents

president@bethelsp.org

What is a Rabbinic Transition? What does that mean for us? What do we do now and how? Who are making the decisions? How does my voice be heard?

In the past weeks, there have been many efforts underway making plans for the work to find a new ‘Right for Us Rabbi’. We have been in contact with Rabbi Cindy Engar, Director of Rabbinic Placement for Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), and with Rabbi Jan Offel, URJ Office of Transition Support. We have been given processes, sample questions, learning and resource materials, and wise advice from this collaboration of the URJ and CCAR. We participated in the URJ Biennial Seminar on ‘Managing a Rabbinic Transition’ and have been added to a special cohort with other North American URJ synagogues.

In December, the TBE Board of Directors (BOD) approved to proceed with the interview and selection of an Interim Rabbi to serve for 1 year. This Interim Rabbi’s function is to help guide us through the transition while meeting our Rabbinic needs. The CCAR has special training for Interim Rabbis. We have appointed Past President Andy Kauffman as the Chair of TBE’s Rabbinic Transition Committee. Great care was taken to ensure a diverse group was representing our many constituencies. This 23-member committee began working officially on January 11, 2018. Prospective Rabbi résumés have already started to come in.

Community Conversations Committee, chaired by Past President Marc Kaiser, will explore the qualities or attributes we are looking for in our Interim and Settled Rabbis. There will be invitations coming out for all to participate in this important and sacred work. We will allow sufficient time for all to be heard and for the committee to understand the needs and wants of our entire Beth El family.

The Transition Committee will then recommend the candidate(s) for interview, selection and approval by the BOD. The congregation will be given an opportunity to make comments on the initial selection. We as your co-presidents, along with Andy Kauffman, are available by phone and email to answer any questions you may have. Inspirational author, C. Joybell C. writes, “the only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are uncovered. And the only way that we can become uncovered is if we throw ourselves out into the light. Do it. Throw yourself.” These are very exciting and challenging times for us as a congregation. Let us, together, do what is best for our beloved Temple and find our next Rabbi, who, along with Cantor Davidson, will be leading our spiritual community into the future.