FAQ’s for the Rabbinic Search
The Rabbinic Search Process
Why are we conducting a search for a new rabbi?
- Rabbi Glazier is officially retiring at the end of June 2018, after serving this congregation for more than 35 years. For the first six months of 2018, he will be taking his final sabbatical. Although details are still being worked out, we do not intend on hiring a replacement for him while he is on sabbatical and will likely hold lay-led services, as we’ve done during the Rabbi’s prior sabbaticals.
What is the search process?
- A Rabbinic Search Steering Committee has been appointed by the Board to oversee the entire process and to act as the liaison with the various subcommittees. There are four subcommittees: Survey and Assessment, Search, Hospitality, and Contract.
- Survey and Assessment: This group is tasked with the role of reaching out to each congregant through a variety of methods including interviews, surveys, and focus groups. Additionally, they will do outreach to past congregants and those who are not currently affiliated as a way to broaden the base of interested people. The information they gather will determine what skills and characteristics the congregation deems as being most important in our next rabbi.
- Search: Based on information gathered by the Survey and Assessment Subcommittee, this group, in concert with the Steering Committee, will weight each item and begin the actual application process. They will submit an application for a Rabbi to the Rabbinic Placement Commission (RPC). Once we receive applications, this group will screen the applicants and begin the interviewing process. They will review the applicants’ resumes, select those that seem to match our requirements, and begin the process of phone, Skype congregational (at the Rabbi’s current place of employment, where appropriate), and personal interviews (with subcommittee members and then with our congregants). This group will ultimately make a recommendation to the Steering Committee on their selection choice.
- Hospitality: The Hospitality Subcommittee is responsible for the logistics involved when the two or three final candidates actually come to Vermont for a visit. They will work closely with the Search Subcommittee to arrange for the candidates’ travel and lodging as well as to set up meetings between the candidates and the various congregational groups they need to meet.
- Contract: This subcommittee will work on developing a contract offer for the new rabbinic candidate. They will work closely with the Board, Finance/Legal and Personnel committees to ensure that we are making an appropriate and realistic offer to the candidate of our choice.
How were subcommittee members chosen?
- We sent out a request right after the High Holidays to all congregants to let us know of their subcommittee interest. We received many responses and were, in fact, able to accommodate most of the respondents with their first- or second-choices. We did invite a few extra people to ensure greater diversity (e.g., members with pre-school children, members with older children in the Religious School, retired members, empty nesters, etc.) on the subcommittees. At this time, we have populated the Survey and Assessment and Search subcommittees and are working on assigning members for the other two subcommittees.
Who are on the various committees?
- An up-to-date list of all Search Steering Committee and Subcommittee members may be found at the following link.
What characteristics and skills are we looking for in a new rabbi?
- At this point, it is too early to tell. This is precisely the question that the Survey and Assessment Subcommittee will seek to answer as they begin their work.
What type of input can I have into the search process?
- In order for this process to be successful and representative of the many groups that make up Temple Sinai and the local Jewish Community, it is imperative that everyone participate in the activities of the Survey and Assessment subcommittee. These will include surveys, focus groups and interviews, and we strongly encourage you to attend and respond to any and all calls for input. If for some reason, you have missed these events, you can always contact a member of this subcommittee, but we cannot stress enough the value of attending a group event. Sometimes hearing other people’s ideas causes you to think of something that you might otherwise have missed. We believe that just getting together and talking about what you value in a new rabbi will be an incredibly powerful experience that will benefit our entire congregation in the years to come.
What is the anticipated timeline for the search?
The work has already begun. Below is a general outline of some key points in time relevant to the Rabbinic Search. These are subject to change as new developments arise in the process. For a more detailed review, go to the following link.
- January – May 2017: The Survey and Assessment Subcommittee does most of its information gathering and analysis.
- May 2017: After the Survey and Assessment Subcommittee completes its work, the Steering Committee makes a recommendation to the Board about whether we should opt for a Permanent or Interim rabbi. The Search Subcommittee begins work on our application to the RPC.
- April 2017: Contract and Hospitality Subcommittees are configured and charged.
- April – September 2017: Contract Subcommittee works with Temple Personnel and Finance Committees to draft a contract for the new rabbi, to be submitted to the Steering Committee.
- September 2017: Search Subcommittee submits an application to the RPC.
- October –December 2017: Search Subcommittee screens applicants and recommends finalists to interview.
- January-February 2018: Rabbinic finalists visit Temple Sinai.
- February 2018: Search Subcommittee makes recommendation to the Search Steering Committee for review.
- March 2018: Search Steering Committee forwards hiring recommendations to the Board.
- March – April 2018: Board decides on an offer and the President negotiates with the finalist.
- April 2018: Congregation meets to approve hire.
- July 2018: New Rabbi begins.
May I personally recommend a person for the position of Rabbi?
- Right now we have committed to a process which works through the RPC, which was formed in 1964 by the URJ (Union for Reform Judaism), the CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis), and the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion. The Search Steering Committee opted for this choice because we are dues paying members of the URJ and this is a way to make good use of the myriad of services they can provide us to assist in the Rabbinic Search process. When we get names from them, we know the applicants have appropriate training and have been preliminarily vetted. Because of this choice, at this time we are only looking at candidates who have come through this process. However, should this not yield a viable candidate, we would definitely broaden our options and look to some of the suggestions we have had for various candidates.
Will the congregation have a chance to meet the candidates before a final decision is made?
- Absolutely. Each final candidate will be scheduled to visit and spend time at Temple Sinai, and meet with various groups. There will be numerous opportunities to meet and interact with all of the final candidates.
Who will make the final selection of the new rabbi?
- After gathering input during the search process from all involved congregants, the Search Subcommittee will make its recommendation to the Search Steering Committee who will forward the information to the Board. They will make the final decision, which will then be voted on by the congregation.
What type of communication can we expect to receive during the search process?
- There are links to “Rabbinic Search” on the Temple website and also in the Weekly Newsletter. This site will be updated as we receive new information from the various subcommittees. Documents from the kickoff meeting and communication from the various committees and subcommittees may also be found there.
- It is important to note that, in accordance with the RPC rules, we are not able to reveal the identity or current location of applicants for the Rabbi position. This confidentiality allows the candidates to preserve their current congregational relationships.
What is the role of an Interim Rabbi?
- If, at the end of their analysis, the Survey and Assessment Subcommittee finds that the Congregation is really divided in terms of the vision for the Temple or the desired characteristics and skills that we want in a new Rabbi, they may make a recommendation that we choose an Interim Rabbi for a year, and the Search Steering Committee and Board may concur. Interim Rabbis are specially trained to help a congregation clarify its goals and objectives for a permanent Rabbi, while performing the rabbinic duties for the Temple. Since Interim Rabbis are not eligible to become permanent Rabbis, they are in a unique position to work with the congregational leadership to help the congregation prepare for the next spiritual leader.
What will Rabbi Glazier’s role be at Temple Sinai once he has retired?
- This is one of the questions that will be addressed by Rabbi Glazier and the Contract Subcommittee. Often, retired rabbis are given the title of Rabbi Emeritus - the specifics of what this entails would need to be worked out through discussions with the aforementioned parties.
What if I have additional questions about the Search?
- Contact the Search Steering Committee! You can email us directly at: RabbiSearch@templesinaivt.org
Questions are always welcome and, as we receive them, we will update this FAQ to further clarify things as they come up!
Last updated: January 30, 2017
January 13, 2017
Dear Fellow Congregants,
We are writing to update you on the work of the Survey and Assessment Subcommittee which is part of the Rabbinic Search process. We want to engage your thinking! Our committee is chartered to gather necessary information, data, and opinions to inform the Rabbinic Search Steering Committee regarding the rabbinic search process for Temple Sinai. Our members include: Paula Cope, Kim Dauerman, David Geddes, Mark Leopold, Jan Orlansky, David Punia, Jeff Solomon, Evan Stein, and Marti Sterin. Supporting us are Joel Goldberg and Shelli Goldsweig; they provide guidance, resources, and assistance, and act as liaisons to the Rabbinic Search Steering Committee (on which they both sit).
Our responsibilities are fairly clear and yet somewhat complex. You could think of us as the hunters and gatherers for important information upon which all future decisions made by the Rabbinic Search Steering Committee will rest. Our responsibilities include:
- Understanding the search process.
- Articulating the research-based and data-based questions required for the rabbinic search.
- Developing a research and data collection plan to address those questions.
- Building engagement and inclusion into the process, so that all stakeholders are heard and feel that they have been heard.
- Using professional tools and methods to collect data and information from all appropriate groups and individuals.
- Using Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) tools and information as needed in our process.
- Analyzing information and data accurately and thoroughly.
- Sticking to our timeline.
- Reporting to the Rabbinic Search Steering Committee.
Our time-frame is also critical. We began meeting in December, will collect the bulk of our data between January and March, and will present our analysis and findings to the Search Steering Committee in early May.
One of our most important tasks in this process is to give voice to our congregation and others. We have created a number of “on ramps” for congregants to participate, and are striving for 100% participation in this process. We also want to be transparent in what we do and how we do it so everyone feels included, heard, and knows exactly how our findings help inform decisions.
We have divided our committee into four groups according to our methods of exploration: survey, focus groups, and interviews. Based on our skills, expertise, and preferences, we created the following subgroups:
- Surveys: Jeff Solomon, David Geddes, David Punia, and Evan Stein will develop, send, and analyze the survey. Evan Stein will handle Survey Monkey (a leading online survey software tool) and coordinate with Michael Levine. All congregants will have an opportunity to participate in a survey, and we are really hoping for 100% participation.
- Interviews: Paula Cope and Marti Sterin will lead the interview subgroup. We plan to solicit temple leadership (e.g., past temple Presidents) to assist us with interviews of community leaders, other rabbis, some unaffiliated people, and select temple families.
- Focus Groups: Jan Orlansky and David Geddes are heading up the focus groups. For those unfamiliar with focus groups, they are facilitated discussions that ask predetermined questions of small groups of people. Jan and David are planning 9 focus groups with different themes, hoping to gain a variety of perspectives.
- Information and Research: Mark Leopold and David Punia are collecting and reviewing other information from the URJ (Union for Reform Judaism) and other congregations that are relevant to our search process.
In addition, Marti Sterin has agreed to be our coordinator and will work with each subgroup and Michael Levine to ensure everything goes smoothly.
We will be using tried and true research methods to complete this work, and will spend considerable time really listening to the congregation and eliminating bias whenever possible. We will also be weighting the feedback to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to be heard. As an example, we have discussed having each adult congregant within a household answer their own survey in case their opinions differ. However, if a couple chooses to submit one survey on behalf of both people, it may count as two surveys. These are the kinds of ideas we are considering to ensure a fair and open process.
Over the next few weeks, you will be getting more information about the survey and focus groups. We hope you will find the time to participate in this very important process. It is our honor to be asked to serve the congregation in this critical set of tasks. We look forward to your responses and are happy to answer any questions.
The Rabbinic Search Survey & Assessment Subcommittee
(Paula Cope, Chair; Kim Dauerman; David Geddes; Mark Leopold; Jan Orlansky; David Punia; Jeff Solomon; Evan Stein; & Marti Sterin), and
Joel Goldberg & Shelli Goldsweig (liaisons from the Rabbinic Search Steering Committee)
December 4, 2016
Report of the Rabbinic Search Steering Committee
Based on research conducted by three Temple Sinai Board members, the Board decided in early 2016 to appoint a Steering Committee (SC) to provide the overall direction for the search to replace Rabbi Glazier, who is retiring in June 2018 after more than 35 years of service as our Rabbi. Steve Greenfield was asked to chair the SC and the following Temple members were asked to serve on it: Shelli Goldsweig, Susan Zimmerman and Bob Issenberg. Temple Immediate Past President Joel Goldberg is also an SC member, and Temple President Dave Collins is an ex-officio member.
Over the summer the SC met to develop and refine the general plan and timetable for the search effort. That plan was presented to the congregation at a special congregational meeting on September 25, 2016 and was endorsed by the members present.
The search work will be carried out by four subcommittees: Survey and Assessment; Search; Hospitality and Contract. Congregants interested in participating in the search in some fashion were asked to complete an online form so that the SC could review their specific interests and talents and ask them to serve on the subcommittee that seemed well suited to their interests/skills, or to otherwise participate.
Given the schedule for the search, the SC has concentrated on selecting the Survey and Assessment and Search chairs and subcommittee members. That process has been completed. Paula Cope has agreed to chair Survey and Assessment and has nine subcommittee members. That subcommittee will solicit input from a variety of sources concerning issues such as Temple’s strengths and weaknesses, its future direction, and priorities for our new Rabbi. Its work will be done in the December 2016-March/April 2017 timeframe.
Jeff Loiter will chair the Search subcommittee; Search has 14 members plus Jeff. Search will take the work of Survey and Assessment and develop a rubric to weight the priorities they identified, submit an application for either a permanent or interim Rabbi as the Board determines, screen and interview candidates and recommend to the SC the top choice(s). Its work will be done in the April/May 2017-February 2018 period.
The Hospitality subcommittee will support the work of Search; the Contract subcommittee will draft a contract for the new Rabbi. These subcommittees will be constituted in 2017. Members of the SC will serve as liaisons to all of the subcommittees. Updates on the search process will be posted to Temple’s website at the Rabbinic Search tab.
Submitted by Steve Greenfield, SC Chair
September 25, 2016
Rabbinic Search Kicks Off
Temple’s search to find a new Rabbi to replace Rabbi Glazier who retires in June 2018 kicked off formally on Sunday September 25, 2016 with a congregational meeting conducted by Temple President Joel Goldberg and the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is charged by the Temple Board with the overall responsibility to organize and direct the search process.
The search process and timeline was explained to an attentive audience who asked good questions and made helpful suggestions. Several indicated interest in joining one of the four subcommittees which will conduct various phases of the search.
We encourage congregants interested in participating in the search process to complete the online form indicating their interest in a particular element of the search, and outlining their relevant talents and skills. The timeline Powerpoint presented at the meeting for the search and the form indicating interest are on this tab. Please participate in whatever way you can; we want the broadest possible participation from our members.
The Steering Committee will be working over the next few months to select subcommittee members and charge them to begin work on their special areas. The Steering Committee very much wishes to have congregants with diverse backgrounds and talents on the subcommittees.
This is indeed an exciting time for Temple as we look to the future and find a new spiritual leader who can reflect and help shape our direction and priorities.
If you have questions about the process or would like clarification, please contact the Search Committee at RabbiSearch@templesinaivt.org.
Survey/Assessment - will solicit input from a variety of sources (Congregation members, former members, unaffiliated Jews, broader Jewish community) concerning the future direction of Temple Sinai, its strengths and weaknesses, priorities for a new Rabbi, etc. Among the tools the subcommittee may decide to use are general surveys, focus groups, house gatherings and broader informational meetings, and others as they deem appropriate.
Search - will use the information provided by the Survey/Assessment subcommittee to develop a rubric weighting the various factors that are deemed Congregational priorities. It will be responsible for completing the Rabbinic Search application materials, screening the candidate applications received, arranging for the leading candidates to visit the Congregation and area, and identifying the activities they will engage in during their visit. Lastly, this subcommittee will be responsible for assessing the suitability of the finalists (based on input from all sources) and to recommend the top candidate(s) to be considered for hire.
Hospitality - will work closely with the Search subcommittee to arrange and schedule candidate visits, handle visit logistics, arrange for hosts, etc.
Contract - will develop the proposed terms of the new employment contract in conjunction with the Temple's finance officers and Personnel Committee. The Temple President will conduct the contract negotiations with the candidate selected by the Board based on the Search subcommittee's recommendations.
- If you are able, please attend the search Kickoff Meeting on the 25th!
- Give your feedback on the proposed process and indicate either which of the subcommittees you might be interested in serving on (as well as what expertise you may have that you can bring to those subcommittees) or how else you would be interested in participating in the search process.