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Rabbi Search FAQ

Are we hiring a newly ordained rabbi?
According to the Rabbinical Assembly, based on our size, newly ordained rabbis will not be eligible to apply.  They recommend candidates who, at a minimum, are currently in their 2nd year and commencing their 3rd year of service when they assume the pulpit.
Based on this information, we are no longer using the terminology “new rabbi”. We will be using the term “our next rabbi” in all future correspondence and information.
What is the application I am hearing about to find our next rabbi?  
We complete an extensive application using the valuable information members provided via the focus groups and member surveys.  This application is submitted to the Rabbinical Assembly and serves as a detailed job posting containing information about Beth Israel, the Baltimore area, and what we are looking for in our next rabbi.  Those who are interested will forward their résumés to us through the Joint Placement Commission (JPC). The rabbi candidates have to pick us and apply before we can pick them to be our next spiritual leader.
Can we specify gender and age in our application for our next rabbi?
Hiring a rabbi is an employment search, so we cannot discriminate based on age or gender.  We are looking for the best candidate with skills for the position, and we are eager to consider all qualified candidates who we think will best meet the needs and wishes of our congregation
Will members of the congregation have a say in our final selection?
The congregation will be involved throughout the search process and will be given opportunities to provide feedback following interview weekends. According to our bylaws, a congregational vote is required to hire our next rabbi.

How do we select a next rabbi?
Beth Israel is a member of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), so we will conduct our search according to the rules of the Joint Placement Commission (JPC).  The Joint Commission is a partnership among USCJ, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and the Rabbinical Assembly (RA). This will give us access to highly qualified candidates with a strong commitment to Conservative Judaism, as well as to  USCJ’s experience and advice about how to conduct a successful search. We have an advisor from USCJ who will help guide us through the process. 

What does the process entail? 
We complete an extensive application that we submit to the Rabbinical Assembly, and the completed application is then posted on their placement list.  Those who are interested will forward their résumés to us through the Joint Placement Commission (JPC). We then arrange phone interviews followed by candidate visits (Currently, per JPC rules, all visits are virtual. Hopefully this will change). Following the visits, congregants will be asked for input and given the opportunity to vote on candidates. A selected candidate is presented to the board and, with approval, contract negotiations are initiated.  

Can I be involved with the selection/search process?
We certainly want you to be included! In order to complete the application, all members will have the opportunity to give their input via Focus Groups and Community Surveys. Your input is what makes up the application. The committee will incorporate your input when completing the application. When rabbi candidates visit for a weekend, you will be invited to attend services, lectures, and other small groups during which you can meet and talk with the candidates (like what we did for our cantor search). After each candidate visits, surveys will be sent to you to give your input.   The best candidate will be presented at a congregational meeting for your vote. In addition, you may email to ask questions, share input, or offer to volunteer to help. Co-Chairs David Braitmen and Heidi Hoffman are also happy to speak with you. 

What are we looking for in the next rabbi?
That is what we hope to learn from the focus groups and member surveys: what skills our congregation is looking for and finds important in a rabbi. Remember, it's not important that we find the perfect rabbi but rather the perfect rabbi for our synagogue community.

How will I know where we are in the process?
We will put information in the weekly Divrei emails, post updates on this website, and do additional mailings as needed. 

How long will it take to find the next rabbi?
See the timeline on this website for details. We plan to have our next rabbi in place by Summer 2022

Mon, January 24 2022 22 Shevat 5782