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April 5, 2023
A special congregational meeting, called by Beth Israel President Scott Gensler, was held last night on April 4. 2023. The Board of Trustees recommended the hiring of Rabbi Rachel Safman and the congregation voted in favor of this recommendation with 99% of those in attendance voting in the affirmative. 

March 28, 2023
Our second candidate for the Senior Rabbi position at Beth Israel is Rabbi Rachel Safman. She will visit Beth Israel the weekend of March 31 to April 2. 

Rabbi Safman was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies (American Jewish University) in Los Angeles, and joined the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly in 2013. Rabbi Safman served Beth El Congregation in New London, Connecticut for seven years, and Temple Beth-El in Ithaca, New York for the last three years.

A native of Gaithersburg, Maryland, Rabbi Safman first trained for a career in academia, studying at Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Cornell. She wrote her dissertation on the AIDS epidemic in Northern Thailand and after graduation joined the faculty of the National University of Singapore. During her years in Singapore, Rabbi Safman served as the president of the city-state’s progressive Jewish community, the United Hebrew Congregation; was an active participant in the ritual life of Singapore’s Baghdadi Orthodox community; and co-founded Gesher, a Jewish community forum that hosted eminent guest speakers. 

March 7, 2023
We are happy to report that Rabbi Shelley Goldman will be visiting our congregation during the weekend of March 24 - 26.
While we are still finalizing the details of her visit, please be sure to save the dates as we are planning many opportunities for you to meet her throughout the weekend. 
Rabbi Goldman comes to us from Congregation Kesher Israel in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Prior to that, she served as Interim Rabbi at Congregation Dor Hadash in Pittsburgh, PA and Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis, Indiana. Some of Rabbi Goldman's other experiences include hospital chaplaincy, religious school education, leadership with Jewish summer camps, and involvement with various human rights and community action programs. 
She is very excited to visit us and learn more about our community. We strongly encourage you to introduce yourself and get to know her when she visits.
Please be on the lookout for further emails and updates in the Divrei regarding events for that weekend. 

March 3, 2023
We are happy to announce that we are receiving more resumes and conducting preliminary interviews with rabbi candidates. We hope to be sharing information about upcoming rabbi visits in the near future. As we proceed, we wanted to review how this process works, what our bylaws outline as the procedure for hiring a Senior Rabbi, and what roles the Board and congregational members each have. The steps are outlined below. Please remember, the decision to hire a senior rabbi is made by the membership, not by the Board of Trustees. You, our members, play an important role in this process. If you have any questions or would like a copy of the bylaws please email

Senior Rabbi Hiring Process per Bylaws
1. The Rabbi Search Committee receives resumes from rabbi candidates and selects the best candidates to interview.
2. The most qualified candidates who meet the needs of our congregation are invited to visit Beth Israel to conduct services and meet the congregation. 
3. The members of the congregation provide input about the candidate through in-person feedback and by completing a survey provided to all members.
4. The Board of Trustees reviews the feedback and survey results and determines whether to recommend the candidate to the congregation.
5. If the Board votes to proceed with the candidate, the President, on behalf of the Board, presents the recommendation to the congregation during a special congregational meeting. The President is responsible for calling this special meeting and must send notification of the meeting to the congregation at least 14 days prior to the meeting. 
6. During this meeting, members in good standing vote. An affirmative vote of the majority of members present is required to hire the candidate.
7. If the vote is in favor of hiring the rabbi, an offer is extended by the President. If the candidate accepts the offer, contract negotiations then begin. 

February 15,  2023
While we are disappointed about our recent rabbi candidate visit cancellation, our rabbi search is far from over!

There are many good opportunities remaining to find our next rabbi. We have been informed that several United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) synagogues are making offers to their first-choice rabbi candidates this week, which means that other rabbis who had hoped to receive offers from those synagogues will be looking again.

Also, we received a waiver from the Rabbinical Assembly (RA) to consider rabbi candidates who are not currently members of the RA. This means that while we are now able to broaden our search to include candidates who are not affiliated with the association of Conservative rabbis, we will review/interview all rabbis with the same considerations we have been using with rabbis who are members of the RA. Ultimately, any candidate we choose will need to align with our values and traditions as a Conservative synagogue. We have already reached out to several other rabbinic placement offices and shared our application, and we have been well-received. Beth Israel and the Baltimore Jewish community are attractive options to rabbis who serve USCJ synagogues. 

We will send updates as we get candidates from these organizations. Thank you for your support. Please send any questions to

The Rabbi Search Committee is continuing the search! 

November 2022

We have updated and submitted our application to the Rabbinical Assembly, and it has been received. We await responses from potential candidates and plan to schedule interviews. We look forward to candidate visits and will invite congregational feedback.

You, as members of our congregation, are an important part of the process. Please stay tuned, and feel free to email us any time.

Next Rabbi Search Update

The Rabbi Search Committee is regrouping and diving back into the application and search process. One of the roles of the transitional rabbi is to advise us as we search for our next rabbi. With Rabbi Ezring's guidance, the Committee is updating and tweaking our application. We will submit it to the Rabbinical Assembly during Sukkot. After that, we will schedule interviews and candidate visits, invite congregational feedback, and cast our votes for our next rabbi! We will include a timeline for the Rabbi Search process in the near future.

Although every congregant is not on the Rabbi Search Committee, every member is an important part of the process. You may email the Committee any time.

Co-Chairs, Rabbi Search Steering Committee
David Braitman
Heidi B. Hoffman
Candidate Application Team
Harry Baumohl
Randi Buergenthal

Communications Team
Diane Gensler
Hedy Rosman
Engagement/Focus Group Planning Team
Beth Hecht
Betsy Berner
Interview Team
John Buergenthal
Randall Singer

 Logistics Team
Toni Greenberg
Membership Survey Team
Rick Frankle
Iris Ingber
Saundra Madoff
Scott Gensler
Aliza Rothenberg

Wed, May 31 2023 11 Sivan 5783