Rabbinical Search - FAQ'S

 

What do the Congregation Beth Adam bylaws say about a Rabbinical Search Committee?

The bylaws state:

The Board of Trustees shall constitute, at the appropriate time, a Rabbinical Search Committee to determine, with input of members of the Congregation, the needs and desires of the Congregation and to select candidate(s) for Rabbi Chief Executive (RCE) for the congregation. The RCE must be an ordained rabbi. A vote of three quarters (3/4) of the Board is required for submission to the Congregation. Upon the selection of a potential candidate by the Board of Trustees, they shall then submit said name to the Members for ratification of said selection; this to be by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the Members at a Special Members’ Meeting. The Board of Trustees shall have the sole authority to appoint a person(s) to negotiate a contract with said candidate, with said contractual issues set by the Board.

How does the search for a new Rabbi Chief Executive work?

In accordance with the above stated bylaws, the Board of Trustees constituted a Rabbinical Search Committee and with guidance from the Personnel Committee has created a charter (link to charter) to guide this important work. In accordance with this Charter, the Board charges the Rabbinical Search Committee to select a candidate for the position of Rabbi Chief Executive (RCE) to present to the Board for approval. Once the Board approves, the congregation will be asked to ratify the selection. The RCE candidate must be dedicated to upholding the bylaws and the Mission, Vision, and Values of Beth Adam.

Who is on the Rabbinical Search Committee (RSC)?

The Chair of the RSC is Maureen Marks and according to the RSC Charter, Maureen will select committee members, who constitute an adequate sampling of Beth Adam members in good standing, whom she feels have the necessary skills needed for this task. The Committee shall consist of no fewer than 7 and no more than 11 members including the Chair, the president of the Board, and another member of the Board. The Chair has authority to organize the Search Committee as needed.

How is the RSC organized?

The RSC will oversee the entire process and be responsible for interviewing, selecting, and recommending the final candidate. The RSC is organized into three Work Teams, each with two leaders and specific responsibilities plus other members as indicated below:

  • Maureen Marks, RSC Chair
  • Marcie Rosenston, Board President
  • Carolyn Gilbert and Jen Rockwern, RSC Engagement Team Leaders
  • Rachel Faust and Ken Weiss, RSC Recruitment and Selection Leaders
  • Alan Brown and Kip Hatcher, RSC Transition Team Leaders
  • Paul Korn, Board member and Liaison to Past President’s Council
  • Three Members to be appointed by Chair to complement and complete the committee
  • Up to two additional members may be appointed by the Chair to complement and complete the committee as needed.

What does the Engagement Team do and who is leading it?

Jen Rockwern and Carolyn Gilbert are co-leads of the Engagement Team.  As co-leads, they are voting members of the RSC. Congregational members who participate as team members support the RSC but are not part of the RSC. The Engagement Team co-leads will design a comprehensive consultative process that engages Beth Adam Congregants, Beth Adam staff, and consequential affiliated Jewish communities, in the search for the next RCE. The team members under the guidance of the co-leads will be responsible for executing the process for gathering input from relevant stakeholders. This process is intended to inform the RSC of desires, needs, hopes, fears, concerns, and vision related to having a new RCE lead Congregation Beth Adam. This team will also use this process to provide information and education to relevant stakeholders as appropriate to help these various groups and individuals feel comfortable and included in the search for a new RCE. This is the primary avenue for congregational members and other stakeholders to provide feedback on and learn about the process.

What do the Recruitment and Selection co-leads do?

Rachel Faust and Ken Weiss as Recruitment and Selection co-leads will work closely with our professional consultant to design a fair and equitable process that the RSC will utilize to identify an appropriate candidate to recommend to the Board for appointment as RCE. As co-leads, they are voting members of the RSC. They will create the application, design and execute the recruitment process, as well as recommend the interview questions, tracking and evaluation tools. Rachel and Ken, along with the full RSC and professional consultant will ensure that congregational members have opportunities through the interview process to meet and experience the candidates. The Engagement Team co-leads will work with the Recruitment and Selection co-leads to design a process to gather feedback from congregational members as part of the interview process.

What does the Cultural Transition Team do?

This team is led by Alan Brown and Kip Hatcher. As co-leads, they are voting members of the RSC.  Congregational members who participate on the Cultural Transition Team support the RSC but are not part of the committee. They will design and implement a roadmap for the new RCE to be welcomed within the congregational family. Onboarding regarding the duties and responsibilities of the RCE will be the purview of the Personnel Committee which is a standing committee of the Board of Trustees.  In addition, the Cultural Transition Team will plan and implement the process for honoring and celebrating Rabbi Robert Barr, our retiring RCE.

Who is on the President’s Council and what do they do?

The President’s Council is open to all past-presidents of Beth Adam and functions as advisors to the RSC. Paul Korn is the representative of this council on the RSC and acts as the voice for this group, and is a voting member.

What will Rabbi Barr be doing?

Rabbi Barr explained what he will be doing in a letter to the congregation in October 2022: Having served as Beth Adam’s Rabbi Chief Executive for 43 years, it probably come as no surprise that it’s time for me to retire. I’ve informed the Board of Beth Adam that I will officially be stepping down on June 30, 2025, just shy of my 70th birthday. I’m informing the entire congregation now because I want to ensure that there is sufficient time for our community to engage in the necessary process of engaging a new rabbi to take on the role of RCE. My rabbinic life and the life of my family has been intertwined in the life of the congregation. Now after more than four decades it is time for this part of my career to draw to a close. I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my life, though I’m not exactly sure how I will spend my time. And while I’ll no longer be RCE, I will always be committed to Beth Adam and its continued success.   

 

What is Rabbi Barr’s role in the search process?

While the board and the RSC will be working to find a new RCE, Rabbi Barr will keep the regular activities of the congregation alive. He looks forward to a productive two plus years between now and this important transition in the history of Beth Adam. He will continue to serve the congregation during this time with the same commitment and energy he has during these past 40+ years. His goal has been and will continue to be the success of this remarkable community. Rabbi Barr will be available to the RSC as needed but is not a member of the committee.

What are Rabbi Burstein’s and Melissa Weiss’ roles in the search process?

Rabbi David Burstein will continue to be our Rabbi/Educator and has informed the Board and the RSC that he loves his job and this congregation, and will not be applying for the RCE position. Rabbi Burstein is available to the RSC to consult as needed but is not a member of the committee. Melissa Weiss, Executive Director, will represent the voice of Beth Adam’s staff on the RSC but is not a voting member.

How long will the search process take?

The search process will take as long as it needs up to two years to ensure we select the right next RCE for our congregation. The timeframe is as follows:

  • October 2022: Announce Rabbi Barr’s retirement and launch the process to the whole congregation.
  • November-December 2022: RSC membership is completed and Work Teams begin their planning.
  • January – March 2023: Engagement Team engages the congregation in a variety of ways to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.
  • April – May 2023: Recruitment and Selection Team develops the RCE posting to reflect the needs and wishes of the congregation.
  • Late Summer 2023: The listing for the new RCE is posted in a variety of places to ensure maximum visibility and accessibility to any rabbi potentially interested in this position.
  • Fall 2023: Conduct first round phone and Zoom interviews.
  • Winter 2023/2024: Invite finalists for an in-person 2-day interview process in Cincinnati in which the RSC would conduct formal interviews, and the entire congregation would have opportunities to meet the final candidates.

What are the ordination requirements for a new RCE?

The new RCE will be required to have ordination from an accredited rabbinical seminary following completion of a multi-year program of rabbinic study. We will consider candidates who have ordination from these seminaries and will consider candidates with alternative ordination on a one-to-one basis.

  • Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion | Reform
  • Jewish Theological Seminary | Conservative
  • Reconstructionist Rabbinical College | Reconstructionist
  • Hebrew College | Hebrew College is a vibrant graduate school dedicated to promoting deep Jewish learning and inspired leadership within a pluralistic environment of open inquiry, intellectual rigor, personal engagement and spiritual creativity. We are training Jewish leaders, professionals and lifelong learners for a world in need of healing and hope.
  • Academy for Jewish Religion: Since its founding in 1956 as a rabbinical school, the Academy for Jewish Religion has been at the forefront of pluralistic rabbinic and cantorial training.

When would the new RCE begin?

We will have a new RCE by the time of Rabbi Barr’s official retirement in June 2025.

How might the congregation’s experience at Beth Adam change with a new RCE?

We are looking for a rabbi who will be aligned with Beth Adam’s mission, vision, and values.  We are committed to our humanistic philosophy and will be looking for a rabbi who embraces this as well.  We can never replace Rabbi Barr.  A new rabbi will inevitably be different in some ways.  However, as a congregation, we are the holders of our past, our present, and our future. It is up to us to make this a healthy, positive, community-building experience.

How will the congregation continue to be informed and involved throughout the process?

We will send updates regularly.  There is an informational page on the website at bethadam.org that will include up-to-date information, RSC membership, progress, and upcoming activities. The best way to be involved is to participate early on in the Engagement Team’s events and processes.  Throughout the interviewing process, there will be opportunities for congregants to experience the finalists and to provide feedback through a structured process to the RSC.  As we honor Rabbi Barr and welcome a new RCE, the Cultural Transition Team will host a number of events and celebrations in which we hope all will participate. 

Who do we contact if we have a question or information to share?

The RSC has established a dedicated email for search related questions and information: rabbinicalsearchcommittee@bethadam.org.