On behalf of the Governing Committee we are providing an update on the status of the Rabbi search process. To date, the Committee has received seven resumes. Each resume was reviewed and discussed by the Committee. Upon review by the Committee three resumes were rejected due to the candidate not meeting the minimum requirements for the position. Initial Zoom screening was done by Jay, Sheri and Logan on four candidates and two were passed along for full review by the Governing Committee. The other two were rejected after Zoom screening. As a reminder, the Governing Committee is made up of 13 members of B’nai Tikvah.
The final two candidates had follow up Zoom screening interviews with the entire Governing Committee. Each interview took over 2 ½ hours. The candidates demonstrated substantial knowledge, insight and professionalism in the way they responded to our questions. The Search Committee will be meeting this Sunday, November 29 and pending that discussion, we will advise the Congregation as to how we are proceeding. All interviews and “meetings” will be via Zoom due to the travel restrictions imposed by the Rabbinical Assembly because of the Corona-19 virus.
Questions used in the interview process were developed based on feedback received from many members of the congregation. Here are the themes that were highlighted:
Leader & Leadership
Warm and Engaging
Teacher Leads services that are spiritually and intellectually thoughtful
Attention to congregants
Able to skillfully balance tradition and change
Accepting & relatable
Excited to know and work with children
Involvement with community
Willingness to build community and membership
Again, a general discussion is planned with the entire Rabbi Search Committee this coming Sunday. Based upon that discussion and feedback we hope to be able to move forward to the next steps. You will be kept informed of the progress along the way.
As always, please direct any questions or inquiries to the Rabbi Search email
Now that the Jewish Holidays are behind us, we are again in full active mode. The Rabbinical Association questionnaire has been completed and was submitted last Tuesday, Oct. 13. As of this date we have received three resumes for our open Rabbi position. We are early in the process and we can expect the volume of applications to pick up in the coming weeks. Many Rabbis are just now coming out from under the demands of the holidays and turning to think about potential new jobs. Part of the process for Rabbis seeking new positions is to inform their current congregation that they are seeking new employment. This allows their current synagogue to make arrangements should the Rabbi find another position.
The application allows prospective candidates to get a good feel for our synagogue, its culture and goals, growth history, financial status, cost of living in the area, schools (Jewish and public), Kosher restaurants, and many other areas of interest needed when making this type of decision. We had numerous internal groups looking at and providing input to the responses. The final document was synthesized by Josh Charlson and Marc Bassewitz. It contained all the information and supporting pictures to highlight the benefits that B’nai Tikvah offers. A hearty Yasher Koach to Josh and Marc as well as the members of the Strategic Planning Committee.
This final document was then shared with the Governing Committee for final review and submission. The passive process is one of waiting for Rabbis to apply. Another part of seeking a new Rabbi is for members who know a well qualified Rabbi to approach them to see if they have any interest. Knowing and having a relationship with a dynamic Rabbi can help move the process along.
We will continue to provide updates. Remember the website to submit questions is still active. Rabbisearchcommittee@bnaitikvah.net
As we prepare for the High Holidays, the RSC has been busy gathering information to complete the application. It is the intent to have the application completed, reviewed and ready to submit shortly after the holiday season. The Strategic Planning Committee has done a terrific job in gathering pertinent information to answer the many required questions. Part of that process is to provide information about B’nai Tikvah so the prospective candidates have an appreciation for us. We want to put the best foot forward to feature the benefits of BT and what we can offer to the Rabbi. Incidentally, living near Chicago with access to kosher food, Jewish day schools, and a vibrant Jewish community is a very positive draw for many Rabbis coming from smaller communities.
There are well over 40 main questions along with subsets of questions that require careful thought and answers. Marc Bassewitz and his Strategic Planning Committee team have compiled much information that is in the process of being entered into one master document that Josh Charlson is editing. As soon as that is completed the Governing Committee will undertake a final review. Once it is sent off, prospective candidates will have access to our document and can begin showing their interest in BT by sending in their resumes. As we begin to gather these, an initial review will take place to determine next steps.
Rabbi David has provided good insight into the search process and highlights some of the areas in the questionnaire that prospective rabbis will look at first. He has also offered to assist in our resume reviews as well as providing insight on crafting appropriate questions for us to ask. We are getting excited to begin fielding our initial candidate submissions. Everyone has been pulling together to ensure this process is of the highest standard possible.
The email address for congregants to ask questions and provide their input remains open. As a reminder it is firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be celebrating Rosh Hashana towards the end of this week. Due to the holidays these next few weeks, the committees will not be holding formal meetings until after Yom Kippur.
L’Shana Tovah to one and all.
There was a joint committee meeting this past week with the Governing and Strategic Planning Committees. This was to allow both groups access to participate in discussions with Felicia Lev and Ariana Hershon. The information provided was both informative and useful as we continue to determine what B’nai Tikvah is and want to be as well as what we expect of our new Rabbi.
There were discussions on the school and how the parents and students are managing with the coronavirus pandemic. Managing to arrange High Holiday services and keeping the process moving forward with all hands on deck working together. There was a discussion about the role of the rabbi as it relates to overseeing BT. Job descriptions and structure will be an on-going process. This completed our interviews with the senior staff and clergy.
The last Town Hall meeting took place with Ritual as the topic. It had over 76 people on the zoom meeting site. The discussion and questions asked showed how deeply the congregants feel about specific areas of Jewish Law and Customs. Also discussed were interfaith marriages, Torah reading and expectations of B’nai Mitzvahs. The discussion put the spotlight on what questions should be considered as part of the interview process. It is worth noting that there continues to be larger proportion of senior members actively participating on these zoom meetings. Also important to note is a smaller cadre of younger families who are active and have children in the school programs. This group is the nucleus of the future for B’nai Tikvah. There is a need to re-institute B’nai Tikvah’s Ritual Committee. This group works closely with the clergy regarding prayers and services as well as reviewing Jewish customs and how they play an important role in our Congregation. More will be coming about this committee.
This coming week the required questionnaire will be started with the goal of completion by the second week of October. Once this is completed and submitted, resumes should start to come in. The interview process is important in that while we are looking at the candidates for our spiritual leader, the candidate is looking at BT as well. How we position ourselves and our synagogue are important to keep in mind. There are benefits that our community offers. Jewish schools, kosher food and restaurants, a large vibrant city, and a safe and beautiful suburban community.
There have been few email messages left on the Rabbi Search Committee email address. Responses are provided usually within one day. Based on the inquiry made, we try to identify the person in the synagogue with the most experience in that area to provide the response. It is our hope that our responses have been well received. Please continue to use that email for any inquiries concerning the search process.
Jack & Bertha Diamond
The Rabbi Search Committee is in the initial phase of self-reflection on the type of community that B’nai Tikvah aspires to be and the characteristics of a rabbi who will be a “best fit” for the congregation.
We have established the following structure for the committees involved in the process:
Strategic Planning has begun initial meetings to review results of the focus groups conducted in 2019 and other information to help guide the Search Committee in its representation of the congregation and definition of a “qualified” candidate.
The Governing Committee establishes a structure and defines and assigns responsibilities as needed throughout the process.
Communication: Harvey Felman and Josh Charlson
Town Hall Meetings: Jeff Rabin and Andrea Berlow
Organization and Communication with Candidates: Cindy Levin and Debbie Maxwell
Hospitality: Hilda Moss and Scott Goldstein
Benefits Package and Contract: Marc Bassewitz and Michael Levinsohn
Everyone is encouraged to participate in the Town Hall Zoom meetings. We were pleased to have a lively discussion with 60 attendees at our initial meeting on August 25, on the topic of Education. Subsequent meetings will be occurring on Thursday, August 27 (on Community Involvement) and Wednesday, September 2 (on Ritual) at 8:00 pm.