Rabbinic Search Updates, Nov. 2020

December 30, 2020 – Senior Rabbi Finalist Announced

The Rabbinic Search Task Force is very pleased to announce we have narrowed our search down to a single finalist. An incredible amount of due diligence was done by the task force to get us to this point. This candidate virtually met the task force, our past presidents, staff and Board of Directors. We are pleased to announce the candidate received an overwhelming approval.
Thanks to the critical work of the Vision and Transition Task Force, the Rabbinic Task Force members were able to utilize the wants and needs of our entire congregation and ensure our candidate aligns well with who we are today at B’nai Jehudah, including our core values and our mission statement.
Next Steps
We will hold an all-congregation meeting via Zoom on Sunday, January 17, at 4pm. A formal invitation was mailed to all B’nai Jehudah member households. Please RSVP by January 15 at info@bnaijehudah.org or 913-663-4050. Please indicate all names of those who will attend the meeting.
Due to the sensitive nature of the rabbinic search and in accordance with the guidelines of the CCAR, the candidate will be introduced closer to the date of the meeting. The Rabbinic Search Task Force was charged with providing a final candidate to the congregation to vote on at the special meeting. 

December 4, 2020

The Rabbinic Search Task Force did not meet due to the holiday weekend, so we have no news to report this week.
We resume our work this week, and look forward to keeping you informed as things continue to progress. We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

November 27, 2020

Last week, we gave an overview of how the candidates were progressing in the interview process. Each candidate is at a slightly different point in the process based upon the date their resume was submitted.
For those candidates who are a bit further along in the process, the task force is pursuing additional steps to get to know them better. Currently, we are holding additional interviews with candidates, including a question and answer session. Each candidate is also teaching a lesson to the task force group via a provided scenario reflecting real world experiences in congregational life. This additional interview includes the full task force, providing for a larger group experience as well as a longer duration.
Task force members are pleased to have the gift of time to fully review and get to know each candidate, to determine the best fit for our congregational needs. We will continue to use this space to keep you informed as we work through the process to find the best Senior Rabbi for our congregation.

November 20, 2020

This week we received another great resume, which brings B’nai Jehudah to 12 applicants to date. We have had the initial interview and will progress through the same steps with this candidate as previously outlined. We will continue to review new applicants until we find and hire a Senior Rabbi.

In the meantime, our current semi-finalists have entered the next round of the search process. These steps include:

  • a question and answer element, which gives us a sense of their writing ability, as well as their ability to communicate – in a limited space – their views on leadership, their role as the rabbi, their view of G-d and their approach to prayer,
  • discussions with the President and President-Elect,
  • discussions with Rabbi Smiley and our Executive Director, Jennifer Green Baer, and
  • reference checks of the candidates, conducted by the Task Force.

We look forward to sharing more information in the coming weeks, as our interview process enables the task force to thoroughly vet each candidate.

November 13, 2020

We’ve had a busy week! After reviewing the deep dives into the applicants’ education, sermons and community outreach, and reflecting on the interviews held with our 9 candidates, the task force discussed each candidate and completed the rubrics. We are excited to share that we have narrowed our search to three (3) semi-finalists! These candidates are in the second and third stages of the multi-step process. This process includes asking each candidate for writing samples to a set of questions, as well as a series of interviews. Each interview will be held to the same standards of the initial interviews with specific questions and a rubric to best enable consistent discussions and review.

At this time, we are limited to Zoom-only communications, due to COVID. We are awaiting CCAR guidelines on travel for in-person visits. These guidelines are due in early December.

November 6, 2020
Since our application for our next Senior Rabbi was submitted, to date, we have received 11 highly qualified applications for our position. (Findings from congregant surveys and focus groups informed the initial application questions.) Our task force carefully read and researched each application, and granted interviews to 9 applicants. The interview process was clearly defined with specific questions, a clear and consistent format, and a rubric completed by each task force member to help guide our discussion. A subcommittee researched a “deep dive” into learning more about each candidate’s resume. A vote of our task force will occur to move candidates forward into a semi-finalist stage. We will continue to keep you informed via B’nai Jehudah‘s weekly newsletter.
What is a Sustaining Rabbi?
Rabbi Smiley was hired 2-plus years ago as our sustaining Rabbi to ease the transition through Rabbi Nemitoff’s PTO/Sabbatical and the first year of our new Senior Rabbi. This innovative and critical position will aid both our congregation and our new Rabbi as we move from strength to strength into our next 150 years. Rabbi Nemitoff will begin his PTO and Sabbatical over the next several months and Rabbi Smiley will assume her role leading our congregation in his absence. Rabbi Smiley will oversee day-to-day decision making, programming, Chesed, life cycle events, bereavement and pastoral care, and will supervise senior staff. We are so fortunate that our clergy and lay leadership had the foresight to hire our well-prepared Rabbi Smiley to help facilitate our transition. 
If you have any questions about the rabbinic search process please contact Zach Bassin, Rabbinic Search Task Force Chair or Jocelyn Fry.