In April and early May, a series of 6 open meetings were held for the congregation to express their thoughts about the search for the next Rabbi.
This report is a summary of the major themes that emerged from those meetings.
Thanks, Ira Lamster
Results of the Congregational Meetings
The Search Committee would like to thank those members of the congregation who attended the various meetings.
The summary of results reflects the notes of all of the committee members who attended the meetings. They are summarized here in order to share the information that was gleaned as a result of these meetings. A number of common, major themes were evident:
The rabbi should be a leader, both within the congregation and within the community.
The rabbi should know the membership. Sensitivity and pastoral care are key issues. He/she must make a sincere effort to know the families, welcome the members and be available in times of need. The rabbi should be approachable. Being a rabbi should not be just a job; it should be the essence of the individual.
We are a very diverse congregation. There are young members and old members. There are members whose level of observance is traditional versus members whose practice is more liberal. There are families where both parents are Jewish as well as interfaith families. The new rabbi should be able to work with and nurture all of the members of our community. It would be important to have programs which would bring our community together.
There should be a focus on spirituality. The rabbi should be a scholar and be able to engage the congregation in Torah. The rabbi should have a background of tradition.
It would be wonderful to have a rabbi who has a family that could be part of our Beth Rishon Community.
The new rabbi should be able to work well with our current staff.
Through teaching and through sermons, it is expected that the rabbi will inspire our current congregants to support the congregation and showcase our congregation to those looking to find a spiritual home.
Those of you who attended the congregational meetings have given us your thoughts as to what would make for the perfect rabbi. We will do our best to be mindful of all of these attributes, as we try our best to reconcile perfection and reality.
As was stated in all of our congregational meetings, please do not hesitate to contact any of our committee members if you have additional input that you believe would be helpful as we go forward in our search process.
Dear Fellow TBR members,
After gathering information from our series of open community meetings and our on-line member survey, the Rabbi Search Committee has developed the following two-page overview of Temple Beth Rishon and the job description for our next rabbi.
Letter from Ira B. Lamster, Chairperson of the TBR Rabbi Search Committee
To the Temple Beth Rishon Congregation,
This letter is the first communication from the Search Committee that will identify the next rabbi for Temple Beth Rishon. I have been asked to chair the Search Committee, and want to tell you something about my background, as well as review the selection process.
Our family has been a member of Temple Beth Rishon (TBR) for more than 30 years. We celebrated our daughters' bat mitzvah at TBR, and my wife Gail was a student in the first adult bar/bat mitzvah class. Our clergy married both of our girls. Professionally, I was Dean of the College of Dental Medicine at Columbia University for more than a decade, and currently serve on the faculty of the School of Public Health at Columbia. At the Medical Center, I have been a member of, and chaired, search committees for leaders being recruited to Columbia. This experience will serve me well in my current role.
Based on discussion with a wide range of TBR congregants, clergy and lay leadership, a search committee of eleven persons, with broad representation from our congregation, has been selected. They are Alyson Cohn, Laura Freeman, Judith Friedland, Michael Goldberg, Bill Heller, Tara Mandel, Michele Opper, William Rukin, Barry Silverman, Claire Taub and myself, Ira Lamster. Click here for brief biographies of the members of the committee.
The process of identifying a new rabbi will begin with community engagement, and we will ask you to complete a survey regarding the skills and qualities that should characterize the person who is selected. There will be a series of both group and open meetings with the congregation. This page on the TBR website will keep you informed about our progress.
Announcement of the open position will use both traditional (job placement) approaches, contact with placement services at rabbinic colleges, as well as less formal activities. The idea is to cast a wide net.
You can contact me or other members of the committee with comments, questions or concerns. This will be an inclusive process, and I urge you to respond to the survey, attend a meeting, and regularly view the "Rabbi Search Committee" page on our website for updates on our progress.
We live in a wonderful community, our congregation is comprised of interesting people, and the TBR pulpit is an attractive position. We anticipate a wide range of candidates, and we will recruit an outstanding rabbi to replace our outstanding rabbi, someone who can lead TBR into the future.
585 Russell Avenue, Wyckoff, NJ 07481 Telephone: 201-891-4466 Fax 201-891-0508