March 2018 Update:
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the recent Town Hall meetings in February.
Our discussions were lively and obviously many of us care deeply about Temple Emanu-El. For those who were unable to attend, a video of the presentation below as well as a Question and Answer summary (click “Q & A” at right) are available.
You may be aware that a rabbinic candidate visited Birmingham to meet with the search committee members, clergy, staff and lay leadership last month. Based on this visit, it was the recommendation of the Senior Rabbi Search Committee and the Temple Board that we develop a memorandum of terms of employment which is the process outlined by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). However, we were not able to reach an agreement on proposed compensation with this candidate.
Your Temple Board remains fully committed to finding the right Senior Rabbi plus a Jewish educational professional while operating within our financial means. Our Budget and Finance Committee and our Financial Resources Development Council – both of which are comprised of knowledgeable financial experts – provided data and forecasts to keep our congregation from overextending ourselves. Rest assured, we will find the right Senior Rabbi at the right time for our congregation.
June 30th will mark the last day of both Rabbi Doug Kohn’s and Rabbi Laila Haas’ service to our temple. Cantor Jessica Roskin will continue serving our congregants on our shared journey. Our plans to move forward include:
· Hiring a full-time Director of Engagement and Congregational Learning (DECL) to lead our education initiatives including our Religious and Hebrew Schools, Teens Program, and supervise the Director of the Discovery School along with creating engagement opportunities for all Temple members.
· Hiring a Student Rabbi from Hebrew Union College (possibly two) to visit several weekends each month to assist with services and other activities.
· Bringing in a Rabbi to assist with High Holy Day Services.
· Maximizing opportunities for Congregant volunteers to assist with services, pastoral visits and special Shabbat programming.
As Cantor Roskin shared in the Town Hall meetings, this is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to partner with her in creating a culture of engagement and involvement that will show future rabbinical candidates that Temple Emanu-El is truly a special place.
We will continue to provide regular updates..
Ben Weil, Temple Presiden
February 2018 Update:
As we continue on our journey to identify our next senior rabbi, your Temple leadership believes it is important to provide substantive updates on the status of several ongoing initiatives relative to the Senior Rabbi Search and other opportunities that we have before us. In that vein, we hosted two Town Hall Meetings in February to share the status of our efforts. See the 17-minute presentation (vimeo) below:
January 2018 Update:
The Senior Rabbi Search Committee wanted to provide the following update on our work to identify our next permanent rabbi for Temple Emanu-El.
- After reviewing the first round of applications, the Search Committee brought in three candidates for the Senior Rabbi position. All three candidates had previously interviewed with other synagogues prior to coming to Birmingham. Each candidate ultimately accepted another position before we were able to select the best candidate for Temple Emanu-El.
- The Search Committee is ongoing and will continue working diligently until we find the right candidate for our congregation. At this time, we have reviewed several additional candidates and plan to invite at least one of these candidates to Birmingham in the near term.
- While the search continues, the Board of Directors is also working on a contingency plan that will allow us to move forward while we continue our search.
As we continue this process, we will provide regular updates in the Temple’s eNews.
Town Hall Meetings Planned: Additionally, Temple leadership will be hosting several Town Hall Meetings in the near future to provide additional updates.
November 2017 Update:
To better understand the needs of our congregation, we asked all adult members to complete a survey. The results of this survey can be found here.
May 2017 Update:
Helene Elkus and Glenn Fleisig accepted the invitation by Temple President Ben Weil to co-chair a Senior Rabbi Search Committee. The co-chairs then spoke with the following about a senior rabbi search and setting up a committee:
- President Ben Weil
- Executive Director Robin Gotlieb
- Interim Senior Rabbi Doug Kohn
- Rabbi Cindy Enger from Central Conference of American Rabbis (ccarnet.org)
- Rabbi Jan Offel from the Union for Reform Judaism (urj.org)
The co-chairs then created a senior rabbi search committee comprised of dedicated, insightful temple members representing the diverse constituency of our congregation. Joining Helene and Glenn on the search committee are Jack Aland, Rodney Barstein, Jeffrey Bayer, Robin Berger, Callie Blitz, Jackie Feldman, Sam Friedman, Fran Godchaux, Robert Levin, Ashley Metsky, Virginia Oleinick, Lynn Rathmell, and Amanda Sokol.