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Embarking on a New Era 

Ohr Kodesh is rare among communities to have enjoyed the continuity and spiritual leadership of only two rabbis in its 70+ year history.

The time has come to embark on a new era and we look forward to an exciting future.

Current Status & Upcoming Plans: 

The Rabbi Search Committee is on track and working diligently to find our congregation’s next rabbi.

November 17

Our rabbi search is proceeding at full speed, in keeping with the timeline announced to the congregation a year ago. Earlier this month, our position was registered with the Rabbinical Assembly Career Center, which serves as the job board for Conservative rabbis and congregations. Using the valuable information members provided via the focus groups and survey earlier this year, our posting conveys the priorities for our congregation, the key skills and attributes we seek in a rabbi, and a vivid portrait of our congregational life and community. We will continue to use that critical information as our guideposts in evaluating prospective rabbinical candidates over the next few months. As a reminder, our search values diversity and inclusivity in our process, and does not presuppose any demographic characteristics. We are eager to consider all qualified candidates regardless of gender.

So far, eight rabbis have applied for the position, and we expect more applicants in the coming weeks. Our committee has developed a robust system for screening resumes and interviewing candidates, as well as reviewing online resources and work samples submitted. At this early point in our process, several excellent candidates are under active consideration.

During December and January, we expect to complete interviews and hope to identify finalists. Committee members are working right now on a schedule of events for all-virtual visits to the congregation in January or February, to include a variety of opportunities for the candidates to get to know us and vice versa.

Remaining Timeline
(1) Reviewing résumés and conducting interviews (November-December 2020);
(2) inviting finalists for virtual congregational visits (January - February 2021); 
(3) making a hiring recommendation to the Board of Directors (March-April 2021). 

Hiring Process
The process for hiring Conservative Movement rabbis is managed by the Joint Placement Commission (“JPC”). The JPC is a partner- ship between Conservative theological seminaries, the Rabbinical Assembly (“RA”) (representing Conservative rabbis) and the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism (the network of 600+ Conservative communities, including Ohr Kodesh Congregation). This partnership has developed a set of rules and practices that congregations and rabbi-candidates follow for search/hiring, referred to as the “Placement Code.” This includes waiver procedures for congregations wishing to consider rabbis who are not members of the RA. By registering our pulpit position in the JPC process, Ohr Kodesh promises to abide by the rules of this system, and gains access to the highly qualified roster of potential candidates in the Conservative rabbinate. 

The RA Career Center is the central entity that counsels both rabbis and search committees, provides resources, and manages the online placement system. Once we register and submit our answers to the placement questionnaire, our position will be posted to all members of the Conservative rabbinate seeking positions. Interested candidates will then send letters and résumés to us; we will screen and engage candidates in interviews. We will identify finalists who are the best fit for our unique congregation. 

Engaging with Candidates:                                                                                                       The RA has made the decisions to temporarily ban all rabbinic search interviewee travel until at least April of 2021. The Search Committee will focus on offering an all-virtual interview experience our membership needs to evaluate candidates, as well as the experiences we want candidates to share. The Search Committee is just beginning to brainstorm creative ideas to make candidate virtual visits enjoyable and meaningful. 

To illustrate our flexible approach, consider our members’ expressed need to hear the candidate deliver a d’var Torah. There are various formats we can consider. For example, if a traditional weekend visit takes place, the candidate would give a talk from the bimah on Shabbat morning that would be heard by all members who attended the service. In an virtual visit, the talk might be delivered in Zoom format attended by everyone interested, on a day other than Shabbat. 

From the candidates’ perspective, we’d like the finalists to have positive social experiences with different parts of our community. Over a long weekend visit with fewer restrictions than now, segments of the community might host a social event such as a brunch, an afternoon meet-and-greet, or a school-based program. For an all-virtual visit, we might consider a Zoom event with a central Q-and-A session, followed by different break-out rooms. 

We welcome your suggestions as we prepare options over the coming weeks and months. Contact Gary Libbin or Kim Price at

Tue, December 1 2020 15 Kislev 5781