Rabbinic Search FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding
Rabbi Gluck’s Retirement
and the Search Process for an Interim Rabbi

 

February 26, 2024 Letter from Andrea Bradley

I am thrilled to announce, on behalf of the Board of Trustees and our Interim Rabbi Selection Committee, that Rabbi David Katz will be our interim Rabbi, beginning July 1, 2024. Rabbi Katz’s employment was approved at a special Congregational meeting earlier tonight.

Rabbi Katz brings great enthusiasm to and experience in working with congregations that are in transition following the retirement of a long-tenured, much loved rabbi like our Rabbi Gluck. Rabbi Katz is currently the interim Rabbi at Temple Sinai in Saratoga Springs. After intensive training to become an intentional interim rabbi, he has led congregations in Pleasanton, CA; Armonk, NY; Johns Creek, GA; Baltimore, MD; Albany, NY; and Syracuse, NY – to name a few. In addition to being an accomplished pulpit rabbi, Rabbi Katz has been a Jewish educator for many years serving schools in Boston, Toronto and San Diego.

At Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Rabbi Katz earned his Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters and Master of Arts in Hebrew Education, was ordained in 1981, became certified as a Reform Jewish Educator and was awarded his Doctor of Divinity in 2006. He previously received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from Northwestern University in Theater. He has written numerous articles and is the co-editor of Reading Between the Lines: New Stories from the Bible. Rabbi Katz served on the committee that developed Mishkan T’Filah, the Reform Jewish prayer book published in 2007.

Rabbi Katz’s wife, Nancy Modlin Katz, is a painter and ceramic artist who has exhibited widely throughout the United States. They have two children. Emily is the Communications Director and movie producer for French philosopher/political journalist Bernard-Henri Levi and the Executive Director of “Justice for Kurds.” Her most recent film about the war in Ukraine, “Glory to the Heroes,” screened both at the United Nations and on Capitol Hill. Benjamin is a professional harpsichordist and early music scholar living in Brooklyn, New York. You can learn more about Rabbi Katz from this 2021 article in the “Rochester Beacon.”

Alongside Cantor Wallach, Rabbi Katz will lead services, support our Brit Mitzvah families, teach our learners, preside at our life cycle events and provide pastoral care for those in need throughout our community. He has experience in building multi-faith coalitions and in promoting greater congregational engagement. He will also support us in a successful transition to our next settled rabbi. In short, Rabbi Katz will be the perfect spiritual leader and advisor for us as we craft our TBE future.

Many thanks to our Interim Rabbi Selection Committee, ably led by Jay Lavroff, and assisted by congregants Rich Wolff and Alison Kantor, and officers Jeff Resnick, Frank Derby and me, for their dedication and commitment in selecting and recommending Rabbi Katz to be our interim rabbi.

We are excited to have Rabbi Katz as a part of our TBE family during this period of transition beginning July 1, 2024. We also respect that he has a full-time commitment to Temple Sinai until the end of June. There will be many opportunities this summer and fall for you to welcome the Katzes into our TBE family and local communities. I will be in touch with more details.

Warmly,


Andrea Bradley, President

 

February 2, 2024 Letter from Andrea Bradley

Since Rabbi Gluck announced his retirement, effective June 30, 2024, we have been hard at work on the many elements of our rabbinic transition.   I am delighted to announce that, at its January 22, 2024 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved forming a committee to conduct the search for our next settled rabbi, who will begin serving our temple community on July 1, 2025, after the term of our interim rabbi.  I hope to announce news of our choice of an interim rabbi very soon.

The Settled Rabbi Selection Committee is chaired by Steve Weitz, a TBE past president and member of the URJ North American Board and Executive Committee.  The Selection Committee also includes the following TBE members, each of whom was selected for their abiding commitment to our synagogue as well as their unique talents:

Caren Bateman                        Frank Derby
Debbie Herman                        Leigh Miller
Adriana Saipe                           Brian Small
Jeff Stuart                                  Marci Taylor

The search process is governed by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (the “CCAR”), the rabbinic arm of the Reform Movement.  Our Selection Committee’s objective is to identify an experienced rabbi who will uphold our community’s values, maintain TBE as a vibrant home of Jewish life and lead us into the future.  In the coming weeks, committee members will begin their work by becoming familiar with the details of the search process and undergoing training in DEI and implicit bias, both of which the CCAR recommends.

I am also excited to share that this winter we will be kicking off our “Share Your Voice – Create Our Future” listening effort, co-chaired by Jeff Resnick and Robin Osman. This will be an opportunity for all of us to imagine a vision for TBE that honors our traditions while preparing us to meet the future. The feedback from these gatherings will inform the Selection Committee’s work in selecting a settled rabbi who aligns with our community’s aspirations.  There will be abundant opportunities for you to participate in these gatherings. Please stay tuned for more details and plan on making your voice heard.

As it has been 33 years since TBE undertook to hire a settled rabbi, I want to remind you that, per the CCAR guidelines, the content of the Selection Committee’s deliberations and the identity of any candidates under consideration are strictly confidential.  Please be respectful of our Selection Committee members and understand that they will not answer questions that would require them to disclose confidential information.

Given the importance of the work of our rabbinic transition, I am committed to providing you with regular updates.  The FAQs posted on our website [see below] are a terrific source of updated information.  I hope you will regularly check this page for updates. Thank you for being a member of our TBE community during this exciting time.

L’Shalom,

Andrea Bradley, President

When is Rabbi Gluck retiring?

Rabbi Gluck will be retiring at the end of June 2024, at which time he will become our first Rabbi Emeritus.  The Board of Trustees has started a search for an interim rabbi to lead us through a transition period for the year beginning July 1, 2024.

Are there any retirement events being planned?

We are honoring Rabbi Gluck with a year-long series of special events, including guest speakers, musical concerts and festive parties.  Mark your calendars and join us. You can find more details here.

Why is Rabbi Gluck leaving?

Please read Rabbi Gluck’s letter to our congregation dated May 31, 2023, which you will find here.

What will Rabbi Gluck’s role be at TBE after his retirement?

While he is retiring as our rabbi, Rabbi Gluck will become our first Rabbi Emeritus and will always have a connection with our congregation. The Emeritus position does not have any specific rabbinic duties attached to it and is left somewhat undefined to provide sufficient room for our new rabbi to establish their own rabbinic identity at TBE.

Why are we searching for an interim rabbi rather than a permanent or “settled” rabbi?

Best practices, as strongly endorsed by the CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis) and the URJ (the Union for Reform Judaism), recommend the hiring of an interim rabbi when congregations, such as TBE, have had a long-serving rabbi, to give the congregation time to process the change of spiritual leadership before searching for a permanent, or “settled,” rabbi.

The Board agrees and has approved the search for an interim rabbi.  An interim rabbi has special training in transition management and collaborative organizational change and can be helpful in facilitating the conversations that will help us determine what qualities will best match the needs and interests of our community for a settled rabbi. The interim year, in part, will allow us the time and space to remember that rabbis come with a variety of approaches and styles.

What is the benefit of having an interim rabbi for Temple Beth-El?

The announcement of Rabbi Gluck’s retirement has prompted a wide range of responses in our community from concern and sadness to anticipation and optimism. Rabbinic transition time can be an incredible catalyst for congregational discovery and exploration. For us, Rabbi Gluck’s retirement will give us time to adapt to the idea of change. The transition will allow us time to process our wide-ranging emotions, to reflect on our vision for the future of TBE and to ensure the rabbi we ultimately select will be the best possible fit for our community.  An interim rabbi, experienced in these transitions, along with our dedicated and skilled staff and lay leadership team, will help us to imagine, then lay the groundwork to realize, TBE’s direction and future.

How long will the interim Rabbi serve, and might they become the settled rabbi?

The interim rabbi will serve for one year beginning July 1, 2024 and is not eligible for the settled rabbi position.

What is the process for selecting the interim rabbi?

The interim rabbi selection committee has been appointed and is working to select a candidate who best represents the needs and desires of TBE. Members of the interim rabbi selection committee are Jay Lavroff, chair, Andrea Bradley, Jeff Resnick, Frank Derby, Alison Kantor and Rich Wolff. The committee prepared an application now posted with the CCAR, and is currently reviewing resumes and conducting interviews.  Once a candidate is selected, the committee will make a recommendation to the Board.

Who selects the interim rabbi?

Upon approval of the candidate, the Board will schedule a Congregational Meeting where the Congregation will make the final decision.

What does an interim rabbi do?

The interim rabbi, like all rabbis, will serve all rabbinic needs of our TBE community, including leading worship services, life cycle events, Brit Mitzvah training, teaching, weddings and funerals. The interim rabbi will also help guide us toward a smooth transition to a settled rabbi.

What about a hiring a permanent or “settled” rabbi for TBE?

We plan to hire a settled rabbi for TBE beginning July 1, 2025.  The settled rabbi selection process will be similar in many ways to the interim selection process.  In early 2024, we will share the plans for community dialogue around the direction and future for TBE and the qualities and skills we are seeking in a settled rabbi.  We also will share more information about the members of the settled rabbi selection committee.

Will I be able to share my thoughts about the search process or other ideas I have with the interim rabbi selection committee?

Yes.  You can email the selection committee at SearchCommittee@templebethelnj.org to share your thoughts directly with the selection committee.