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06/29/2023 03:10:35 PM


August 10: Listening

08/10/2023 11:44:27 AM


Fellow Congregants,
A lot has happened since our note of August 2: 

  • The Search Advisory Group has had its first meeting. Ably led by Barbara Illowsky and Kathy Crankshaw, the group includes Barbara Windham, Beate Klein, Bonnie Slavitt, Carol Kantor, Debra Hershman, Ellen Ratner, Ellen Tafeen, Howard Selznick, Jeffrey Berman, Jeffrey Carmel, Joanne Donsky, Keith Loebner, Marlene Levenson, Margo Horn, Rachael Shea, Shannon Stein, Susan Wolfe and Svetlana Bonner. The Search Advisory Group will be spearheading our coming listening campaign, and will provide a breadth of perspectives throughout the search process. Thank you for stepping up to help with this holy work!
  • As mentioned in our last note, we are actively listening to congregants in many ways:
    • We have already received almost 50 responses to the Invitation to Provide Input! Thank you for your thoughtful comments. All congregants are encouraged to share your thoughts; if you haven't yet, feel free to capture them HERE.  The Invitation to Provide Input will be open through the end of August.
    • Search Committee members are meeting individually with any congregant who asks. If you requested a meeting, we will be reaching out within the week to set up a time.
    • The Search Advisory Group is organizing meetings of various interest groups within the congregation during August and September. There will also be a general meeting on Wednesday, September 6 for those who would like to share their ideas in a group setting (details to follow).
  • In its recent Board retreat, the Board of Directors spent significant time thinking about its priorities for our next Senior Rabbi, answering the same questions as are in the Invitation to Provide Input. This will be combined with congregant perspectives to create a unified profile for our next leader.

The word sh’ma, to listen, is the most central word in the most central prayer in our liturgy. Indeed, as Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (z’’l) has said, “There is something profoundly spiritual about listening. It is the most effective form of conflict resolution I know. Listening lies at the very heart of relationship. It means that we are open to the other, that we respect them, that their perceptions and feelings matter to us.”

We hope that you will join us on this profoundly spiritual path of listening to each other. As always you can send comments or questions to We are eager to hear from you. Our next update will be shared on Thurasday, August 24.


Ben Lloyd | Loree Farrar | Deb Radin
Senior Rabbi Search Committee Co-chairs

August 2: We want to hear from you

08/06/2023 11:55:02 AM


Fellow Congregants,

As mentioned in our previous updates, congregant input will be a key part of our Senior Rabbi search. This community listening process will extend into the fall, and it starts today. The Search Committee is seeking your input in a variety of ways:

  • The Invitation to Provide Input allows you to provide personal reflections in writing. We’d like to hear how you’d describe the congregation today, and what characteristics and experiences you’d like to see in a Senior Rabbi. (You may reply anonymously if you wish.) Click here to access the document; it will be open through the end of August.
  • Members of the Search Committee are available for 1:1 conversations, ad hoc or planned, and will make sure that your thoughts are preserved. 
  • The Search Advisory Group will be organizing small group meetings with representatives from various stakeholder groups (e.g. parents with children in the educational program, congregants with diverse perspectives on Israel, the LGBTQ community) so that we can hear their unique perspectives. The SAG will also hold a few general listening sessions to make sure that everyone who wants to express their thoughts regarding the Senior Rabbi search can do so.
  • We’ll continue to keep you posted on the progress of the search by providing regular updates in “Next Week and This Shabbat at Beth Am.” Previous posts can be found on the new Senior Rabbi Search webpage.

Again, please take a moment to share your thoughts in the Invitation to Provide Input by clicking here. As always you can also send comments or questions to — we are eager to hear from you.

Thank you!


Ben Lloyd, Loree Farrar and Deb Radin
Senior Rabbi Search Co-chairs

July 27: Search Process overview

07/27/2023 11:36:50 AM


Fellow Congregants,

As we begin this journey together, we thought you might like an overview of the entire search process. There are six key stages:

Our governing body, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) provides both structure and guidance to the process, so that all the congregations are operating on roughly the same schedule as all the rabbis who are seeking new pulpits. All congregations will post their opportunities just after the High Holy Days, and will be meeting and interviewing candidates through the fall and early winter. While this coordination drives some constraints, ultimately it benefits all; we are lucky to have the resources of the URJ behind us.

As congregants, you will be most involved in the Community Listening stage. Your input will be incorporated into our description of ourselves, the Application, and of course will be critical when we get to choosing the best rabbi for Beth Am. You will have many opportunities to share your thoughts; we will be providing more detail soon about hows and wheres.

A quick process check:

Since the last update, the search committee had its first Workshop, developed a brit for ourselves, and built out several of the major work-streams that are outlined in the chart above.

Right now, we are finalizing membership and responsibilities of the Search Advisory Group, and reaching ot to those who had expressed an interest. We are also delving deeply into the recently published Hazon report for learnings both on the search process itself and on Beth Am as a community.

Looking ahead, we will be launching a variety of avenues for listening and input.

Comments or questions? Send them to — we are eager to hear from you. Our next update will be on Thursday, August 10.  


Ben Lloyd | Loree Farrar | Deb Radin
Senior Rabbi Search Committee Co-chairs

July 20: Your search committee

07/20/2023 02:07:43 PM


The Building of the Tabernacle

Moses said, Take from among you gifts to יהוה; everyone whose heart is so moved shall bring them—gifts for יהוה:

And everyone who excelled in ability and everyone whose spirit was moved came, bringing to יהוה an offering for the work of the Tent of Meeting.

And the artisans said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than is needed for the tasks entailed in the work that יהוה has commanded to be done.”

Exodus 35:4-36:5

Fellow congregants,

We are delighted to share that, after much deliberation, we have identified your Search Committee.  As mentioned last week, over 30 talented and passionate congregants offered to help with the search process. We sought committee members who reflect a range of perspectives and backgrounds, who are good listeners and astute assessors, and who are willing to step up to the significant time commitment that the coming months will bring. Here is your search committee (login required), with the unique gifts they bring to the process.

In addition to the Search Committee, we are also gathering a Search Advisory Group, which will ensure that the broadest possible range of perspectives is reflected.  That group is still in formation, and will be finalized shortly.

Looking ahead, the Search Committee will have its first workshop at Beth Am this Sunday.  Priorities will include creating a brit of our commitments to each other; refining the responsibilities of the Search Advisory Group;  and framing out a multi-faceted approach to collecting congregant input. 

If you see any of the new Search Committee members, please thank them for their service.  And feel free to reach out to all of us at with comments or questions. Our next update will be July 27.  


Deb Radin, Ben Lloyd and Loree Farrar
Senior Rabbi Search Co-chairs


July 13: Still building the Search Committee

07/13/2023 10:10:32 PM


Fellow Congregants,

We hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend, starting with the inspiring and delightful adult B’nei Mitzvah on Saturday, July 1 (service recording available for streaming). It was lovely to see so many of you there, celebrating this milestone together.

As mentioned two weeks ago, we are committed to maintaining a highly transparent process, and will continue to keep you abreast of our progress. Here’s where we are this week:

Since the last update, we have reviewed all of the many respondents who expressed an interest in helping the search. So many share such deep love and commitment to our community — it is heartwarming. We are also considering multiple models for congregational input.

Right now, we are reaching out personally to everyone who expressed an interest in helping with the search. We are also finalizing the congregational survey.

Looking ahead, we will finalize and announce Search Committee membership, and will begin to gather the Search Advisory Group. We are eagerly awaiting Hazon’s complete report, which will be available to all of us shortly. This will be a key input into the search process.

Comments or questions? Send them to — we are eager to hear from you. Our next update will be available on Thursday, July 20.  


Ben Lloyd | Loree Farrar | Deb Radin
Senior Rabbi Search Committee Co-chairs

June 29: Invitation to join the Search Committee

06/29/2023 12:08:28 PM


Fellow Congregants,

As Amy Gerstein shared last week, we are at the very beginning of our search for a new Senior Rabbi for Beth Am. Thanks to all of you who have expressed your support for this work! It will surely be a community effort, and it will benefit from all of your input.

We are committed to driving a transparent process, and will update you regularly on what’s in the works and what is coming up. Here’s where we are so far:

In the works. 

  • So far, we have received almost two dozen expressions of interest in participating in the Search Committee or Search Advisory Group.  
  • If you are interested in playing a role in the search process, please take a moment to fill out this form and let us know by Wednesday, July 5.  
  • We will finalize committee membership by mid-July from both respondents and others who are committed to Beth Am’s future.  

Coming up.

  • We are reviewing Hazon’s specific suggestions around the search process for incorporation, and will be reading the complete report shortly.
  • We are drafting a survey to begin the process of collecting congregant input - both on our future as a congregation and on the type of person we’d like as a leader.
  • We’ll be planning for in-person and zoom discussions as well.

Our next update will be July 13.

This week’s Torah portion gives us those uplifting words we say whenever we gather together to worship: “Ma tovu: How lovely are your tents, O Jacob, Your dwelling places, O Israel!” Indeed, the loveliness that blossoms when we come together in community refreshes and strengthens us and propels us forward.


Ben Lloyd | Loree Farrar | Deb Radin
Senior Rabbi Search Committee Co-chairs

Sun, December 10 2023 27 Kislev 5784