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September 14: Thank you, Hazon

09/14/2023 01:12:02 PM


Fellow Congregants,

As we enter our period of deepest reflection, it is worth reflecting on the gifts we have received from others in the past year. Of course, I am speaking of the tremendous efforts and thoughtful suggestions of the Hazon Task Force. That work, which is based on input from hundreds of congregants, has been a foundation for the work of the Search Committee. For that we are truly grateful.

Hazon provided over 30 specific suggestions related to the search process, almost all of which will be reflected in some way. Some are relevant to stages of the search that lie ahead of us; others you have already seen. These include:

  • Creating a Search Advisory Group, to broaden the perspectives of those directly contributing to the search
  • Seeking broad input from a variety of stake-holder groups, as well as from individual congregants
  • Deepening involvement of the Board of Directors, specifically with regard to establishing search criteria
  • Maximizing visibility throughout the process

Perhaps the most thought-provoking input Hazon provided was their assessment of the most critical criteria for selection of our next rabbi, based on what they heard from congregants. Hazon recommends that our next rabbi should have:

Experience and skills with operating in a congregation that is similar to Beth Am in key dimensions (education, pastoral care, spirituality, worship, size, diversity of opinions on key topics, supervisory and management skills, etc.)

Not surprisingly, these align closely with criteria that congregants themselves have highlighted in recent listening meetings, survey responses, and individual conversations with Search Committee members.  They will certainly guide our search.

  • Experience and demonstrable skills with helping people with divergent views feel comfortable within the big tent
  • Management skills and leadership experience in addition to other rabbinic skills (e.g. pastoral, teaching)
  • Experience with healing or reducing the impact of polarized views on key topics
  • Patience to develop the trust of the Congregation by embracing what we do now, and only after that trust is there, start envisioning a future, and leading the Congregation towards that future

Thank you, Hazon, for the strong foundation which you have built, and on which we now stand.

As always you can send comments or questions to — we are eager to hear from you. You can also identify us at Beth Am gatherings by our name-tags, which have chairs on them. Our next update will be after Yom Kippur.  We hope to see you on Yom Kippur afternoon, when we will be leading a study session which will  delve into concepts of leadership.

L’shana tova u’metuka,

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

Wed, June 12 2024 6 Sivan 5784