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November 30: What Great Looks Like, Part I

11/30/2023 03:30:00 PM


Fellow Congregants,

Our search continues, with a slight lull for turkey and cranberry sauce. Back in September, we had identified nine core competencies to look for based on congregant feedback (See “The Rabbi We Seek,” September 28). As we continue to meet and assess candidates, we thought it might be valuable to drill a little deeper into the criteria we are using, a few at a time.

Big Tent: an inclusive, collaborative leader. This was raised repeatedly in many contexts: religious observance, political perspective, racial and ethnic background, personal history, ability and upbringing. A Big Tent leader makes each individual feel personally welcome, and  is unafraid to make the systemic changes needed to ensure inclusion for those who might have felt left out in the past. A Big Tent leader helps all of us appreciate each others’ differences as elements which enrich, rather than erode, our community.

Emotional Intelligence. A competency that permeates all others. High emotional intelligence is reflected in 3 C’s: Consciousness (of your own emotions and impact), Compassion for those who are different, and deep Connection. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said, “if you want to change lives, speak to people’s feelings, not just their minds. At the very end of his life, the greatest of all prophets, Moses, turned to emotional intelligence, knowing that unless he did so, his teachings might enter the minds of the Israelites, but not their hearts, their passions, their emotive DNA.”

Emotional intelligence incorporates Pastoral Care, the search for the Divine in the circumstances of our lives, with the goal of helping the congregant find meaning and purpose in his/her situation.

Spiritual Leadership. A great spiritual leader leads by example, and is deep in matters of the Mind, Heart and Soul. Spiritual leadership puts service before self-interest, inspires trust and nourishes wholeness. Spiritual leadership includes the ability to give inspiring and engaging sermons.

As we’ve said repeatedly, we welcome congregant input. Many have already reached out to us with valuable perspectives, shared thoughtfully with grace and gratitude. Thank you for being partners in this search. You can send comments or questions to Our next update will be December 14, when we will continue delving into our core competencies.


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

Wed, June 12 2024 6 Sivan 5784