In rabbinictransition
[toggle title=”What is the Transition Process?”] The Transition Process is a process recommended by the Union for Reform Judaism (“URJ”) for congregations who are going through a change in rabbinic leadership. Holy Blossom Temple has embraced this process and refined it for our congregation’s specific purpose. It entails four elements:

  • Coming Together
  • Looking Forward
  • Search
  • Integration of the new rabbinic leader.

Committees have been created to take responsibility for each of these elements. They are guided by a Steering Committee (also recommended by the URJ), which reports to the Holy Blossom Board.

More details about the Transition Process can be found here.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”What activities will take place as part of the Transition Process?”]
  • Coming Together will help address our feelings and integrate them into Holy Blossom’s future thinking.
  • Looking Forward will incorporate activities and dialogue to help us know who we are and where we want to be as a congregation, in order to develop a shared vision which will be central to shaping our search for a new spiritual leader.
  • Search will help us select a new spiritual leader who matches the congregational expectations for our future.
  • Integration will ensure that our new rabbinic leadership is fully-integrated into our congregational life and the Holy Blossom Temple family.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”Who is involved in leading these activities and how were they chosen?”]

The Board of Directors of Holy Blossom constituted a Search Committee to select members with experience in governance and transition management to be the Chair and Vice Chair the Transition Steering Committee. Barry Campbell was selected as Chair and Owen Duckman the Vice-Chair.

Chairs and Vice-Chairs of each of the underlying committees that will lead the Transition activities were selected based upon feedback from Board members, past Presidents, Department chairs, and Holy Blossom’s professional staff and clergy. The requirement is that these members have leadership experience, subject-matter expertise and as well represent different demographic and diverse segments of our congregation. In turn, these Chairs and Vice-Chairs have been asked to select additional members for their committees in order to ensure the broadest diversity of interests of our temple members. In some cases, Temple lay leadership will be added as resources to assist with committee work.

A list of the members of the Transition Steering Committee, as well as a brief biography of each committee chairs and vice chairs can be found here.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”How do the roles of these committees differ from the role of the Board and Temple Executive?”] The Transition Steering Committee and the underlying committees consist of a combination of lay leaders, Board members and professional staff and clergy. The sole focus of this committee structure is to carry out the elements of the Transition Process to ensure the successful selection and integration of a new Senior Rabbi at Holy Blossom. The Board and Temple Executive are responsible for broader strategic and oversight functions.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”What is the timing of the process and how long will it take to get a new senior Rabbi?”] It generally takes 12 to 18 months to identify, meet, evaluate, approve and negotiate arrangements with senior rabbinical candidates. This is based not only on the URJ historical experience of senior rabbinic placements over the past several years, but also the reality that rabbinic contracts are tied to working with the Jewish Holy Day calendar. That means Rabbis are confirmed in place by July 1st each year in order to ensure time for a focus on the High Holy Days.

An estimated time-line of the activities of each committee and the Transition Process in total can be found here.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”How we will function during the process without a senior Rabbi?”] We are confident that all our needs will be met during the process by our outstanding rabbinic and cantorial staff led by Rabbi Splansky and Cantor Maissner.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”What has been accomplished to date in the process?”]

  • The newly elected Board has supported the Transition Process and the Transition Steering Committee has been constituted with Barry Campbell as its Chair.
  • The Transition Steering Committee members have been selected.
  • The leadership of three of the four underlying committees has been established.
  • The Temple has hired Rabbi Teri Appleby for additional rabbinic support.
  • Rabbi Arnie Sher, a retired senior pulpit rabbi and former Director of Placement of the CCAR, has been engaged as the Transitional Rabbi to guide us through the multi-year process.
  • A Transition webpage has been launched as part of the master Holy Blossom website in order to provide a central point for information.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”Where can I find out more information?”] Current information, as well as regular updates on the status of the Transition Process can be found on the dedicated Transition webpage located at:
[/toggle] [toggle title=”How can I get my views across or ask questions about the Transition Process and what type of response should I expect?”] We encourage feedback and questions from all congregants and have set up a dedicated email address for this purpose. All enquiries can be sent to [email protected] and we will endeavour to respond to your email as soon as possible. If you have a question or comment for a specific committee or person, please note this in the subject line of your email. We have also arranged for a dedicated phone extension at the Temple to receive voicemail messages. This voice mail box will be checked regularly and the phone number is (416) 789-3291 ext.158.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”Will there be an opportunity to get involved in activities carried out by the committees?”] Yes, there will be a great number of events inviting broad participation.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”Will the committees properly reflect the makeup of Holy Blossom’s congregations?”] When you see the names of those involved, you will realize that our committees consist of members who are representative of the demographics of Holy Blossom and the diversity of our membership.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”How much will the Transition Process cost and how will it be funded?”] At this time we expect that the Transition Process will be funded though the Temple’s operating budget and through the directed donations of Temple members.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”Are we seeking a particular outcome in religious practice in selecting a new Senior Rabbi?”] Holy Blossom Temple is a welcoming place that comprises different levels of learning, observance and engagement with religious ritual. Observance, pastoral care, education, scholarship and social action engagement are fundamental pillars of our congregation.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”Is a commitment to Israel a factor in selecting a new Senior Rabbi?”] What is most important is that members of our congregation feel that Holy Blossom is an environment where it is safe and acceptable to express a diversity of opinions vis a vis Israel and a place that encourages dialogue. This is what Rabbi Daniel Gordis refers to as the “Tent” of the pro-Israel camp. There are certainly limits to who is in the tent, but we subscribe to what Rabbi Daniel Gordis said in a recent article in Tablet magazine; “For me the litmus tests are Israel’s Jewishness, democracy and security. Anyone publically committed to those three – even if I believe that their policy ideas are wrong-minded – is in the tent.”

We welcome your questions, comments and feedback.
Please contact us at [email protected]
or leave a voice-mail message at 416.789.3291 ext.518

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