By Barry Campbell.
Chair: Transition Steering Committee.
On behalf of the Transition Steering Committee, I am pleased to provide this update on our Transition activities to date. Our Steering Committee has been constituted and has had a number of meetings to set the framework and to coordinate the work of each of the various committees below:
The “Coming Together” Committee has been reaching out to Temple members who have openly expressed their disappointment about the process and/or decision made by the previous Board to negotiate a retirement arrangement with Rabbi John Moscowitz. Letters were sent to these individuals inviting them to attend one of several planned Parlour meetings, the first of which was held in late February and another on March 20. These intimate gatherings provide an opportunity for members to express their views and be heard with sensitivity and understanding. As well, representatives of the newly installed Board, all volunteers who are committed to their task, are present to share information to address many of the concerns. Each member of Holy Blossom Temple is important. We wish to respond to congregants’ concerns and move forward together. By working together through our Transition process, we hope to ensure Holy Blossom Temple exemplifies the highest standard of spiritual, educational and cultural excellence. At the conclusion of these Coming Together initiatives, our Committee expects to share its observations and may make recommendations to the Board through the Transition Steering Committee.
The “Looking Forward” Committee has held meetings with research and marketing professionals to brainstorm new and creative ways to engage the congregation about its collective desires for future senior rabbinic leadership. Our Committee’s work will build on what is learned in the congregational survey (click here), but include other methods of engagement – to be determined in the coming weeks. This work will commence in April.
The “Rabbinic Search” Committee will focus on identifying or encouraging appropriate candidates to apply for the senior rabbinic position at Holy Blossom. Appropriate candidates will be reviewed and we will recommend a ranked short list of senior rabbinic candidates to the Board for its consideration. Our Committee met in January and, in preparation for the actual search, has recruited a committee representing the broad demographics of the congregation with experience in not for profit and private sector search and organizational development. In addition, lay leaders of appropriate Temple committees including Worship, Education and Administration sit on our Search Committee. Our Committee is also building our knowledge about the URJ/CCAR search process, initiating outreach to our Temple’s rabbinic leadership and researching best practices of rabbinic search through contact with other congregations across North America. Working with the “Looking Forward” Committee, a list of critical stakeholders (individuals or groups) is being developed who should be asked over the next several months to provide input into the priorities of the rabbinic role. Finally, we are beginning the work of developing a professional position description which will be reviewed and approved by the Transition Steering Committee and the Board of Directors and will be communicated to the congregation at large. A rabbinic search is an iterative process and our Committee would welcome ongoing input and suggestions. We shall be reaching out to Temple members but also please feel free to contact us through the Transition Steering Committee voice or e-mail address or by approaching us directly at Temple functions.
In light of the experience of other congregations and the advice of the URJ/CCAR, it is our goal and expectation to have selected and engaged a new Senior Rabbi before the High Holidays of 2014.
I am heartened by the number of Temple members who have come forward and offered or agreed to assist in Transition initiatives. Ours is a congregation of enormous depth and commitment.