The FHJC Rabbi Search Committee
President's Letter, November 2022
Dear Members of the Forest Hills Jewish Center;
Now that the Chagim are over, I would like to give you an update on the Rabbi search process. Over the past several months, our Search Committee has been active in conducting a congregational survey, parlor meetings and other information sessions and preparing the Rabbinical Assembly Questionnaire, the document that potential candidates will read to learn about us and the position. On behalf of the Executive Board and the Search Committee, I would like to thank you, our fellow congregants, for your input and participation to date in the process. The Search Committee found your comments at the parlor meetings and your input on the congregational survey incredibly helpful in formulating responses to the Rabbinical Assembly Questionnaire. We look forward to and need your continued participation in selecting our new Rabbi as the interview process gathers steam over the next few months.
I am pleased to inform you that the Rabbinical Assembly has accepted our Questionnaire and has posted the position on its Career Board. We have initiated discussions with some potential applicants. Over the next few months, our Search Committee will be reviewing the resumes we receive, and will be conducting preliminary and follow-up interviews with potential candidates.
If everything goes according to plan, we will be in the position to invite our most promising candidates to spend a Shabbat and weekend with us early in 2023. This is when we will need your help and your input. During that weekend, we will have multiple opportunities for you to observe, evaluate and interact with our guest Rabbi. These will include our religious services, teaching experiences (limud) and social occasions. After each Rabbi’s visit, the Search Committee will ask you for your confidential input and evaluation. We strongly encourage you to participate, as we need everyone’s input into this critically important decision for our future.
Update, Fall 2022
- COMPLETED: Submit RA Placement Questionnaire – The committee has formally submitted our application to The Rabbinical Assembly. This will commence the official Rabbi search process. More information about the process and next steps will be provided to the membership shortly. As always, please feel free to contact the search committee directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or questions you may have.
Update, July 2022
- COMPLETED: Complete RA Placement Questionnaire – The committee is grateful for the support and voice of the congregation participating in both the survey and focus groups. We now begin the process of taking those thoughts and ideas and formally submitting our application to The Rabbinical Assembly. We are also discussing how to provide a summary of the survey and focus groups in an appropriate, anonymized method to the congregation.
Update, June 2022
- COMPLETED: Focus Groups – Join fellow members and congregants to meet with the Search Committee to bring your thoughts about the Rabbi search and learn more about the process. Thank you for your support and attendance.
Update, May 2022
- COMPLETED: Congregational Survey – As we prepare to welcome the third Rabbi of the Forest Hills Jewish Center, who are “we” and what are we looking for in a Rabbi? A congregational survey has been distributed by email as well as mailed home to the members for whom we do not have email addresses. Thank you for sharing your voice and thoughts.
- COMPLETED: Focus Group for Religious School Families – Sunday morning, May 15 at 9:15 and 11:00 at FHJC: the Committee will be conducting small discussion groups to provide Religious School families with the opportunity to voice their opinions on this important issue.
Dear Friends, Members of the Forest Hills Jewish Center:
As you all know by now, this past January, Rabbi Skolnik, who has been our teacher and leader for the past 40 years, announced his retirement at the end of June 2023. This leaves us with the very challenging task of finding and engaging a new rabbi, who will hopefully serve us for the next 40 years.
This is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination and as a congregation, we have not been through this process in over four decades. In Hebrew we say that wisdom comes from experience, but the real wise ones learn from the experience of others. Thankfully, The Rabbinical Assembly and The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism provide congregations searching for a rabbi with a wealth of information about the process, and many other synagogues that have successfully completed a Rabbi search can share their experiences with us.
I have asked Judy and Matt Beizer to chair a Rabbi Search Committee. Judy has been the chair of our Ritual committee for many years and Matt is a past president who is still very actively involved in the governance of the Forest Hills Jewish Center. I am sure that you will agree with me that this is an excellent choice. Judy and Matt have assembled a committee that is representative of many of the constituencies of FHJC so that the input into the selection process is as wide and varied as our community is.
We also want you, as a Member of the Congregation, to be involved in the process as well. You will have the opportunity to provide your input and feedback through completing a Congregational survey, participating in focus groups, spending time with Rabbi candidates when they visit the Shul and providing feedback on those visits. We will update this page from time to time as the process progresses. Please feel free to contact the search committee directly at email@example.com with any comments or questions you may have.
The committee anticipates making a decision by the Spring of 2023, which would leave us enough time for contract negotiations as well as possibly a period of overlap between Rabbi Skolnik and the new Rabbi.
As you see this is a very intense process which will require many hours of work by the committee members. My hope is that you will match their dedication by providing your input to this process whole heartedly and in a timely manner.
I thank you in advance for your cooperation.
- Form Committee, March 2022
- President’s Letter to Congregation, April 2022
- First Meeting of Past Presidents Advisory Committee, April 2022
- Preliminary Discussions with Staff, March 2022 / April 2022
- Preliminary Interviews with Arms of Center, March 2022 / April 2022
- Develop Website Page, March 2022 / April 2022
- Best practices from other synagogues, March 2022 / April 2022
- Develop Congregational Survey, April 2022
- Distribute Congregational Survey, May 2022
- Focus Groups, May 2022 and June 2022
- Complete RA Placement Questionnaire, July and August 2022
- Submit Questionnaire, Post Yom Kippur 2022
- Review Submitted Resumes / Select Candidates for Interviews, September through December 2022
- Check References, October through December 2022
- Preliminary Interviews, October through December 2022
- Secondary Interviews, October through December 2022
- Host finalists for Shabbat, November 2022 through January 2023
- Congregational feedback on final candidates, November 2022 through January 2023
Judy Beizer & Matt Beizer* – Co-chairs
Romi Narov, President
* denotes past-president