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Interim Rabbi

Posted on May 5, 2024

Bet Am Shalom Synagogue - White Plains, NY

Inclusive/Diverse, Reconstructionist

We are looking for an interim rabbi to serve for one year, from summer 2024 through summer 2025, while we continue to search for a new permanent rabbi to replace Rabbi Lester Bronstein, who is retiring as of June 30, after 35 years with us. Accompanying this overview is a description of all the activities that our current rabbi has been doing. We do not require an interim rabbi to lead or participate in all the activities of our current rabbi. We encourage anyone interested to apply for the interim position. We are eager to discuss his/her particular interests and logistical needs, and we are prepared to be flexible. For context, we have a very actively involved congregation with members already leading many synagogue functions, including lay leaders who sometimes lead services and who regularly chant Torah and Haftarah, give D’var Torahs, teach adult ed and provide bikur cholim. In addition, we have already done an extensive (two-year) congregational discovery and visioning process to assess who we are and what we are looking for in a new full-time rabbi. We do not need an interim rabbi to do this. However, we are happy to share the findings with him/her as part of an orientation process, along with ongoing support from a “Transition Committee” composed of several past presidents. We also have several established and well-regarded staff members who would support an interim rabbi. These include a Director of Family Education & Engagement, who manages our Hebrew School and family programming who is also very musical, and a full time, experienced Executive Director who manages synagogue operations, supported by a small office and facilities staff. We are in the process of hiring a part-time interim cantor to lead singing/chanting at Friday night, Saturday morning and holiday services. Bet Am Shalom Synagogue is an engaged Reconstructionist congregation of about 400 households seeking a rabbi to join us and lead us in pursuit of meaningful Jewish lives that lift one another and our world. Our community is an established and active one that attracts people of all ages who are eager to assume important roles in the creation of a vibrant Jewish community. We hold dear the connections within and across our different demographics and actively seek opportunities to study, learn, and sing together; to work toward tikkun olam; to dance, pray, and celebrate together. Our prayer is traditional and made powerful by our collective voices joined together in song. Our strong connections help us face the challenges that life brings in practical, emotional and spiritual ways. We are searching for a learned mensch who will welcome the embrace of our congregation, cultivate and build upon our strengths, stretch us in new ways and become our next long-term and beloved rabbi. As a well-established Reconstructionist congregation, we are looking to welcome a rabbi with enough experience to be confident that having a pulpit in a Reconstructionist congregation is their chosen life’s work. We expect candidates to have at least three years of experience as a congregational rabbi and to be familiar with the kinds of challenges faced in synagogue life. As a congregation built on Reconstructionist principles, we seek a rabbi committed to community-wide, values-based decision making reflective of our Reconstructionist approach. The rabbi should be a credible authority on issues of Jewish teachings and traditions and enthusiastic in leading and teaching ritual practice and services. They should embrace the principle that the congregation takes a Reconstructionist approach to ritual practice and congregational decision-making. They should be an avid learner and teacher who is able to maintain the high level of enthusiasm for Jewish learning and literacy that exists at Bet Am Shalom. Our rabbi works closely with the Education Director to develop the school’s ethos, to plan community events for the school and congregation, and to consult on curriculum. The Rabbi is also a member of the teaching faculty, teaching in our Torah La’am Teen program and occasionally with our K-6 th graders. The Rabbi participates in family education programs and is actively engaged with B’nai/B’not Mitzvah students and their families. The Rabbi visits classrooms regularly and joins school assemblies to participate in Shira and Tefillah. The rabbi should be a role model for seeing the godliness in others, maintaining the highest standards of interpersonal respect and kindness and should have unimpeachable integrity and honesty. The rabbi must be able to communicate effectively – from the pulpit, but also in the classroom, at the Board meeting and at the graveside. The Rabbi should be a visible leader, willing and able to speak publicly for the Jewish community-at-large on a variety of issues and be a strong advocate for social justice. The rabbi should be an active partner with our congregation engaging in social justice initiatives. The rabbi should be a liberal Zionist who is comfortable leading a congregation with varied and passionate views on Israel. One significant way our congregation connects is through music and song. Facility with musical prayer is an important contribution the rabbi will make when leading our worship services. Understanding and nourishing this aspect of our congregational culture will be a significant role of our rabbi. The Compensation package for this position is between $200,00- $210,000. A cover letter explaining the rabbi’s specific interest in Bet Am Shalom, a resume that includes a list of publications and the text (and a link to a video if available) of a sermon of which the rabbi is particularly proud should be e-mailed to Rabbi Elliot Skiddell, Interim Director of Rabbinic Placement for Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. Questions about this position should be addressed to Rabbi Skiddell at (215) 576-0800 ext. 217, [email protected]. Any inquiries or applications will be treated confidentially. http://www.betamshalom.org.