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Rabbi Transition

December 3, 2020

 The Rabbinic Search Committee has spent more time on Zoom this week than with their own families :) as we have begun initial interviews with candidates.  We have reviewed many resumes and have chosen to interview eight Rabbis thus far.  We have been impressed with our conversations and will definitely continue the conversation with a few of the candidates. There are a number of additional interviews taking place in the coming days. We look forward to continuing this process and sharing our progress with the community. As always please reach out to the committee with any questions at soirabbinicsearch@gmail.com. Thank you!  

November 27, 2020
     The Rabbinic Search Committee has had a busy and productive few days. After officially posting the position on the YU Careers website, we received eight resumes right away. The committee met and reviewed the resumes, and we will be proceeding with initial Zoom interviews with at least 6 candidates. We are anticipating at least another 3 resumes to be sent to us in the coming days, and expect more resumes over the next few weeks. We will consider each and every applicant carefully and will have an initial conversation with most before deciding if they are a strong fit for SOI to proceed to the next step. 
     We are truly excited by the caliber of Rabbis we are reviewing and look forward to ‘meeting’ them and moving forward. As always, if you have any questions about the process please don’t hesitate to reach out to any member of the committee or emai
l soirabbinicsearch@gmail.com.

November 12, 2020
We are pleased to present to you the rabbinic job description which we are posting shortly.  Spearheaded by Eric Klein, the job description subcommittee fused the findings from our focus groups with the essential elements required of the position to create an attractive and comprehensive listing that we anticipate will draw the most qualified candidates to apply. 
Congregation Sons of Israel (SOI) of Cherry Hill, NJ is seeking a Rabbi to inspire our 150 families to continue to grow in Torah, mitzvot, and acts of chesed.
AboutSOI:​ SOI is the cornerstone Jewish institution of Southern New Jersey. Founded in 1894 in Camden, NJ, the congregation moved to Cherry Hill in the 1970s. In the past 100 years, the Shul has been led by only three Rabbanim. Rabbi Naftoli Riff zt”l served from 1919 until his retirement and aliyah in the late 1960s. Rabbi Bernard Rothman took over the Rabbinic leadership, oversaw the move to Cherry Hill, and established Politz Day School which provides nursery-8th grade education. Since Rabbi Rothman’s retirement in 2000, SOI has been led by Rabbi Ephraim Epstein under whose leadership the community has continued to grow as the center for Modern Orthodox Judaism in South Jersey. SOI prides itself on being a very diverse community with regard to age, hashkafa, religious backgrounds, and Jewish education. Despite the wide range of congregants, SOI strives to maintain a loving, respectful, and integrated community and we try to use our diversity to enhance our Jewish experience and love of Medinat Yisrael. On a given Shabbos morning we generally have five minyanim: hashkama, young families, Sephardic, teen, and the main shul. We are searching for a Rabbi who can engage with Jews from all backgrounds, and inspire continued communal harmony and growth. This growth comes from the development of interpersonal relationships, providing engaging shiurim, and serving as a personal role model.In the past 10 years, the Cherry Hill community, and SOI in particular, have experienced tremendous growth. The physical shul has undergone significant renovation culminating in a beautiful makom tefillah and a brand new women’s mikvah. In the larger community, we have seen continuously increasing enrollment in Politz Day School of Cherry Hill as well as the Foxman Torah Institute (boy’s high school). Additional boys, girls, and co-ed schools are within driving distance. Cherry Hill has many kosher establishments including a ShopRite Kosher Experience, a steakhouse, a bagel shop, and our JCC cafe. We are 15 minutes from Philadelphia, an hour from Lakewood, 90 minutes from New York and Teaneck, and two hours from Baltimore.

Candidate requirements:​ The candidate should have a minimum of 3-5 years of Rabbinical experience, at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, and eligibility for membership in the Rabbinical Council of America is preferred. We are looking for an engaging speaker who will encourage religious growth through his drashot and shiurim, as well as through his personal outreach to members and non-members alike. The Rabbi must be a capable halachic authority, but with the self-awareness and humility to seek guidance when necessary.The diverse makeup of our congregation requires a Rabbi able to counsel and educate members with varied hashkafic outlooks and levels of Judaic education. He should enjoy developing meaningful relationships with the broad spectrum of community members; be approachable, empathetic, and open; and be aware of the wider culture so that he can serve as an effective pastoral counselor and effectively connect with our members.

Job requirements
●Manifest exemplary interpersonal and communication skills, and endeavor to inspire and motivate the members to a higher level of spirituality and observance according to each individual's level - with Torah values as its core
●Endeavor to develop personal relationships with current and prospective members of the Congregation across all demographics
●Serve as the halachic authority for congregational matters and for individual psak when members seek such advice
●Teach Torah to the shul community through impactful shiurim and Shabbat sermons on a variety of topics
●Participate in, and be expected to speak at, lifecycle events of Congregation members including important lifecycle events such as birth celebrations, Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations, weddings, funerals, and during shiva
●Take an active role in the development of programs, coordinating with the Board of Directors or its designees, to enrich and invigorate the Congregation membership
●Actively foster positive relationships with, and the educational and spiritual growth of, the youth in the Congregation, and work with the youth committee in formulating and implementing programming for the youth groups
●Actively engage in, and assist in developing creative strategies for, the fundraising and membership growth efforts of the Shul, and generally support the Shul’s mission and strategic goals by working in collaboration with the board
●Counsel members on important personal issues when they seek such advice
●Make every reasonable effort, time allowing, to engage in productive and collaborative relationships with prospective members of the community, other Orthodox rabbis, andthe broader Jewish organizations of South Jersey. If a local Vaad exists, he shall endeavor to be a member, and be involved with communal oversight of the Eruv, Mikvah, Chevra Kadisha, and any and all efforts of the Vaad.

We will consider both full-time and part-time applicants. Please apply through the placement office of the yeshiva or organization you are affiliated with. RIETS and RCA members should apply through the Yeshiva University rabbinic placement office

November 5, 2020
As the focus groups have ended, we are pleased with how the process has been proceeding. Forty one people attended the various focus groups, the information was recorded. The job description subcommittee is now incorporating the feedback expressed in the focus groups. We look forward to sharing the final job description with the community and posting it to Yeshiva University next week.

October 19, 2020
Dear Members,   

We are very excited to offer the first update on the status of the Congregation Sons of Israel rabbinic search process.In consultation with the board, I have formed a rabbinic search committee; They have “met” and divided into sub-committees that will each focus on a different aspect of this search. I could not have asked for a more eager, dedicated, diverse,  professional, and driven team.

We will begin our process with the most important part of our search, hearing directly from our membership about what their needs and desires are for the future  of the shul.  With that in mind, 4 focus groups will be taking place.  They will be open to all SOI Members in good standing.The goal of these focus groups will be to supply invaluable data that will support the Search Committee as we finalize the job description and proceed with the search. To sign up for the focus groups
please click here . The focus groups will take place on Motzei Shabbat 10/24 at 8:30pm, Sunday morning 10/25 at 10:30am, Sunday evening 10/25 at 7:00pm, and Monday evening 10/26 at 8:30pm. All members are invited to sign up for a meeting. The meetings will be closed after 20 slots have been filled  in each so please sign up quickly to get your first choice.  A separate survey will be initiated later in the process to draw input from the entire community as we are mindful of the critical role Sons of Israel plays within the larger Cherry Hill community.

We are in contact with the Yeshiva University Department of Jewish Career Development and Placement
(https://www.yu.edu/cjf/rabbinics/placement) , directed by Rabbi Ronald Schwarzberg, which will be posting the job description on its website shortly, officially launching the search. The position will be open to all Rabbinical Council of America (RCA)-eligible rabbis. ( rabbis.org ) and not only to candidates from YU.

Once the position is posted, we expect to begin receiving applications within a few weeks. All applications are submitted to us via the YU Department of Jewish Career Development and Placement. The Search Committee will begin its deliberations as soon as it receives applications. Candidates deemed worthy of further scrutiny will participate in an interview over Zoom. The Search Committee will further narrow the field and offer second-round interviews to select candidates in December and early January; health precautions will almost certainly require that such interviews be conducted over Zoom. By mid-winter, the Search Committee expects to select 2 or 3 finalists who will be invited for a Probah in February or early March.

 A Probah is when top candidates are invited to come to Cherry Hill with their spouse for in person meetings, and this will be the opportunity for the community to meet the candidates and hear them speak. Probahs will either be held in shul or in another location that will allow space for safety precautions if necessary, but we will pause the process if public health concerns prohibit us from introducing the finalists in person. Assuming the search process is brought to completion, membership will vote to select our next rabbi by mid-March, and the new rabbi will join the shul next summer.

We intend to conduct the search in an open and transparent way to the fullest extent possible, with the goal of each member feeling included and his or her views respected. Toward that end, we encourage you to share your thoughts with any individual member of the Search Committee or to email the Committee at soirabbinicsearch@gmail.com

Notwithstanding the overriding need for transparency, it is critical that we maintain the utmost confidentiality surrounding this process, and committee members have already signed Non-Disclosure Agreements forbidding them from sharing details of our internal deliberations. Other than the names of finalists invited for a Probah, committee members will never reveal the identities of the candidates being considered. Disclosing such information would jeopardize the search process, discourage the best candidates from applying, and would likely compromise an applicant’s current position and relationship with his congregation and community.

Looking to the future with hope and excitement, may Hashem bless our wonderful shul and this important endeavor with great success.  

Donna Moskowitz
President


SOI Search Committee
Rabbi Heshy Chaitoff, Co-Chair
Daniel Drabkin, Co-Chair
Yaeli Sokolic, Steering Committee
Ilana Weiss, Steering Committee
Jerry Abramson
Aaron Greenberg
Judy Herzberg
Eric Klein
Justin Kaufman
Mark Lowitz
Reuven Pinon
Marvin Raab
Helene Raush
Sarah Zanger


 

Fri, December 4 2020 18 Kislev 5781