Search Process FAQs
Why are we conducting a search for our next Senior Rabbi?
After 22 years of distinguished service to the members of KI, our Senior Rabbi Lance Sussman is officially retiring from the KI pulpit on June 30, 2022. His last Shabbat on the pulpit will be June 24-25, 2022. This fall (2021) will be his last High Holy Days with us as Senior Rabbi.
How is the Senior Rabbinic Search Committee selected?
In accordance with the KI By-laws, the President names the Search Committee as follows:
The Committee shall include the Vice Presidents, the Chair of the Religious Practices Committee, the Chair of the Finance Committee, at least one Past President and such other persons as are designated by the President.
Other members include at-large congregants who represent our demography of age and varying interests, parents of children in our Preschool, JQuest and Confirmation Academy and parents with college age students. Past Presidents who have an understanding and experience with the rabbinic search process were also invited. Committee members also represent families that have been at KI for many generations, and those relatively new to our community.
Who is on the Senior Rabbinic Search Committee?
An up-to-date list of all Search Committee members may be found at the following link.
Who are KI’s professional partners in the search process:
The Placement Office of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the Reform rabbinic professional leadership organization, helps guide congregations in the many aspects of their rabbinic search process. The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) provides confidential search and transition support with a keen eye to the needs of each individual congregation.
What is the process to select our next Senior Rabbi?
The Senior Rabbinic Search Committee members are charged with the following tasks:
1. Develop a process of reflection to engage members and staff in determining the most important attributes of the next Senior Rabbi, primary goals of the congregation and KI’s strengths and most important challenges over the next five years.
These reflections will be a result of:
• A congregation-wide survey sent to all members to understand the important attributes of and hopes for the next Senior Rabbi.
July 2021 (See link for results) COMPLETED
• Focus groups of 10-12 members to gather for specific questions and open discussion about the process, members’ aspirations and vision for KI’s future
October – November 2021
• One-on-one conversations with members in specific age/interest groups
September – November 2021
2. The Search Committee co-chairs submit a detailed application to the CCAR that comprises the results of the process of reflection as well as details about KI (history, finances, governance structure, etc.).
September 2021 COMPLETED
3. The Search Committee receives and reviews candidate applications, and determines which candidates to contact to be invited for a virtual interview with the Committee.
October – December 2021
4. Based on the virtual interview, the Search Committee decides which candidates should be invited for a second interview or for an in-person visit to KI.
November 2021– January 2022
5. Each candidate is invited individually to travel to KI for a comprehensive day of touring our building and local community, meeting with Sr. Staff and lay leaders and with the Committee for dinner and then a comprehensive interview. The rabbi candidate may meet with small groups and perhaps offer a D’var Torah or teaching session.
December 2021 – January 2022
6. Search Committee begins due diligence on each candidate still being considered, contacting candidates’ references as well as others who can offer reflections on the rabbis’ attributes.
December 2021- January 2022
7. The final candidates are separately invited back to KI to tour areas of the community, ask pertinent questions, meet with the Search Committee and other leaders.
8. The Search Committee reviews each remaining candidate’s responses, resume and references. After an open discussion, the Committee votes on their recommendation and the condition of employment.
Then, according to the KI By-laws,:
The President shall convene a meeting of the Board of Trustees after at least two weeks notice of time, place and purpose of such meeting. At such meeting, the Committee shall recommend to the Board a person to be employed as Senior Rabbi and the conditions of such employment. An affirmative vote of at least 2/3 of the Board, present and voting, shall be required to employ a Senior Rabbi.
What is a Senior Rabbi Search Focus Group?
Focus groups are small group gatherings (of about 10-12 members) where attendees are invited to share their connection to KI, their vision for KI’s future, what are KI’s most important attributes and challenges for the next Senior Rabbi to be aware of. It is also an opportunity for members to make connections to each other and be part of this most important process.
Who selects the next Senior Rabbi?
The Senior Rabbinic Search Committee will, after the process delineated above, will decide by discussion and ultimate vote as to their recommendation of which candidate they feel will be the optimal candidate to serve our congregation. That recommendation is presented at the Board of Trustees meeting, and the Board votes on the said recommendation.
May I personally recommend a person for the position of Senior Rabbi?
According to the CCAR guidelines, if you know of a rabbi who might be someone for the Search Committee to consider, the rabbi cannot be contacted directly. His/her name must be submitted to either Co-chair of KI’s Rabbinic Search Committee who, in turn, will contact the CCAR Placement Director, who will then contact the rabbi to see if there is an interest in pursuing our pulpit. The only obligation of our synagogue is to then invite this rabbi to an onsite visit and interview.
What is the role of an Interim Rabbi?
If, at the end of the search process, Search Committee finds that none of the candidates possess the desired attributes that are believed to be the right fit for KI, the Search Committee may instead make a recommendation that we choose an Interim Rabbi for a year. Interim Rabbis are specially trained to help a congregation clarify its goals and objectives for a permanent Senior Rabbi, while performing the rabbinic duties for the synagogue. Since Interim Rabbis are not eligible to become permanent Rabbis, they are in a unique position to work with the congregational leadership to help the congregation prepare for the next spiritual leader.