Dear Members,

We would like to give you an update on both our strategic planning process and the Temple’s clergy transition.  We are very fortunate that Rabbi Berkman has so seamlessly been integrated into our community and that there will be continuity in the spiritual leadership of the synagogue.

We are pleased to announce that our strategic planning process has officially launched! Last week, our consultants from CJP’s Leadership Development institute, Margie Zohn and Guy Sapirstein, began contacting current and former congregants to learn about our community. These individual conversations coupled with conversations that have already occurred, with lay leaders and staff, will inform a congregation wide survey that will be sent to every member in December. In late January or early February, we will invite the community to come together to hear the results of the survey and to identify our core community values and what makes us unique.

As you know, Rabbi Sonia continues in her current role with us full time until June 30, 2018 and Rabbi Berkman is committed through June 30, 2020. The Board of Trustees has met twice since hearing the news of Rabbi Sonia’s retirement. In the first meeting, Rabbi Sonia spoke with us, encouraging us to be creative in thinking about our next clergy hire, our clergy structure, and how best to meet our needs. At our second meeting we were joined by Rabbi Berkman who is delighted to be engaged in this sacred work with our community and excited by the potential growth opportunities we possess. She too encouraged the Board of Trustees to be creative.

We are grateful that we do not have to be reactive but can be proactive. We do not anticipate starting to search for a permanent clergy until after the first phase of our strategic planning process is complete – sometime around Passover. We will then be in an excellent position having identified the specific skill set we would like in a second full time clergy and thus would be starting a search at that point for someone to join our clergy team permanently in 2019. Searches for rabbis of Reform synagogues are managed by the placement office of the Reform rabbis’ association, the CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis). The process of conducting a search for a rabbi would need to begin by late spring of 2018 for us to have a new rabbi in place at Temple by July 2019.

But what about next year, who will be our clergy in 2018? Our Board of Trustees is also asking that question. We are working with Rabbi Berkman, staff, and lay leaders to identify where we need support and how we can get our communal needs best met next year. The Board of Trustees knows we need to hire for the 2018-2019 year and we are examining exactly what that will look like. We are considering the pros and cons of all options.

We want to encourage you to reach out to us, or any member of the Board of Trustees, individually and, of course, confidentially, if you wish to share your thoughts. Our contact information is below.

Thank you for your involvement in and support of our community during this time of transition and growth.

b’vracha (with blessings),
-Rachel and Georgia

co-presidents@ohabei.org