It was vital to Rabbi Holin that we thoughtfully, transparently and communally work together to find his successor. To this end, we viewed the transitional framework as a Gesher l’Ahteed, a Bridge to the Future. Because this was a time for us to reflect on our rich history and core values to build a connection to the future for the Congregation.
The transitional work was separated into three phases over the next 18 months ending in June 2018 and was underscored with broad member involvement and opportunities to celebrate our founding Rabbi.
Phase 1 Engagement
The first phase focused on engaging our Congregation to articulate the values and vision we wanted to convey in our application for a new rabbi:
By our count, nearly every member of the Congregation participated in some way in this engagement phase of Bridge to the Future. The information collected, along with beautiful letters from many of you to our “new rabbi,” informed an application to the national organization, Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) seeking a new rabbi. I believe the application uniquely represented the Kol Ami community’s values and identity.
Phase 2 Search
The search process began in the fall. Our devoted Search Committee – representing a diverse cross-section of the Kol Ami community – was led by co-chairs David Hyman and Barbara Fink and includes: Neal Beatus, Larry Cohbra, Julie Cohen, Sherry Cohen, Adena Johnston, Janine Pratt, Merle Salkin, and Bob Seltzer.
The Search Committee studied and evaluated a stream of rabbinic applications over several months and vetted those applications against a long list of criteria developed through the engagement process:
Kol Ami received 18 resumes from rabbis across the country:
In December two finalists came to Kol Ami and participated in the following activities:
Throughout the process the Search Committee was in touch with CCAR for guidance, input and feedback. Following the visits, the Search Committee met for a thorough and lengthy discussion on December 18th where they deliberated every imaginable scenario with each of the two excellent candidates. They incorporated the survey feedback from the congregants who attended the D’Var and Adult Education programs of the candidates.