CONGREGATION ALBERT’S JOURNEY TO A NEW RABBI FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)
When is Rabbi Rosenfeld planning to retire?
Rabbi Rosenfeld has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2021. We are grateful for his many contributions to Congregation Albert (CA) over the past eight plus years, and will continue to appreciate his leadership during the next 16 months. And, of course, when June 2021 rolls around, we will wish him much mazel on his retirement. We are happy that he and his wife, Michele Hope, will remain part of our CA family.
When will we start looking for a new Rabbi?
We are formally beginning our search for a new rabbi April 2020 by finalizing the members of the CA Rabbi Search Committee (RSC). While 14 months may seem like quite a ways off, starting early will allow us to offer multiple opportunities for ALL our members to provide input and participate in the selection process.
Why are we starting the Rabbi search so far in advance?
While 14 months may seem like quite a ways off, starting early will allow us to offer multiple opportunities for ALL our members to provide input as we work together this year to create a description of our aspirations for our new rabbi that reflects the highest priorities of our CA membership. By beginning our rabbi search now, we will also be able to bring our new rabbi on board without having to bring in an interim rabbi.
Additionally, the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) has a national calendar related to job postings and the selection process for new Rabbis. Congregations seeking a new Rabbi are expected to send their posting information to the CCAR by no later than the first week of September. Initial candidate interviews generally take place in December and January. This time frame allows both recruiting congregations and interested Rabbis sufficient time to transition from their former position to their new position by the beginning of the July 1 congregational fiscal year.
Is there a specific process we will be using to select a new Rabbi?
We are fortunate to have a framework for this process that has been developed by the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and the CCAR. The URJ and CCAR process is based on the work of William Bridges, PhD, a well-respected expert on organizational change and transition. We will be using this framework as we conduct our search for our new CA rabbi.
If you are interested in learning more about the URJ process, visit our CA Rabbi Search web page a https://www.congregationalbert.org/rabbi-search to view the four modules outlining that process. We also encourage you to visit the CA RSC web page for more information about the search process, including our “Congregation Albert’s Journey to a new Rabbi Frequently Asked Questions.”
Who is in charge of the CA Rabbi Search?
The CA Board of Trustees (Board) has asked Charna Lefton and Joe Weiss to serve as the Co- Chairs of our CA Rabbi Search Committee (RSC). Below are brief biographies from Charna and Joe.
Many of you know Charna as a long-time member of CA who was born and raised in Albuquerque. Charna is a life-long member of our CA family – she was named, attended Hebrew and religious school, celebrated her Bat Mitzvah and was confirmed at Congregation Albert. While she spent a number of years living and working in other locations, CA remained her strongest congregational connection to Judaism. She has been back in Albuquerque and an active member of CA for the past 15 years. Her professional background in executive leadership, communications, facilitation and consensus building makes her skill set an excellent fit for our CA RSC Co-Chair.
Joe Weiss has been in Albuquerque for about 23 years after growing up on the East Coast. He has worked for The University of New Mexico almost his entire time in New Mexico and currently is the Senior Director of Development for the Anderson School of Management at UNM. He grew up in a "conservidox" synagogue and has been a member of CA for over 10 years, having joined when he married Roxanne Turley. They have one son (Levi, 8) who attends and enjoys CA religious school.
Who else will serve on the RSC?
In addition to Charna and Joe, there will be five other members of the CA RSC. To ensure that the RSC represents the diversity of our CA family, members will represent different CA membership demographics, such as age, gender, years of membership, parental status, etc. The RSC will not include any current CA Board members, clergy or staff with the exception of the CA Board President, who serves as a non-voting ex-officio member.
In addition to the RSC, Charna and Joe will convene an Advisory Group of CA members who represent our many stakeholder groups, including the various organizations, committees, educational programs, and other constituencies that are so important to our congregational identity. You will find a list of stakeholder groups on our Congregation Albert’s Journey to a New Rabbi web page. Please contact us at our CA RSC email – firstname.lastname@example.org – if you believe there is a stakeholder group we have unintentionally omitted.
After we name the five other members of the RSC we will share that information with you. We plan to have the RSC Advisory Group in place in by the beginning of May.
What are the roles and responsibilities of the CA RSC and Advisory Committee members?
Our first goal is to solicit input from the congregation to help us clearly identify the knowledge, skills, abilities and characteristics our CA family deems most important in our new Rabbi. The information we receive from our CA congregants will be used to develop a specific description of the spiritual leader we are seeking to guide CA into the future. As we journey through the URJ/CCAR Rabbi recruitment and selection process, four distinct principles will guide the CA RSC and Advisory Group, and define their roles and responsibilities.
• Everyone will have opportunities to provide input, and all comments will be shared with the Advisory Committee.
• The Advisory Committee will analyze the comments and provide guidance to the RSC about what characteristics, skills and abilities CA members think are important for a new rabbi to have. This information will be used to develop our job announcement.
• The RSC will interview candidates and select finalists. The finalists will be invited to visit CA and for another interview.
• The RSC will make a selection recommendation to the CA Board of Trustees. The congregation will vote on the Board-approved candidate. Thus, the new rabbi will ultimately be selected by a vote of CA members.
How can I serve on the CA RSC?
The CA RSC will be selected by co-chairs Charna Lefton and Joe Weiss based on a number of criteria to ensure that the group represents the broadest possible congregational demographics and experience. We are fortunate to have many, many members of our CA family who would be qualified CA RSC members. Nonetheless, we need to limit the CA RSC to a workable number for this process.
Many members of the Congregation have expressed their interest in serving on the CA RSC to Board members, clergy and staff, as well as to Charna and Joe. Other members have suggested we consider specific individuals. All suggestions and volunteer offers will be reviewed by Charna and Joe. Ultimately, they will make the decision regarding who serves on the CA RSC. Their goal is to ensure that the RSC is a neutral and broadly representative group with the requisite experience to conduct a comprehensive and transparent search process that ensures maximum participation opportunities for all our CA family. If you have an questions or concerns about the RSC, don’t hesitate to contact Charna and Joe via an email to email@example.com.
How can I serve on the Advisory Committee?
Our preference is that the various formal and informal stakeholder groups will select their representative to the Advisory Group. The RSC will also invite stakeholder group representatives based on stakeholder group input, congregant requests to serve, and in other situations where the stakeholder groups are unable to identify a representative. Those currently serving as officers or committee chairs of stakeholder groups are exempted from also serving as Advisory Group members so that other members have an opportunity to serve in a CA volunteer capacity. Each stakeholder group will select their advisory group representative. In early March Charna and Joe sent out a request for via email requesting those interested in serving on the Advisory Group to indicate their interest via an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will all CA stakeholders’ groups have Advisory Committee representatives?
That depends. Smaller or more informal stakeholder groups may choose to “share” an Advisory Group member who will represent more than one group. Other stakeholder groups may decide to forego appointing an Advisory Group member and just participate as individuals in other congregation-wide activities designed to collect input into the Rabbi selection process.
What about members that are not on a CA Committee or in a CA organization but represent an important demographic?
Many of the stakeholder groups we’ve identified are more informal groups that represent demographics and interests as opposed to committees and organizations. You will find a list of stakeholder groups on our Congregation Albert’s Journey to a New Rabbi web page. Please contact us at our CA RSC email listed at the end of this FAQ if you believe there is a stakeholder group we have unintentionally omitted. Once the Advisory Group is finalized, we will update the stakeholder groups list with the name of their Advisory Group member and share it with the congregation, as well as post it on our webpage.
Charna and Joe both represent and deeply appreciate the diversity of our CA family. They are committed to making the rabbi search process inclusive and welcoming.
What if I’m not in any specific stakeholder group? How do I get my ideas and concerns heard?
In addition to the input provided by stakeholder groups, the RSC and Advisory Group will host meetings a number of and activities over several months open to all CA members. We will also distribute a survey (both on paper on electronically) to help us identify what experience, qualities and skills we would like our new rabbi to have. As noted above, we are fully committed to providing multiple input opportunities.
How will focus groups and meeting work?
The focus groups and facilitated meetings are designed to guide us through the process of discussing and refining what characteristics and skills we envision for the rabbi who will lead our congregation into the future. The RSC will use CA members’ feedback to develop our new Rabbi’s recruitment announcement and interview questions. Stakeholder groups will work directly with their Advisory Group representative to decide how they will solicit and collect feedback from their members.
Stakeholder group meetings will generally be led by each group’s Advisory Group representative who will have participated in a meeting facilitation training. The larger meetings for any member of the congregation will be led by a professional facilitator who is not a CA member. This will ensure a true “third party neutral” facilitator for the larger, more general meetings. The professional facilitator will be well-briefed in our rabbi search process. A note-taker will be present at all focus group meetings to capture the ideas and information shared. If you are an experienced facilitator, mediator and/or meeting manager and would like to volunteer to help facilitate our input gathering process, please let Charna and Joe know via an email to email@example.com.
UPDATE: Due to the challenges and issues associated with the global novel corona virus pandemic, the RSC has had to readjust our original timeline and meeting design. All meetings will be held online during June via the Zoom electronic meeting platform. Meetings will still be facilitated as noted above. Questions for the meetings will be sent out in advance via email. If you are unable to participate in any of the scheduled online meetings, you are encouraged to submit your reponses to the questions via email or regular mail by no later than June 30, 2020, at either one of the addresses provided below. If you are aware of any CA members who do not have access to email or the internet, please let them know they can request a mailed copy of the meeting information and questions by contacting the CA office at 505-883-1818, or either contact the CA RSC via email with the their name(s).
U.S. Postal address:
ATTN: RabbI Search Meetings 3800 Louisiana Blvd. NE Albuquerque, NM 87110
How will the input and information collected by the Advisory Committee, focus and facilitated group meetings, surveys, etc. be analyzed?
We have partnered with the UNM Anderson School of Management Small Business Institute to have five graduate students compile and analyze the feedback from our surveys. Members of our Advisory Group will work together to consolidate the information gathered in stakeholder group meetings and will identify the overall trends and priorities of the stakeholder groups and present that information to the RSC. Working with the professional facilitator, the RSC will combine the results of the congregation-wide survey results, the stakeholder group priorities and the input from the larger congregational meetings to identify the primary trends regarding how we want to move forward as a congregation, as well as the most important characteristics needed in our next rabbi so that s/he can help lead us there.
Is there a schedule for this process?
The job announcement for our new Rabbi is due to the CCAR in early September. We anticipate convening the CA RSC and the Advisory group during June. We also anticipate a survey going out in late March that will be available to complete either in hard copy or online.
Starting in May, we will initiate stakeholder group, focus groups and facilitated meetings to solicit input from our CA family. By June we will be reviewing and analyzing the information collected through the various feedback channels. The first draft of our job announcement is anticipated to be completed in July, and we will provide opportunities for CA members to review it. We plan to finalize the job announcement in August so it can be submitted in early September.
UPDATE: Due to the challenges and issues associated with the global novel corona virus pandemic, the RSC has had to readjust our original timeline and meeting design. All meetings will be held online during June via the Zoom electronic meeting platform. Meetings will be completed by June 30, and results presented to the RSC around July 15, 2020. The RSC will use the congregational input to create the job announcement in August, which we will share with the congregation prior to submitting it during the first week in September.
From September through December of this year we will review incoming applications and score them. Our interview process will start in late November or early December and run through January, 2021. We hope to be able to bring the top candidates to Albuquerque for second interviews in January or February of next year. Charna and Joe anticipate providing the CA RSC’s recommendations to the Board sometime in February or March of next year, and we expect the new Rabbi to be on board July 1, 2021.
Where can I find out more about the Congregation Albert Journey to a New Rabbi?
We will provide regular updates via our Journey to a New Rabbi web page, as well as the CA Facebook page, email, Ma Yesh, announcements at services and events, and future correspondence. We have also established a dedicated email account for our CA rabbi search. Please feel free to send an email at any time if you have questions, concerns or other input for the CA RSC. That email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.