The Board of Directors set up a Search Committee in November. It includes 2 Board members, 6 other members of the congregation, Andrew Maayan (the Senior Administrator) and Rabbi Jonathan.
The goal is to hire a full-time rabbi, who would start over the summer. At that time, Rabbi Jonathan would reduce his hours to part-time. The new rabbi would work closely with Rabbi Jonathan, who will continue to take part in High Holy Day services, as well as other services and activities when possible.
A job description was approved by the Board and posted widely in the Jewish community in December. We received dozens of applications from across the country (and even outside the U.S.). The candidates were Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Jewish Renewal, as well as some who did not identify with any of the Jewish movements.
In December, we conducted an online survey of the congregation. Thank you to all who participated and to those who have emailed us your thoughts (to firstname.lastname@example.org). The survey results helped guide our discussions with candidates.
The Search Committee reviewed all applications and chose to interview 10. Those interviews, which lasted about an hour, were conducted via videoconference. Based on the videoconferences, 5 candidates were invited to visit the WJC where they gave a short teaching and demonstration of their music skills (for the Board and Search Committee), and were interviewed by the Search Committee, Board of Directors, Andrew Maayan, and Rabbi Jonathan.
Based on feedback from the day-long interviews, the Search Committee selected 3 finalist candidates:
• All are musical and have experience leading services and teaching adults and children
• One was ordained by the Reconstructionist movement, one Jewish Renewal, and one is unaffiliated
• One was ordained in 2004, one was ordained earlier this year, and one will be ordained in June
• There are 2 women and 1 man
The next step is to seek input from the congregation on the 3 candidates. Given public health concerns, we are still determining the best way to do this.
After receiving input from the congregation, the Search Committee will make a hiring recommendation to the Board, which may negotiate a contract with one of the candidates. It is also possible that none of the candidates are a good fit for the WJC, and the Board will choose to hire no one at this time (and conduct another search in the future). Any contract the Board signs with a new rabbi is subject to approval by a vote of members of the congregation.