Where we are. What we heard

Where we are

The rabbi search is in full swing. The Search Committee has received many applications and has interviewed (via video conference) some of those candidates. In February, several candidates will come to the WJC for interviews with the Board of Directors, Rabbi Jonathan, and Andrew Maayan. The finalist candidate(s) will be invited to come for a weekend in March to lead services, teach a class, and for other activities. At that point, the Search Committee will solicit feedback on the candidates from congregants.

What we heard

Soon after the rabbi search was announced, we asked for the congregation’s input via an on-line survey. Thank you to everyone who participated! The first question asked what was most important to you in a rabbi. It turned out that all of the qualities listed were ranked very important.

The top choices, however, were about how the rabbi engages with the congregation:
• Personable (Interested in and approachable by congregants)
• Inspirational
• Service leader who can engage congregants in the prayer service
• Welcoming

The next group of highly ranked answers were about the rabbi’s role as a Jewish leader (and music!):
• Gives meaningful sermons
• Tolerant of different levels of observance
• Spiritual guide
• Pastoral and counseling skill
• Musical
• Hebrew proficiency
• Knowledgeable about synagogue practice and halacha (Jewish law)
• Encourages children’s participation

Finally, these are the qualities that, while still important, were ranked lower than the others:
• Self Assurance
• Effective Adult Educator
• Youth Mentor
• Visionary
• Representative to the local community
• Passion for Social Action
• Connection to Israel

The second question of the survey asked what else we should look for in a rabbi. We received many thoughtful responses. The “word cloud” below shows those responses. The more frequently given responses are shown in larger text.

The Search Committee appreciates the many people who answered the survey (and those who have given us input via email at rabbisearch@wjcshul.org). The qualities and traits you have identified will be a key part of the evaluation process as we search for a new rabbi.