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TEMPLE SINAI UPDATE ON SEARCH PROCESS
FOR SENIOR RABBI TO THE CONGREGATION

JULY 20, 2015

Dear members of Congregation Temple Sinai:

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying various plans of the summer!  As you all are aware from previous announcements, our congregation is now in the process of seeking a replacement for our Rabbi, Edward P. Cohn.  My purpose in this message is to update you on our process and share with you ways that you can provide input.  The Rabbinical search process allows us the exiting opportunity to plan for the future of our congregation while taking time to reflect on who we are and why we feel committed to Temple Sinai.
As president of the congregation, I also serve as the chair of our search committee.  I want to emphasize that the selection of our new Senior Rabbi is going to be a congregational effort!  We need and want your input.  The search committee itself will tend to the mechanics of this process, but will strive to make choices that reflect the desires of this congregation.  Our constitution and by-laws provide for some specific requirement in the make-up of the search committee, and I have followed these in selecting our search committee members.  You should also note that the constitution requires that once a candidate is recommended by the search committee, it must be ratified by a vote of the Board of Trustees.  Time must then be allowed for the Congregation to have a chance to meet the candidate, and then the entire Congregation must approve the Board’s recommendation through a congregational vote.  A good process will ensure we collect as much input as we can prior to these requests for approval.

Our search committee will comprise the following individuals that have roles as current Board of Trustee executive committee members, Board members, past Temple presidents and the current presidents of our Sisterhood and Brotherhood.  Please welcome them as part of our process:  Judge Robin Giarrusso, Tracey Dodd, Gene Fendler, Sandy Levy, Carey Becker, Jack Benjamin, Jr., Hope Meyer, Bonnie Aaronson, Joanie Tuchman, and Tim Gold.  As a committee, we will appreciate your support as we move the process forward.

A survey is in the process of being sent to the entire congregation via either electronic or US mail to enable us to take a measure of our congregation.  We need to come together and share our collective views on why we are together as a congregation and our collective vision of its future.  What are our strengths and opportunities to grow through changes?  What traditions are we passionate about continuing and  which ones should we consider changing?  We have not taken time to consider these questions on a congregational level in some time, certainly not since Hurricane Katrina.  Please do your best to complete this survey and have back to us by August 3, 2015.  Now is a good time to confer and then also consider what attributes we will want in our new Senior Rabbi to lead us to our vision.  (The time has been extended.  Please click here to take the survey.)

In addition to our survey, we invite you to participate in one of our small focus group meetings (parlor meetings).  Although subject to change, we are anticipating 6-7 such meetings, to be hosted at congregants’ homes in various neighborhoods.  Please see the listing of dates and times currently available at the end of this message, more will be added.  I want to thank Amy Haspel, past board member, and Keith Liederman, current board member for their work in coordinating these meetings.  If you are interested in attending a parlor meeting, please call Carla in the Temple office at 504 861 3693 to reserve your spot.  Also thanks to those that have agreed to host the meetings.

The input we receive from these meetings and the survey will be compiled and shared with the entire congregation.  We will use these results to craft an application for our Senior Rabbi position that will be placed with the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), which is the entity that manages this process for Rabbi’s in the United States.  Our target for submitting this application, after input is obtained and considered, is around the High Holidays.  Ultimately, we are attempting to find a candidate to be approved and installed sometime in mid-calendar 2016, although we will take the time sufficient to find a desirable candidate.
We will have future updates for you as our process progresses. Future communications will come from our search committee.  Again, we encourage you to engage in this process and we want to hear from you!  You may also contact any of us on the search committee to share ideas and/or thoughts.
We continue to be a strong congregation, with a proud past and very promising future, thanks you, our members, clergy and our past leaders.  It is with great respect that I see the commitment to our collective well-being in the comments that I receive, the caring that we show for one another in our congregation, and the engaging way our children have responded to the learning of Torah, the religious school, and congregational life.  We can be proud of our Temple and we will embrace this process with our collective choice of a leader that will take us to our vision of community leadership and a Jewish future.

B’Shalom
Bob Brickman, President Temple Sinai

Currently available focus group meeting dates:
July 28 – Lakefront area, 6:30pm
August 4 – Metairie, 6:30pm
August 16 – Garden District, mid-morning/early afternoon (TBD)
August 18 – Old Metairie, 6:30pm
August 31 – Uptown, 6:30pm