Rabbi Search Update August 16, 2018
Rabbi Search Update July 20, 2018
Rabbi Gershon Visit
Friday, July 13
5:45 pm Family-friendly Kabbalat Shabbat service—Rabbi Gershon will assist in leading the Friday night service
6:15 pm Family Shabbat Dinner and Ice Cream Party—Meet and Greet Rabbi Gershon during this fun evening
Saturday, July 14
9:30 am Shabbat morning service—Rabbi Gershon will give the Dvar Torah and participate in leading services
12:00 pm Kiddush Luncheon—Rabbi Gerson will lead a Q & A session after Kiddush
6:45 pm Mincha, Ma’ariv & Seudah Slishit—Rabbi Gershon will lead a Torah study between the afternoon and evening services.
Sunday, July 15
8:15 am Morning Minyan
Rabbi William Gershon’s Biography
Rabbi William Gershon visits us from Dallas, Texas where he was the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel, a very large USCJ affiliated synagogue from 1998 until 2016. Rabbi Gershon is a past president of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international organization of Conservative Rabbis. He has served on the Boards of the Jewish Theological Seminary, the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism, Mercaz USA, the Chancellor’s Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Theological Seminary and the National Council of AIPAC. Rabbi Gershon also served on the Boards of the Ann and Nate Levine Academy and Hebrew Free Loan in Dallas.
Rabbi Gershon is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and has been honored by Israel Bonds with The Israel Freedom Award for his tireless efforts and impassioned support of the State of Israel.
Rabbi Gershon was raised in New Jersey and grew up in the Conservative Movement. He graduated with distinction from the Joint Program of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and Columbia University with degrees in Bible and Ancient Near-Eastern Languages. He received his Masters in Jewish Studies and Rabbinic Ordination from JTS in 1987. In addition, he was the recipient of many academic awards.
In addition to serving as a pulpit rabbi in Dallas, Rabbi Gershon served pulpits in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Southfield, Michigan.
Rabbi Gershon’s inspiring sermons, dynamic teaching and creative leadership have made an indelible impact on the congregations he has led and the Rabbinical Assembly.
Rabbi Gershon has three wonderful children, Benji, Eliana and Yoni.
Letter to Congregation 3/21/18
|March 21, 2018
Dear Fellow Congregants,
The Rabbinical Search Committee is up and running. Please feel free to talk to any of our Committee members regarding your questions, concerns, thoughts, and hopes about the selection of Beth El Congregation’s next rabbi:
Linda Barzilai, Co-President
Barbara Becker, Membership Vice President
Ben Cooper, Co-Chair, Ritual Vice President
Greg Harris, Co-Chair, Board Member
Zachary Kramer, Board Member
Daniel Rosen, Ritual Committee Member
Gail Ulan, Board Member
As announced in the March 17 Beth El Billboard email, Rabbi Lavinsky and Beth El have agreed that the Rabbi will conclude his professional duties at Beth El as of March 23. With this development, Beth El will work through the Rabbinical Assembly to conduct our search.
The Committee has concluded that it is in the congregation’s best interest to retain an interim rabbi to serve the congregation while we conduct our search for a permanent rabbi. We expect this process to take six months to a year. We feel that retention of an interim rabbi best promotes the congregation’s continuity and also secures us the time for the thoughtful and open selection process we all want. Beth El followed just this approach when Rabbi Moshe Tutnauer (of blessed memory) rejoined us for year while we conducted the successful search that brought Rabbi Lavinsky to Beth El for fifteen years. Our recent experience with the selection of a new cantor showed us the benefits of a patient and thorough search to find the right person, which may take two or more rounds of applications, interviews, and negotiations. You may recall that in our first wave we invited three cantorial candidates without choosing to retain any of them. It was only by reopening the application process to new candidates that we found, to our delight, Cantor Jonathan Angress.
As part of the process of understanding your thoughts and concerns, answering your questions, and identifying the characteristics, skills, and interests that you would like to see in our next rabbi, the Committee will hold four open houses, with the last open house coinciding with the congregation’s annual meeting. We chose a variety of days and time in order to accommodate the schedules and transportation needs of as many congregants as possible:
Sunday, March 25, 9:15am Open meeting for Talmud Torah and Preschool parents
Tuesday, April 10, 6:30 p.m. Open meeting after Minyan
Saturday, April 14, 12:15 p.m. Open meeting after Shabbat kiddush
Sunday, April 29, 10:00 a.m. Open meeting after Annual Meeting
We heartily encourage you to attend and participate as we look forward to a successful search for our next Rabbi.
Ben Cooper Greg Harris
Ritual Vice-President Member, Board of Directors