Rabbi Search Committee, Update on Progress

The holidays are over and now we are back to work!


In our last update we shared the work we did in distilling the high-participation survey and 13 in-depth focus groups. We have completed analyzing the data and now are preparing a questionnaire to be submitted to the Rabbinical Assembly to describe what we seek in our next rabbi.

Your voices were clear in your love and dedication to our community and appreciation for what we have built thus far. We heard three key themes/priorities which we will highlight in our communication with the Rabbinical Assembly.

  • Services: Our current rabbi has been a strong worship leader, and we want our next rabbi to build on this foundation. There is a desire for the rabbi to energize our services with contemporary ruach, meaningful sermons, more participatory singing and a lively spirit of community while retaining the traditional elements that we find so meaningful. 
  • Further enhance community connectedness: Both within Shomrei and between the Shomrei community and the broader Montclair/Essex County area. We are looking for the kind of person who can make everyone who walks through our doors feel seen, counted, and important, a community builder who can help us grow our community while still retaining the intimate, heymish feeling that is so central to what Shomrei is all about.
  • Grow the membership: We want our next rabbi to continue to attract new members and to be a draw for them, modeling what a creative, fulfilling, spiritual life looks like. Across all age groups and levels of observance, people want energy, engagement, someone to knit the community together and connect with young families in particular.

We thank you all for your participation to date and will continue to update as we progress with our process. Please continue to send questions and feedback to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Todah Raba!!

Meetings of the Shomrei Rabbi Search Committee

(most recent first) 

October 4, 2021

Discussion of the first draft of the Rabbinical Assembly Questionnaire

  • We have made a good start on the first draft and a have gotten through most of it
  • Discussion of word limits and how to strategically maximize each response
  • Make sure answers align with survey and focus groups 

September 23, 2021

Presentation of the focus group report

  • The subcommittee worked through 47 pages and coded for 15 attributes that were distilled to 3 overarching trends.
  • A summary was drafted.
  • Results will be used to draft the Rabbinical Assembly Questionnaire 

September 9, 2021

Discussion of focus group results

  • 47 pages of notes taken from all meetings
  • Working on “coding” comments to be able to analyze – some code examples:
    • Community Connectedness
    • Pastoral Care
    • Diverse Teacher
    • Social Justice
  • We had almost half of our adult membership participate

Conversations with other communities

  • Committee members have had conversations with other synagogues that have recently installed a new rabbi to see what they did that worked in finding the perfect fit.

What do you think?