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Our Rabbi, Our Transition

Our Interim Rabbi

Dear City Shul Community,

On behalf of the Interim Rabbi Search Committee and your Leadership Team, I am delighted to share the exciting news that after a productive and thoughtful search process, Rabbi Danny Gottlieb has been chosen to serve as our interim spiritual leader at City Shul. Rabbi Gottlieb brings a wealth of experience, compassion, and a deep commitment to fostering a vibrant and inclusive community.

We are particularly impressed with his deep understanding of what it means to serve as an interim rabbi, and what a congregation needs when its founding rabbi retires. We are confident that his leadership and guidance will be exactly what we need next year, and look forward to his support in our search for a settled rabbi. Rabbi Goldstein, who will be named our Rabbi Emerita, knows Rabbi Gottlieb personally and well, and she has expressed complete support and enthusiasm for his service as our interim Rabbi.

Rabbi Gottlieb will officially assume his role (to be called Transitional Rabbi) on July 1, 2024, and we look forward to welcoming him to our City Shul family. In the new year, we will organize an opportunity for you to meet Rabbi Gottlieb and share in the excitement of this new chapter for our congregation.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to members of the search committee: Jessica Wyman, Alena Strauss, Phil Silver, Elissa Strom, Ian Schnoor, and Anne Sealey. Your dedication to City Shul is integral to our success, and we are confident that Rabbi Gottlieb will build upon the strong foundation that has been laid by our community.

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Rabbi Danny Gottlieb as he embarks on this journey with us.

With gratitude and anticipation,

Danielle Adler

Chair, City Shul Interim Rabbi Search Committee

 

Please click HERE for additional FAQs on this transition

Note from our Leadership Team

 

Dear friends,

For congregations whose founding Rabbi is retiring, the Union for Reform Judaism emphasizes that there are two processes that take place simultaneously: a search and a transition. The search is the process of finding the next Rabbi, and is the familiar process of a job competition. The transition goes deeper, takes longer, and is a spiritual process. 

The transition is the process we go through, each individually, and as a community, in — 

Accepting and embracing our new covenant with our Rabbi Emerita

Coming to understand and appreciate who we are as Jews and as a Jewish community without her active guidance

Becoming ready to welcome a new Rabbinical leader

And finally, accepting and embracing our covenant with the Rabbinical successor.

Having an effective transition is the goal that drives our decisions about search. One way to have an effective transition is to have an overlap between the retiring Rabbi and the successor Rabbi, but it is not the only way, and it is not the way that we will be using. We always said that we would only hire if a suitable candidate were found and, after a full, fair and diligent search, we had to conclude that we will use one of the other ways to have an effective transition. Our effective transition will be grounded in:

  • Having the opportunity next year to say a full and heartfelt congratulations to Rabbi Goldstein, who remains our full-time, completely committed Rabbi until June 2024. We will celebrate her legacy and accept and embrace our new covenant with her as our Rabbi Emerita.

  • Bringing in a person who is trained and ready to help a congregation go through the transition process, and to help each of us through the spiritual experience of discovering our Jewish selves anew. This type of person is called an Interim Rabbi, and they are trained and prepared for exactly this task.

  • Having had the support and care of our Interim Rabbi, searching for and finding our next permanent Rabbi once we are ready to welcome and embrace them.

  • Maintaining stability on the bimah and preserving our musical services by retaining a single Cantorial soloist to co-lead all of our High Holiday and Shabbat morning services for the next three years – so that whether the Rabbi on the bimah is Rabbi Goldstein, the Interim Rabbi, or the successor Rabbi, the Cantorial soloist and the music of prayer will always remain the same.

The Search Committee received applications from and met by Zoom with several experienced and interesting clergy candidates, both Rabbis and Cantors. It became clear to us during this process, including through the consultations with our congregation, that we should aim to find a Rabbi rather than a Cantor as our spiritual leader. Our search for a Rabbi may have been somewhat hampered by an error made by the Central Conference of American Rabbis, who overlooked posting our position on their service for six weeks. The CCAR has apologized profusely and they will be changing their process so that congregations will have the ability to see for themselves whether their position has been posted. Importantly for us was that we nonetheless had fine candidates to consider, so we have every reason to believe that we will find the right match in the future.

We want to thank our tireless, thoughtful, incredibly devoted Search Committee: Alia Rosenstock, AM Matte, Barbara Wade Rose, Carly Ziniuk, Danny Gruner, Deniqua Edwards, Elana Ellison, Kaeli MacDonald, Mark Greenberg and Paul Robinson. They worked long and hard to understand the congregation’s needs and assess the candidates. They approached their work as sacred. They had the excitement to find the right person, and the wisdom to advise the Leadership Team that it had become clear that the approach to transition would need to be reconsidered. Their work in understanding the congregation’s needs, as expressed in our town halls, meetings, and survey, will be a guide for us in our future searches. We owe them a debt of gratitude.

We also want to thank everyone who came to the town halls, who spoke with us, who provided guidance through the survey, and who put up a hand to offer their assistance and support. It is our collective devotion to City Shul that is the surety of its future.

We would love to discuss the Rabbinic transition further with you at a town hall we are holding on Tuesday, May 23, at 7:30 pm. Please email connect@cityshul.com if you need the link.

We also look forward to sharing more details on next steps for the Interim Rabbi search and other opportunities for getting involved in the transition in the coming months.

Welcoming our Cantorial Soloist

We are thrilled to welcome Tara Abrams as our single Cantorial Soloist. Tara will be with us throughout the transition period at all of our High Holidays and Shabbat morning services – through Rabbi Goldstein’s final year, the Interim Rabbi’s year, and the successor Rabbi’s starting year. Our thanks to the Cantorial Soloist Search Committee – Stephen Reich (Chair), Rabbi Goldstein, Jeff Cipin, Karen Lewis and Shelley Albert. They ran a swift, fair and competitive process with multiple external applicants, and chose Tara unanimously. Tara’s love for City Shul, for Judaism and for Jewish music shines through on the bimah, and she will be a stable and spiritual presence with us. 

Tara says, “I have become quite fond of the City Shul family over the past 2 years, and am thrilled to have been chosen to assist with the transitions that will take place over the next 3.  I look forward to continuing to raise our voices together at upcoming High Holy Day and Shabbat services.”

Before retiring from her fulltime position as Hazzanit at URJ Temple Har Zion in Thornhill for 20 years, one of Tara’s many accomplishments was making worship services spiritual, inclusive, musically-infused and participatory through the singing of songs that covered the spectrum from traditional to contemporary.  She frequently introduced new music to bring depth of meaning to the liturgy of Shabbat, Festival and High Holy Day services, believing strongly in the power that music has to elevate the soul and enrich the prayer experience.

Rabbi Goldstein says, “There’s no question that music is at the heart City Shul’s spiritual vitality. And now with Hazzanit Tara Abrams joining our bima team on a consistent basis for Shabbatot and holidays, working first with me and then working with our transition and new Rabbinic leadership, we will not only keep that vitality strong, but more—we will joyfully, steadily, dependably, and professionally grow it. I have known Tara as a colleague for many years and feel blessed that she will be part of the City Shul family now and into our exciting future."

Sincerely,

Liron Taub, Chair

Barbara Wade Rose, President

Anne Sealey, Vice-Chair, and Chair of the Search Committee

Tue, February 27 2024 18 Adar I 5784