Member News

A new Rabbi for SWESRS: Outlining the process

by Sue Jackson - Chair, Rabbinic Recruitment Group

As you are all aware, Rabbi Lisa sadly but understandably has decided that the time has come for her to leave us and to move back to her family in Manchester.  Council has now begun the search for a new Rabbi.

A Rabbinic Recruitment Group was established to manage the recruitment and selection of a new Rabbi.  It immediately began a community wide consultation to explore what is important to us at SWESRS and what we’ll be looking for in a new rabbi:

  • A questionnaire was sent to all members, both electronically and by post.
  • Around 25% of our members were invited to participate in focus groups by zoom. Some people were invited by category (for example new members, older members, teenage members, bnei-mitzvah families, those aged 30-50 etc.); whilst others were invited by postcode (e.g. Ilford, Brentwood, Romford etc.).
  • An Open Community Meeting was held by zoom so that participants could:
    • Find outhow we plan to recruit for a new Rabbi
    • Learn the ways in which we will engage in community consultation
    • Share with others in breakout rooms what is key for us in recruiting a new Rabbi
    • Hear from other members what they would like to have in a new appointment
    • Discover what happens next
  • Key stakeholders (e.g. choirmasters, office staff, teachers, life vice-presidents etc.) were invited to present a paper to and/or attend a meeting with the Rabbinic Recruitment Group.

A summary of the findings of the consultation can be found here.

Based on the consultation as well as drawing on the recruitment pack used last time around, a new Rabbinic Recruitment Pack for applicants was produced, with advice from Reform Judaism and two HR specialists in our own community. The following timescale has been agreed:

EGMs                                                   3rd and 17th February

Position advertised with RJ             18th February

Closing date for applications          18th March

Applicants advised of outcome       30th March

Interviews                                            6th April

Possible 2nd interviews                     13th April

In the interim, we are looking to appoint an interim Rabbi to work with us until a new Rabbi is in post.  We will of course keep you informed of progress.