Qabbalat Shabbat: Friday, 6:00 p.m. Torah Study: Saturday, 9:00-11:00 a.m. Weekday Minyan: 6:15 p.m.

Rabbinic Transition

Rabbi Elaine Zecher

Our New Senior Rabbi

elaine

 

 

It is with excitement and joy that we announce that Rabbi Elaine Zecher has been officially selected by the Rabbinic Search Committee, the Temple Israel Board of Trustees, the Leadership Council, and the congregation to be the new Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Boston.

Thank you to all Temple Israel members who participated in this historic vote, either in person or by absentee ballot. With the selection of Rabbi Zecher, we are afforded the opportunity to be a community drawing on its history to help create its future. Rabbi Zecher shares our vision of a community strengthened by the integration of activism, study, worship, and meaningful personal connections. It is also important to note that Rabbi Zecher is our first female Senior Rabbi in the 162-year history of our congregation.

As we continue to both celebrate Rabbi Friedman’s rabbinate and congratulate Rabbi Zecher in the coming months, we encourage you to continue to participate in activities and foster strong relationships with one another. Feel free to contact our Director of Membership and Engagement, Sara Schwindt, at sschwindt@tisrael.org or 617-566-3960 to share your thoughts, talk about your interests, and learn about different ways to get involved our community.

We are a strong congregation, and together, we can all be excited about starting this new chapter.

December 22, 2015

Announcement: Recommendation for Senior Rabbi

Dear Friends,

It is my pleasure to inform you that, after nearly a year of surveys, meetings, conversations, phone calls, and interviews, our journey to find a new Senior Rabbi is one step closer to being complete. The Rabbinic Search Committee, the Temple Israel Board of Trustees, and the Leadership Council are unified in the decision to recommend Rabbi Elaine Zecher to the congregation as our selection for Senior Rabbi.

Together as a community, we have articulated who we are, where we want to go, and what qualities we need in a new Senior Rabbi to get us there. Rabbi Zecher shares our vision of a community strengthened by the integration of activism, study, worship, and meaningful personal connections. With the recommendation of Rabbi Zecher, we are afforded the opportunity to be a community drawing on its history to help create its future.

Rabbi Zecher has been deeply committed to our congregation since 1990, when she started as our first female rabbi. She has been instrumental in adding to the spiritual and intellectual richness of our congregation through innovative initiatives such as the Purple Service, the Learner’s Minyan, and Families with Young Children programming, and an impressive variety of courses for adults and students, including Modern Midrash.

Her impact is also felt far beyond our congregation. Rabbi Zecher has close relationships with interfaith leaders throughout the Boston area, and serves on the Mayor’s Interfaith Advisory Task Force. Under her leadership, we can ensure our congregation’s deep commitment to social justice will continue to develop.

Rabbi Zecher is a prominent figure in the Reform Movement, as she has served as the Vice-President for Leadership of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), chaired its Worship and Practices Committee, and brought her creativity to the national rabbinic and biennial meetings. Most recently, she has been a central force in the creation of the new machzor, Mishkan HaNefesh, which we now use on the High Holy Days.

The Rabbinic Search Committee, the Board of Trustees, and the Leadership Council believe that Rabbi Zecher will be an exceptional leader of Temple Israel, and will provide a clear voice in our congregation, the City of Boston, and across the Reform Movement.

Our congregation can be proud that after such a rigorous and thorough search process, we have found our final candidate within our own community – demonstrating once again our leadership in the Reform Movement.

Although Rabbi Zecher is already a familiar face at Temple Israel, we will have two opportunities for the congregation to meet her as our Senior Rabbi candidate in the coming weeks:

  • Sunday, January 10, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. at Temple Israel
  • Wednesday, January 13, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at Temple Israel

The final step in affirming this selection is approval from the congregation, which will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 21. We have blocked off January 28 as the snow date, should we need it. In advance of this meeting, you will receive by mail the terms of Rabbi Zecher’s contract for your review. At the meeting, Dean Richlin, Chair of the Rabbinic Search Committee, will deliver a presentation to the congregation. I will then describe the terms of Rabbi Zecher’s contract before bringing the matter before the congregation for a vote.

In accordance with the By-laws of Temple Israel, all adult members in good standing are eligible to participate in the congregational vote. A “member in good standing” is defined as one who has fulfilled at least 25% of his or her 2015-16 dues commitment to the congregation. Adult members will have one vote, with a maximum of two votes per family unit. If you have questions or concerns about your membership status, please do not hesitate to contact Sara Schwindt, Director of Membership and Engagement, at 617-566-3960 or sschwindt@tisrael.org.

Absentee ballots can be requested by emailing absentee@tisrael.org or by calling 617-566-3960 by Wednesday, January 6. Please include your current mailing address with your request. In order to be counted in the congregation vote, absentee ballots must arrive at Temple Israel by Tuesday, January 19. Absentee ballots will not be counted in quorum.

If you need assistance with transportation to, or from, Temple Israel on the evening of the congregational vote, please contact us at 617-566-3960 by Thursday, January 14 to request a ride. We will do everything we can to accommodate all requests for transportation assistance.

I hope you will be part of this historic vote for our congregation.

Wishing you a bright and exciting new year,
Chris Noe, President

Rabbinic Transition Documents

For your reference

Get involved

Your Voice Matters

Searching for a new senior rabbi is a sacred endeavor. While our goal is clear – the selection of the best possible senior rabbi for Temple Israel – we need our members to share their dreams for our community to ensure that the goal can be met. The Rabbinic Search Committee has established a separate email address – rabbisearch@tisrael.org – for anyone who wishes to communicate with the Committee. We sincerely welcome all of you to be part of the journey.

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December 9, 2015

Rabbinic Search Update from Chris Noe

Dear Friends,

After recently attending the Union of Reform Judaism Biennial Conference in Orlando, one thing became abundantly clear: people from all across the country have been impressed by the thoroughness, care, and transparency of our rabbinic search process. They see Temple Israel as a model because of the focus we, as a congregation, have had on assessing our strengths and challenges, where we want to go in the future, and what qualities we need in a new Senior Rabbi to get us there.

For the last few years, and especially in the last twelve months, we have established a variety of channels to both listen to, and learn about, what is important to us as a congregation. A core group of lay leaders, including the Tent Talks Committee, Rabbinic Search Committee, the Rabbinic Transition Committee, the Board of Trustees, and the Leadership Council, have been actively absorbing what you have expressed through surveys, small group discussions, and congregational meetings, as well as the hundreds of personal emails, letters, and phone calls from congregants who have reached out to share their constructive thoughts on the rabbinic search process.

In particular, the Rabbinic Search Committee has devoted themselves over the past year to their recommendation of our next Senior Rabbi. As you know, the Committee reached out to over 100 rabbis and lay leaders across the country, soliciting advice, nominations, and candidates for the search. For the past two months, the committee has interviewed and met extensively with four final candidates, as well as engaged the Board of Trustees and Leadership Council in the search process, listening to and absorbing all feedback. The committee’s careful deliberation is a testament to the strength of our community.

Every member of Temple Israel plays an important role in our long-term future. This is especially true now as the Rabbinic Search Committee moves towards finalizing its choice for Senior Rabbi. Per Temple Israel’s bylaws,

“The Senior Rabbi shall be elected and the terms of his or her employment, including tenure and compensation, shall be fixed by the Congregation upon recommendation of the Board of Trustees and subject to the approval of the Council…No Senior Rabbi shall be elected by the Congregation unless recommended by the Board of Trustees subject to the approval of the Council.”

In the coming weeks, the Rabbinic Search Committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. If the Board votes to accept this recommendation, I will bring it to the Leadership Council for approval. If approved by the Council, I will then call for a special meeting of the congregation. We, as a congregation, will vote to elect the Senior Rabbi and the terms of his or her employment based on the recommendation of the Board and approval of the Council. Members must be in good standing in order to vote. Each adult member will have one vote, and each family unit will have up to two adults. Of course, opportunities will be made available for all to interact with the final candidate in advance of the special meeting.

Reflecting back upon the search process, I am immensely proud of the work that we have done together as a community, and I look forward to our continued growth, our next chapter as a leader in the Reform movement, and a community of strong relationships with one another.

Wishing you a Happy Chanukah,

Chris Noe, President

November 18, 2015

Rabbinic Search Update

Dear Temple Israel Community,

Almost a year after we began our rabbinic search, we are now nearing the latter stages of the process to identify the next senior rabbi of Temple Israel. In December, we expect to make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The Board will then make a recommendation to the Leadership Council, who will then recommend a candidate to the Temple Israel community for a vote of approval. Before that vote, which will likely take place in the beginning of January, the congregation will receive an explanation of the reasons why the recommendation has been made and will have the opportunity to meet the recommended candidate. I am writing now to share where we are in the process and what remains to be done by the Rabbinic Search Committee (RSC).

From the beginning of our work, the RSC has constructed a search process to gather information from congregants, develop a comprehensive position description, and create an extensive search and referral process for candidates. We have benefited from information gathered in our TI Tent Talks, heard the thoughts and opinions of congregants in five separate meetings focused on the search, and engaged in outreach to over 100 rabbis and Jewish community activists and professionals to seek recommendations and encourage applications. We also worked closely with the Rabbinic Placement Bureau of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR).

We have heard from many of you individually, in countless conversations and written communications, all of which have been thoughtful and heartfelt. Thank you to each you who have taken the time to convey your thoughts. Please know that we have worked hard to consider and give weight to every experience and insight you have shared.

We received many applications from a robust pool of qualified candidates. We reviewed each application, and conducted hour-long telephone interviews with seven of those who applied. These interviews examined the candidates’ position statements as well as a range of topics including leadership, team building, personal theology, and professional challenges. We also engaged in preliminary reference checking.

Based on this effort, we determined to invite two of these external candidates to visit Temple Israel for two days of interviews, meetings, and other opportunities for engagement, including meeting with members of the Board and Leadership Council. We just completed both of these visits. We also conducted further reference checks on these two candidates.

We also conducted an extensive process of considering the candidacies of Rabbi Zecher and Rabbi Morrison. In October, we interviewed each rabbi for two and one-half hours, focusing on the same topics that we addressed with the external candidates. We conducted a preliminary round of reference checking, and recently conducted a second, extended interview, with each candidate. Rabbi Zecher and Rabbi Morrison will also meet individually for an extended interview session with members of the Board and Leadership Council.

We will continue to gather facts, as necessary, and soon we will begin our deliberations. In doing so, please know that the entire Rabbinic Search Committee understands that we represent all of you and feel keenly the weight of that responsibility. We are, therefore, working to the best of our ability, and as hard as we know how, to make the decision that will best serve the Temple Israel community, now and into the future.

L’Shalom,

Dean Richlin

Chair of the Rabbinic Search Committee

To contact the Rabbinic Search Committee, email rabbisearch@tisrael.org.

September 9, 2015

Rabbinic Search Update

Dear Temple Israel Community,

As the Rabbinic Search Committee enters the next phase of the search process, we want to update you on the progress we have made over the summer months, and provide more detail on the upcoming timeline.

Since the application for senior rabbi became active in June, we have received a significant number of applications from highly qualified candidates and expect to continue to receive additional applications in the coming weeks. After careful consideration, and true to our original plan for an open search, we have determined the process by which we will conduct screening interviews of a number of external candidates which will begin this month. We will meet preliminarily with our two internal candidates in October. We plan to evaluate the candidates based on the priorities identified by the congregation through recent surveys, congregational meetings, Tent Talks, and countless one-on-one conversations. This information can be found on the Rabbinic Transition page on the Temple Israel website.

We are working towards a goal of making a recommendation to the Board and Leadership Council early this winter, and are currently on track to meet this timeline. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about the rabbinic transition process, please reach out to us at rabbisearch@tisrael.org.

We wish you Shanah Tovah, a healthy and happy new year, and we look forward to seeing the entire congregation celebrate the forthcoming High Holy Days together.

L’Shalom,
The Rabbinic Search Committee

August 5, 2015

Rabbinic Search Update

Dear Temple Israel Community,

After yesterday’s hail storm, we hope you are enjoying the warm summer weather today. The Rabbinic Search Committee has continued to meet regularly throughout the summer, and we are pleased to report that we are on track with our intended timeline.

The application for senior rabbi became active in early June, and we are excited about the response we have been receiving. While we have started to review the candidates, we continue to encourage you to share your thoughts, suggestions, questions, and concerns. Engaging in conversation with Temple Israel congregants and with rabbis all over the country has been, and will continue to be, a critical part of the search process.

L’Shalom,

The Rabbinic Search Committee

July 8, 2015

RSC Chair Dean Richlin's Remarks at the Annual Gathering (June 11, 2015)

June 19, 2015

Rabbinic Search Update

Dear Friends,

As I begin my two-year term as President of the Congregation, I want to take this opportunity to thank Dean Richlin, the chair of the Rabbinic Search Committee (RSC), for his excellent summary at the Annual Meeting on the current status of the search for the next Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel. After months of surveys, town hall meetings, and open lines of communication, the application for Senior Rabbi was officially posted through the CCAR last week, and is now available on the Temple Israel website. Based on the over 100 conversations the RSC has had with rabbis around the country, we expect a robust pool of applicants for this open process.

As you may recall, we informed the congregation previously about Rabbi Elaine Zecher’s intent to apply for the position. Rabbi Jeremy Morrison recently informed the RSC that he has now decided to apply for the position as well. Rabbi Morrison’s decision to apply for the position does not alter his plans to take a one-year leave of absence beginning on July 1, 2015.

Applications should start coming in over the next few weeks and continue throughout the summer. I am looking forward to moving through this exciting process with you. While all further information about candidates will be kept strictly confidential, the RSC will continue to keep you updated about the search process as we move forward. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the RSC at rabbisearch@tisrael.org.

Shabbat Shalom,

Chris Noe, President

June 10, 2015

Senior Rabbi Position Description

Dear Temple Israel Community,

We are writing to share with you the exciting news that our application for Senior Rabbi has been publicly posted through the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) Rabbinic Placement Commission.

In our pursuit of a robust pool of candidates, we have been listening to your suggestions and have been engaging in scores of conversations with rabbis all over the country. If you know of a candidate who may be interested in applying, we encourage you to share with them that the application is now available on the CCAR website and refer them to it. All interested candidates must apply through CCAR.

While all the information about candidates will be kept strictly confidential, we will continue to keep you updated about the search process as we move forward. In the meantime, we would like to encourage all of you to please join us tomorrow, Thursday, June 11th at Temple Israel for our Annual Meeting. We will share a brief update with the congregation on the search process thus far and will be celebrating the extraordinary outgoing and incoming leadership of our incredibly diverse community.  We hope to see you there.

L’Shalom,

The Rabbinic Search Committee

May 6, 2015

Rabbinic Search Update

Dear Friends,

The Rabbinic Search Committee has been actively reaching out to different groups in our congregation to get clarity on who we are and what we hope to find in a new senior rabbi. Together with information gathered from the survey, congregational meetings, and one-on-one conversations, a few clear themes began to emerge.

As a congregation, we are looking for a senior rabbi who is:

  • Relational. It is important for a senior rabbi to be connected, outgoing, and proactive in getting to know congregants.
  • Spiritual. We are looking for a senior rabbi who lives Judaism and helps others find it.
  • Respected. This can be manifested in many ways – scholarship, sermons, social justice, or a voice in Boston or the national Reform movement.
  • Entrepreneurial. We want a senior rabbi who is willing to make change, be a good leader, and a team builder who handles diversity well.

Interestingly, the importance of these qualities was consistent among members regardless of age, tenure at Temple Israel, or nature and degree of Temple engagement. Being able to narrow down the qualities that our congregation feels are most important in a senior rabbi has significantly moved the search process forward. Now that we are concluding the research phase of the search, we are entering the applicant phase, which is outlined in further detail below:

June 1 TI submits position description to Rabbinic Placement Commission.
December The Committee recommends a candidate or candidates to the Board, and the Board votes to recommend a candidate to the congregation, subject to the approval of the Leadership Council.
January The Leadership Council votes. If the Council approves the Board’s recommendation, there will be a special congregational meeting and vote.

Thank you for your continued participation in this process, which has pointed us in the right direction to find the best senior rabbi for our congregation’s needs. Please feel free to reach out to us in person, by phone, or at rabbisearch@tisrael.org to share your questions, concerns, suggestions, or comments. We look forward to hearing from you.

L’Shalom,
The Rabbinic Search Committee

April 21, 2015

Congregational Meeting Review

Throughout March, the RSC held “Town Hall”-style meetings to ensure the full participation on the TI community in the search process. If you were unable to attend the meetings or would like to review the process, logistics and frequently-asked questions, please take a look at the Meeting Recap:

April 8, 2015

Rabbinic Search Update

Since its inception in December, the Rabbinic Search Committee (RSC) has been meeting weekly to move our search forward. In February, we developed a rabbinic search survey to solicit feedback on key characteristics most important in the new senior rabbi. We are currently mining through that data, and it has already been extraordinarily helpful in understanding the needs of our congregation. Thank you to everyone who participated.

In March, we held five congregational meetings dedicated solely to the rabbinic transition. Over 120 congregants attended these meetings, in which we answered questions about the search and shared information about the process. By listening to your opinions, concerns, and suggestions, we have been able to further define our collective vision on what type of senior rabbi we want to lead us in the future. In the congregational meetings we also shared ideas on how to get the best candidates to apply. Our internal candidate, Rabbi Zecher, is supportive of the open search and the reflective process leading up to it. Our belief is that whoever is selected as our next Senior Rabbi will move forward with greater strength from the search being open to the best and brightest Rabbis.

The RSC recently met with Rabbi Friedman to hear his reflections on his tenure in the role of senior rabbi. His unique perspective has been extremely valuable in defining the parameters of our search. We also met with the head of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) placement office to ask how they can help us attract the best candidates for the position. Additionally, members of the RSC have been attending the ongoing TI Tent Talks and subsequent debrief sessions to gather as much information as possible about the priorities of our congregation.

The RSC is now preparing the position application, which will be posted in June with the CCAR. Between now and June, we will continue to reach out to different cohorts in our congregation in order to get better clarity of who we are and what we will need from a new senior rabbi.

Please watch for updates in ChaiLights. Reach out to us at rabbisearch@tisrael.org to share your questions, concerns, suggestions, or comments. We want to hear from you.

Wishing you a happy Passover,
The Rabbinic Search Committee

March 4, 2015

Announcement about Suzie Jacobson

Dear Friends,

As you know, Rabbi Morrison’s decision to leave created a gap in leadership for our education programs and for the clergy staff generally. While there is no one who can fill Rabbi Morrison’s shoes, we are delighted to inform you that the Temple has hired Suzie Jacobson as our Director of Education and Assistant Rabbi beginning on July 1, 2015.

Suzie is graduating from Hebrew College Rabbinical School this spring. She has a wealth of Jewish knowledge, previously earning a master’s degree in Religious Studies with a concentration in Jewish Thought at the University of Chicago and undergraduate degrees from Columbia University (B.A., History) and the Jewish Theological Seminary, List College (B.A., Jewish Philosophy).

Suzie is well known to many in our congregation. She has served as TI’s Rabbinic Intern since 2013 and as Ohel Tzedek’s community organizer beginning last year. Significantly, she has worked in the religious school and Monday night school since 2009, serving as a very popular teacher in multiple grades and designing curricula for the religious school and various courses for our teens. Accordingly, Suzie has a deep and broad familiarity with education at TI and has creative ideas for taking an already high quality program and making it even stronger. Suzie’s experience with Jewish education has been rounded out by her roles as the Religious School Director and Family Education Director at Temple Beth Zion in Brookline and curriculum consultant and trainer for Keshet, a national organization working for full inclusion of LGBT Jews in Jewish life.

The feedback we have received about Suzie has been uniformly positive. She is beloved by her students and their families, she is respected for her sermons and her teaching of Torah to adults, and she is admired for her innovative ideas and inclusive and relational management style by all who have worked with her. We personally are impressed by her energy, commitment, and creativity and are thrilled she turned down other positions to work at Temple Israel, because, as she has expressed to us, she loves Temple Israel and has made it her spiritual home. The entire clergy team and lay leadership look forward to working with soon-to-be Rabbi Jacobson and to the many contributions she will make to our congregation.

Rabbi Ronne Friedman, Senior Rabbi
Kathy Weinman, President

March 1, 2015

Congregational Meetings

Congregational Meeting Postcard wQR _2 - FRONT ONLY

February 12, 2015

Announcement about Rabbi Morrison

We are writing to share with you a significant event in the life of our congregation, one which we greet with very mixed emotions: our esteemed Associate Rabbi and Director of Temple Israel’s Education Program, Jeremy Morrison, has requested a leave of absence from Temple Israel for the year commencing in July, 2015, for the purpose of completing his Ph.D. in Bible from Brandeis University.

With Senior Rabbi support, the Board of Trustees has granted Rabbi Morrison’s request with great appreciation for his enormous contributions to our community. The Board also unanimously approved Rabbi Morrison’s request that Temple Israel grant the three-month Sabbatical for which he was scheduled in the winter of 2016 together with continuing health insurance coverage for his family and other benefits, if necessary, during the next year. Rabbi Morrison has informed us that he will be seeking other opportunities after his leave is completed. Accordingly, we and the Board are focused on ensuring the continued strength of our professional staff and hope to make an announcement of our plans very soon.

Although we understand and appreciate Rabbi Morrison’s personal, academic, and professional aspirations, we will miss him in every aspect of the life of Temple Israel.  Rabbi Morrison has brought innovative brilliance, intellectual integrity, and the gift of Torah to Temple Israel with consummate quality and consistency. Individuals and families have been touched by his role in their life-cycle ceremonies; adults, teens, and children have flourished and deepened their Jewish learning as a result of both his skillful organizing of our educational program and his direct teaching.

Rabbi Morrison’s creative energies during his fourteen year tenure at Temple Israel have brought us, among many other substantive contributions, two cutting edge programs, The Riverway Project, our outreach to Jews in their 20’s and 30’s and their families, and working collaboratively with a group of energetic lay leaders, TILLI, Temple Israel’s Lifelong Learning Initiative, a program which inspires and engages the wise elders of our congregation. Both of these programs have been perceived as national models, so that, in addition to the vitality they have brought to our community, they have also contributed to our reputation as a leading synagogue in American Jewish life.

Rabbi Morrison’s creativity has been no less abundant as he has reconceived our programs of Jewish Education for adult, teen, and elementary school populations. His emphasis upon the acquisition of critical learning skills for the children of Temple Israel has had profound effects upon the quality and depth of their Jewish learning. His teaching of adults – through Torah study, Me’ah, adult education courses, and sermons – has challenged and enriched the congregation as a whole. As a clergy partner, Rabbi Morrison’s contributions to our spiritual life have been no less profound and widely appreciated. As Senior Rabbi and President of Temple Israel, we look forward to celebrating Rabbi Morrison’s enormous impact upon our congregation with an expression of the love and gratitude that is due him.

At our Qabbalat Shabbat Service on Friday, May 15, 2015, we’ll have an opportunity to honor Rabbi Morrison and his wife, Molly Schmitt, and their beautiful children, Ezekiel (Zeke) and Poppy. Please mark this date–more information about the details of our tribute will be forthcoming.

Rabbi Ronne Friedman, Senior Rabbi
Kathy Weinman, President

January 14, 2015

Rabbinic Search

As you know, Rabbi Ronne Friedman will be retiring as our senior rabbi at the end of June 2016. The senior rabbi is our spiritual leader, master teacher, moral guide, personal comforter, chief fundraiser and community leader – to name a few of many roles. We have loved Rabbi Friedman and benefitted from his long service as the senior rabbi at Temple Israel. The prospect of change is unsettling for many of us. Happily, Rabbi Friedman will remain with us as rabbi emeritus and we will celebrate him and his contributions to our congregation before he retires.

But change also presents opportunity. As last year’s Pew Research report on Jews in America and our own observations make clear, the needs and desires of our community continue to evolve and Temple Israel is adapting to meet them and lead the way. As we contemplate engaging a new senior rabbi, we can dream about the temple of our future. And we can imagine the qualities of the next senior rabbi who can lead us there. To that end, we have created this webpage to keep the congregation informed about the rabbinic search process. In addition, the following are now in place:

  • Vice President Chris Noe and I, with input from the Board of Trustees and the Leadership Council, have appointed a Rabbinic Search Committee (“RSC”), which will be chaired by Dean Richlin, a former president of TI. Please see below for more information about the Committee and its members.
  • In January, Chris and I sent a letter to all members, which described the search process in greater detail. Among other things, we identified all the members of the Rabbinic Search Committee and their backgrounds and detailed the timetable for the search. The Rabbinic Search Committee will make its recommendation to the Board of Trustees, which will continue to play an important role throughout the process. Under our by-laws, the Board of Trustees, subject to the approval of the Leadership Council, will recommend the election of a new senior rabbi to the entire congregation. Accordingly, the search process will conclude with a special meeting of the congregation, which will be asked to vote on the Board’s recommendation.

Kathy Weinman, President

January 14, 2015

Rabbinic Search Timeline

Transition Timeline Graphic

January 14, 2015

Rabbinic Search Committee

Calling upon a multitude of experiences, perspectives and accomplishments in the Temple Israel community and their respective personal and professional lives, the members of our Rabbinic Search Committee faithfully and accurately represent the diversity of the TI congregation at large during this vital process.

Dean Richlin, Committee Chair, and his wife, Pamela, and have been members of TI for 30 years. TI has played a centering role in their lives and the lives of their three children, now grown. Dean has participated in Temple governance in a variety of ways, including as the Temple President 10 years ago. Recently, he chaired the search committee that resulted in Dan Deutsch becoming the Temple’s Executive Director. He is a partner with the law firm of Foley Hoag and participates as a board member of a number of civic and community organizations.

Susan Ebert has been a member of Temple Israel for more than 35 years and is a past and current member of the Board. She has worked with many TI committees, including Development, Public Relations, Caring Community and Education. Her three daughters celebrated their B’not Mitzvah in our beautiful sanctuary. Now retired, she was the founding director of the Boston Jewish Community Women’s Fund at CJP.

Alison Freedman joined the Temple Israel community 10 years ago as part of the Riverway Project. She then began teaching at the TI Religious School where she taught Holocaust History to 7th graders. Alison’s current involvement with the temple is primarily through Families with Young Children (FYC) through which her 2-year old daughter Talia and 6-month old son Zev are exploring their own Jewish identities. Alison is a corporate trainer and coach, specializing in executive presence, public speaking and other communication skills. She is also an adjunct professor at UMass Boston where she teaches writing and oral communication skills. Alison lives with her husband, Ezra, and two children in Roslindale.

Naomi Gordon and her husband, Mel (z’l), joined Temple Israel twelve years ago, interested in connecting with an activist, diverse synagogue community after many unaffiliated years. Naomi has been part of Temple Israel’s Lifelong Learning Initiative (TILLI) since its inception and is currently the Core Committee’s Chair. She enjoys Saturday morning Torah study as well as a range of adult learning programs. Since retiring from the Brookline Public Schools as a teacher and Curriculum Coordinator, she has taught and consulted at local colleges and was program administrator with Teachers as Scholars, a non-profit offering seminars to K-12 teachers led by university faculty.

Aaron Lapat, his wife, Lauren, and children, Sophie and Sammy, live in Jamaica Plain. Aaron and his family have been Temple Israel members since 2004. They were inspired to become so by their daughter Sophie’s experience as a FJECC student in the Toddler Room. Sophie continued through Temple Israel religious school and became a Bat Mitzvah at the Temple in March of 2013. She now attends Monday Night School. Sammy followed his sister’s path and is currently a sixth grader in the religious school and will be become a Bar Mitzvah in October of 2015. Aaron is managing partner of Park Square Executive Search, an executive search firm in Boston and San Francisco. He is on the board of Israel & Co, a not-for-profit that funds non-denominational MBA trips to Israel for students and their teachers. He also actively involved in the Boston headquartered not-for-profit The Center for Teen Empowerment, of which his wife, Lauren, is Board Chair.

Jill Medvedow has been a member of Temple Israel for 20 years. Married to Richard Kazis, their now grown children, Noah and Sophie, attended religious school and Monday Night School at the Temple. For the past year and a half, Jill has been a member of the Board of Trustees. Jill is the Ellen Matilda Poss Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

Carol Michael was President of Temple Israel from 2007 to 2009. After moving to Brookline from New York in 1989, she and her late husband, Michael, and their children joined Temple Israel in 1991. While finding a place for herself and her family at Temple Israel, she collaborated with the clergy and other congregants to create Heneinu – the caring community – where Carol led shivah minyans and instituted a daily minyan, among other mitzvot. She worked on the intergenerational Women’s Kallah, membership initiatives, and has led Torah study and the Torah study Saturday morning service. Carol consults with hospitals and other institutions of higher learning to better the lives of families with individuals with special needs. Presently she is involved with the Division of Palliative Care at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Mitchell Shames, a lawyer, lives in Newton with his wife, Jane, and two sons, Will (22) and Nate (19). They have been members of Temple Israel since 1990 and both boys attended pre-school and religious school at the Temple. Previously, Mitchell served both on the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of Temple Israel. Upon Rabbi Mehlman’s announced retirement, Mitchell was a member of the last rabbinic search committee and chaired the transition committee for the commencement of Rabbi Friedman’s appointment as Senior Rabbi. Currently, Mitchell is on the Board of Overseers of the NY Campus of Hebrew Union College and is Chairman of the Jewish Outreach Institute after serving a term as its President. Mitchell was also President of Hillel Council of Greater Boston, served on both the Board and Executive Committee of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and was a member of the Young Leadership Cabinet of the UJA. In 1994, Mitchell recieved the Young Leadership Award from Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

Bram Shapiro has been a member of Temple Israel for more than 40 years, going back to his days attending the religious school. He became a Bar Mitzvah at TI and was confirmed here. He was a member of the RYFTI Board. More recently, Bram served on the Finance Committee and the Temple’s Board of Trustees. He also co-chaired the nominating committee and the Temple’s first annual Stepping Out fundraiser.  Bram is a former Board member of The Rashi School and Jewish Vocational Service. He is also a graduate of CJP’s Acharai Leadership Program and has held a variety of roles within CJP. In his professional life, Bram practices law in the corporate and securities group at Mintz Levin. Bram’s two children are actively involved with the Temple, as is his wife, Jennifer. He is also a committed member of the Temple Israel softball team.

Judith Sydney was raised in Brookline and married into the Temple Israel community nearly two decades ago. Her father-in-law was the very first TI Bar Mitzvah nearly 73 years ago, and her wife, Aviva, has been one of the main shofar blowers at the holiday services for the past 40 years. Judith was a PTO co-chair for the FJECC, worked with the Temple’s Development Office on many Stepping Out events and worked with the Development Office on building a stronger culture of philanthropy within the religious and day school families. Outside TI, she has lately shifted her focus from her family’s real estate management and development company to raising her sons, who both attend The Rashi School. She also serves as a member of the Jewish National Fund Executive Board, The Families First Parenting Program Board, is active with CJP Women’s Philanthropy, The Rashi School and The Second Step.

Bea Wilderman is a current member of the Board of Trustees of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the leading Jewish human rights and development organization working to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. Bea has been a member of Temple Israel for over eight years. She is a past President of the Board of Trustees of the Frances Jacobson Early Childhood Center (FJECC). Bea was a board member of TI for six years, where she served on the nominating, engagement and strategy committees and as co-chair of Stepping Out (the annual fundraising gala). Bea received her BA from Yale University and received her MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Bea was also a Fulbright Scholar in London, where she worked as a research fellow with the British Communicable Disease Surveillance Center. Bea’s family is very involved at TI. Her husband Sam is the pitcher of the championship winning TI softball team. Her sons, Nathan (age 9) and Jonas (age 6) are graduates of the FJECC, and are current students in the religious school.

Kathy Weinman and her husband, Cam Kerry, joined Temple Israel when Cam converted to Judaism before they married 31 years ago and their young adult daughters, Jessica and Laura, were students in the religious school and participated in the youth choir. Kathy joined the Board of Trustees in 2005, became Vice President in 2011, President in 2013, and previously served as co-chair of the Temple Committee and a member of the Nominating Committee. She is a founding partner of the law firm of Collora LLP, a litigation boutique in Boston. During 2008-2009, Kathy was president of the Boston Bar Association and now serves on the United States District Court Criminal Justice Act Board and the Boston Bar Foundation’s grants committee.

Chris Noe (Ex Officio Member) and his wife, Shari, joined the Temple in 2001 through their participation in the newly created Riverway Project young person outreach program. Chris served two terms as Treasurer beginning in 2010 before becoming Vice President in 2014. He had previously served on the Board of Trustees and as chair of the Strategic Planning Group. Chris is a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he teaches courses in financial accounting. When he is not at MIT or Temple, Chris spends much of his time driving his two sons, Benjamin and Jacob, to various hockey rinks around the state. Chris and his family live in South Brookline. Chris became President of the Temple Israel Board of Trustees in June 2015.