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We received over 35 applications and conducted extensive interviews, as well as reviewing written and video materials.  We have checked numerous references.  The Search Committee was excited to welcome our top three candidates for weekend visits! 

We appreciate the engagement of the congregation in the many events held during each rabbi candidate visit.  The committee is carefully weighing the information from the surveys submitted after the candidate visits. We are reading and considering every comment! This is all being considered along with the information from resumes, materials submitted, extensive interviews and references.   

There was a congregational meeting on Sunday, March 15 on the rabbi search process.  Read results from that meeting here (member-login required) 


We're in the news! Washington Jewish Week highlights our process:  
Adat Reyim Searches for 'Compassionate, Approachable, Open-Minded Rabbi'

Our congregation was recognized for the exemplary methods and efforts related to our Rabbi Search process. Members of our Rabbi Search Committee were interviewed regarding the thoughtful and thorough process we have established including:

Research and Outreach:
* To congregations nationwide who have recently gone through the process of hiring a rabbi
* To a vast network of rabbis
* To seminary placement offices

Introspection/Community Input:
* Extensive survey
* Forums
* Guest rabbi visits
* Congregational meetings
* Identification of shared values for the congregation and characteristics of next rabbi

Selection Process:
* Developed a job description based on shared values
* Posted job description on multiple sites, including seminaries placements and on rabbi listservs
* Developed interview questions based on shared values

* Conducting three rounds of interviews, including congregational visit for top candidates
* Utilizing metric based on shared values to analyze candidates and determine best fit fo our congregation


Community Letter January 2019
Letter from Rabbi Aft
Letter from Synagogue President Bruce Kaplan


We heard you - Over the course of four months, more than 100 members gave thoughtful responses to our survey; nearly 250 members provided insights at our 16 focus groups; and some 75 members provided reactions to three  guest rabbi visits! 
Wow, thank you for your thoughtful participation. 

The Rabbi Search Committee reviewed all of the information gathered to form a picture of who we are today,  where we want to be in the future, and what characteristics we are seeking in our next rabbi. These key findings are the foundation of the job description we developed and the questions we asked
applicants during interviews. 

Here are some key values that emerged:

Today, our community at Adat Reyim is a  caring, connected congregation reflective of a diversity of Jewish practices and welcoming of interfaith families. We are a participatory, innovative congregation.

In the future, we want to be even more welcoming to all individuals.  We want to improve the religious education for our children from preschool through teens and create a learning home for all members.  We want to provide a spiritually fulfilling home to all members and provide the supports needed so all can comfortably participate in the spiritual and community life at Adat Reyim.

The characteristics we want most for the next Rabbi include someone who is an approachable, compassionate leader – working to building community within Adat Reyim.  An engaging spiritual and religious educator for all members, particularly children and youth. We want someone who is a collaborator and someone who has a strong presence in congregational life.

For a more detailed description of what we learned through the process, please see the executive summary HERE

Adat Reyim is accepting applications for the position which begins July 1, 2020.  Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis.  The job description is available on the website HERE

                                  GUEST RABBI VISITS                                  

The Rabbi Search Committee brought in three guest rabbis from diverse backgrounds in 2019. Congregants expressed appreciation for the opportunity to experience rabbis on our own bimah with different styles and approaches as we prepare for a change. They also liked the education session since rabbis perform many duties.

Through surveys of those who attended the visits, we gained insights into what is meaningful to our congregants. Among the things that congregants noted was that they liked the opportunity to learn more about what we do and why. They liked that educational aspect as part of services, in addition to separate adult education programs.


Congregants also found it meaningful to have the chance to learn about each other, through opportunities to share personal perspectives at services, in discussion, or at pot-luck meals. This enhanced the experience for them, while building our community.



 Q: When will Rabbi Aft retire?

In 2005, the Board of Directors and Rabbi Aft discussed plans for Rabbi Aft to serve as Rabbi of Adat Reyim through June 2020, when he will retire. The new rabbi will begin July 1, 2020. Rabbi Aft has given us ample time to think deeply about our values as a community and what we seek in our next spiritual leader. We are grateful that he has provided us with the gift of time to ensure a smooth recruitment and transition process. Rabbi Aft is very supportive of the search committee and he is committed to helping us thrive during this important transition period. 

Q. How can a candidate apply for the position of rabbi at Adat Reyim?

A: Adat Reyim is currently accepting applications which will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The job description is posted on our website and is posted with numerous seminaries and placement sites. Applicants can request an application packet at  

Q: How are you engaging the congregation in the selection process?

A: Insights and opinions from congregants have been collected in a variety of ways. More than 100 members gave thoughtful responses to our survey; nearly 250 members provided insights at our focus groups; and some 75 members provided reactions to the guest rabbi visits. The congregational values and rabbi characteristics identified through this process have formed the foundation of the job description and the questions that will be asked of rabbi candidates. You can read the executive summary of what we learned through the congregational input process here. After the Rabbi Search Committee reviews applications and conducts interviews, the top candidates will be brought in for congregational visits with varied opportunities for congregants to interact with them. Congregants are encouraged to share the job description with friends or colleagues who may know of interested candidates! 

Q: Is the committee looking to hire an interim rabbi?

A: The committee carefully considered, researched and explored options for an interim rabbi. Ultimately, the committee rejected hiring an interim rabbi for a variety of reasons including the desire to start the search early and focus on a longer-term solution to our leadership needs. Our permanent new rabbi will begin on July 1, 2020.  Please click here to learn more about the decision not to hire an interim rabbi.

Q: Who is on the Rabbi Search Committee?

A.  Esther Bland leads the Search Steering Committee. Committee members span a wide variety of demographics to ensure that we have widespread involvement. Committee members represent all parts of our community including newer members, long-time members, empty nesters, and parents of students in the preschool, religious school, and teen program. The committee also includes subcommittees which focus on various parts of the search process. Nearly 50 congregants have been involved in the process so far. The list of committee members can be found below.

Q: Is there planning underway to celebrate Rabbi Aft’s retirement?

A: The Adat Reyim community is extremely grateful to Rabbi Bruce and Sue Aft for their service to our synagogue. Throughout the year, there will be many events to celebrate, reminisce and properly thank them for their commitment to Adat Reyim. 



Milestones, month by month


Chair:  Esther Bland
Members: Randi Adleberg, Sarah Berry, Andrea Cate,  Mark Cutler, Rebecca Geller, Eileen Kugler, Michelle Mermelstein, Andrea Sobel, Ed Weiner


Congregational Input and Values Clarification

Co-Chairs: Andrea Sobel and Mark Cutler
Committee members:  Randi Adleberg, Susan Bigman, Rebecca Gibson, Joanie Hunn, Linda Kain, David Richter,  Sunny Rome,  Sherri Shunfenthal .

Mission: To gather perspectives from every member of Adat Reyim in order to articulate (1)  Core values of our congregation:  How we would describe ourselves to Rabbi candidates and; (2) Most important characteristics and qualities our next Rabbi should have.

Outreach and Recruitment

Co-chairs: Eileen Kugler and Sarah Berry
Members: Josh Green, Aviva Kurash,  Loretta Stein

Mission: To identify best practices for hiring a rabbi through outreach to rabbis, seminaries, and leaders of congregations who have recently hired rabbis. To reach qualified potential candidates for our rabbi position by broadly identifying outlets, including individuals and organizations, to share information about our congregation and position.

Overall Selection Process

 Co-Chairs: Rebecca Geller and Ed Weiner
Committee members:  Ed Weiner, Steve Adelberg, Joanie Hunn, & Beryl Loveland-Ebert.  

Mission: To oversee a smooth and fair selection process that will enable the synagogue to find the best candidate for a long-term rabbi with Adat Reyim.  We will develop a detailed plan and budget for selecting the rabbi, based on the timeline. This subcommittee will organize initial interviews and plan candidate weekend visits. We will develop draft interview questions for candidates for discussion by the full committee. All committee members will have the opportunity to participate in interviews. We will conduct rabbi interviews, obtain feedback from committee members, and prepare recommendations to the board.


Co-Chairs: Michelle Leff Mermelstein and  Shelly Zocchi. 
Committee Members: Dory Lummer, Suzy Tucker

Mission: Establish and maintain open lines of communications between search committee/subcommittees and congregation; actively share information with congregation regarding opportunities for input into the rabbi search process and candidates; provide regular updates regarding search process and candidates with congregation and community.

Tue, March 31 2020 6 Nisan 5780