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CONGREGATIONAL INPUT - Share Your Thoughts! 

Now is the time to make your voice heard! The Rabbi Search Committee is asking you to take part in several important ways to share your thoughts and ideas:

*  Participate in a Community Focus Group – Sign-up for one of the 15 possible focus groups scheduled in February and March to share your opinions, hopes and dreams for Adat Reyim. All of the dates, times and locations are listed, so choose the one that best fits your schedule and ideally is in your community. Sign up by clicking the hyperlink above or using this link:

*Complete the Adat Reyim Rabbi Search Survey – Share your personal opinions in an anonymous survey, consisting of 18 questions that will take less than 10 minutes to complete. Every survey response will be individually read and will contribute to our congregational picture. The survey can be accessed by your computer, tablet, or phone and is available at

 * Attend a service or program with one of the Guest Rabbis (see below - and check back regularly as we add new visits.). RSVP for the visits and then respond to a short  form asking for comments.

If you are not able to access the survey, please email so we can make other arrangements for you to participate. We want to make sure that this process is accessible to everyone!  It is critical that we have 100% participation in the survey so that we can identify core values and visions for the future to attract the right rabbi candidates, and determine the most important characteristics for the rabbi who will lead us into the future.


GUEST RABBI VISITS                                                          

The Rabbi Search Committee is bringing in rabbis from diverse backgrounds to give congregants a range of experiences. One of the values and strengths of Adat Reyim that is clear from our early focus groups is the appreciation for diversity in Jewish practices. With this in mind, we are committed to providing our membership with an opportunity to experience different approaches to prayer and spirituality taking place in our region and around the country. (Please note, these guest rabbi visits are not candidate visits.)

Please ** RSVP** for planning purposes - and so we can contact you for feedback afterwards! 


Organized by the Rabbi Search Committee to provide congregants with experiences with rabbis from diverse backgrounds. We will be asking for your comments about the services afterwards (RSVP please!). Note:This is not a candidate visit.



Sunday, April 28 

9:30 - 11:30 a.m.


A morning of
Experiential Learning
with Guest Rabbi
Jake Rubin, UVA Hillel


Join us as Rabbi Jake Rubin leads us in a session
of experiential learning during the regular Men’s Club meeting. ALL congregants are invited and welcome.
Plan to drop your kids at religious school and join us!
More details to come! 


Organized by the Rabbi Search Committee to provide congregants with experiences with rabbis from diverse backgrounds. We will be asking for comments about the afterwards. Note:This is not a candidate vislt.

Questions? Comments? 
Write to




Share Your Thoughts at a Focus Group!

Make your voice heard at one of our small community focus groups in February and March.  Sign up today:

Photos from our first Rabbi Search Focus Group  10.28.18:

To contact the rabbi search committee co-chairs, Esther Bland and Shira Solomon, please email


Adat Reyim Rabbi Search FAQ

(Updated 1/22/19) 

Q: When is Rabbi Aft retiring?

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. He has given us ample time to think deeply about our values as a community and what we seek in our next spiritual leader. Rabbi Aft is very supportive of the search committee and he is committed to helping us thrive during this important transition period.


Q: Who is on the Rabbi Search Committee?

A: Executive Vice-President Shira Solomon and Co-Chair Esther Bland lead the search 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 full list of committee members can be found below. The committee also includes subcommittees which focus on various parts of the search process. 


Q: How can I get involved?

A: Contact the committee chairs at and they will be in touch to discuss your interests and ways you would like to get involved. We are actively seeking volunteers to serve on the four subcommittees – Congregational Input & Values Clarification; Candidate Outreach & Recruitment; Overall Selection Process, and Communication.


Q: How can I share my views on what I want in a rabbi?

A: The entire synagogue membership will be asked for input in many different ways and at different times throughout the process, including feedback on rabbi candidates during their visits to Adat Reyim. The committee will publicize opportunities to make your voice heard, but you can always feel free to email your thoughts to Our goal is to hear from every member of the Adat Reyim community. There will be several large open forums, smaller group meetings and other activities for congregational input. We will conduct a widespread survey to obtain input. The committee will make personal phone calls to every synagogue member to seek your input. Look for opportunities on Facebook, Chai Lights and this Adat Reyim Rabbi Search web page.


Q: Why is the Rabbi Search Committee bringing in guest rabbis? Are these prospective candidates?

A: Visiting rabbi events are organized by the Rabbi Search Committee to provide congregants with experiences with rabbis from diverse backgrounds. These are opportunities to experience different leadership styles in "our home," to see what inspires and engages us in different ways. The goal is to create a discussion about who will ultimately be a good fit to lead our diverse congregation into the future. Comments will be solicited afterwards from those who attended (so please RSVP to help us identify who was there!)   Note: These are not candidate visits. 


Q: I know someone that may be a great candidate – what do I do?

A: One of the best ways we can find our new rabbi is through a referral. If you have any leads or information on someone the committee should consider, please send an email


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. Please click here to read the report.


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. The Board of Directors is working on plans to celebrate, reminisce and properly thank them for their commitment to Adat Reyim. Stay tuned for more details on specific events.


Milestones for the Rabbi Search process, month by month

Rabbi Search Committee 

Co-Chairs: Shira Solomon & Esther Bland
Members: Randi Adleberg, Sarah Berry, Andrea Cate,  Mark Cutler, Rebecca Geller, Eileen Kugler, Michelle Mermelstein, Andrea Sobel, Ed Weiner



Co-Chairs: Andrea Sobel and Mark Cutler

Committee members:  Randi Adleberg, Rebecca Gibson, Sherri Shunfenthal, Susan Bigman, Sunny Rome, Joanie Hunn

Mission of Congregational Input Subcommittee: 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.



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

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.


 Co-Chairs: Rebecca Geller and Ed Weiner

Committee members:  Ed Weiner, Steve Adelberg, Joanie Hunn, & Beryl Loveland-Ebert.  This committee is still in formation and will need at least 10-15 subcommittee members in 2019.

Mission: Our goal is 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.


Thu, March 21 2019 14 Adar II 5779