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Rabbinic Transition at Congregation B'nai Israel Update

07/02/2023 03:00:48 PM


CBI Leadership

Dear Friends,

Many of us came together last month on Shavuot for a memorable evening of learning “Torah from the ground up.” Together we identified that each of us has Torah and wisdom to offer, and our community is not complete without all our gifts. With the gifts and strengths of our clergy, professional staff, and lay leaders in mind, our Board of Directors has decided to move forward without the addition of an external Interim Rabbi to our staff.  

Instead, Rabbi Jacob Fine and Rabbi Ariella Rosen will be our Interim Rabbis for the upcoming 12 months as we begin the search for the permanent Rabbi who will fill the role that had been held by Rabbi Justin David. We are so honored and privileged that they are taking on this responsibility.  

Given CBI’s tremendous recent growth, which includes increased expenses, not hiring an additional rabbi allows us to maintain a balanced and responsible budget for this year and prepare for CBI’s next phase of rabbinic leadership (we will be sending out a communication with a full discussion of our finances shortly). The search committee for our permanent Rabbi will be led by Meredith Lewis and Naomi Barnesky -- stay tuned for more information about that process and how you can share your voice.  

During Rabbi David's recent sabbatical, we experienced first-hand the incredible talent in both our professional staff and volunteers that support our community. Rabbi Jacob has been a part of CBI for 11 years, and has been working most recently as the Senior Director of Jewish Life and Abundance Farm. Rabbi Ariella has been with CBI for the past year, as our Director of Youth and Family Education and Engagement. She has prior experience as a pulpit rabbi, and many of you experienced her leadership on the bimah this past Yom Kippur.
Both rabbis stepped into additional leadership roles together with many dedicated lay leaders to provide our community with pastoral and lifecycle support, as well as services and ritual leadership. For the coming year, they will be working together with our Executive Director, Emily Kieval, to assure that all pastoral, ritual, lifecycle, and educational needs of the broader CBI community will be met. As a community that so deeply understands the value of Torah from the ground up, we have many staff members shifting their portfolios, and volunteers already stepping up to offer their time and support in the many tasks that enable our community to thrive.
We are already so thankful to those who are lending their time and efforts and appreciate that we will be able to call on even more of you in the year to come. Keep an eye out for more ways to help, including search committee, High Holy Days, and other areas looking for volunteer support. In the meantime, if you need Rabbinic support, you can email interim@cbinorthampton.org or call 413-584-3593 x 210 to leave a voicemail (voicemails at this extension are now checked regularly, even when the office is closed).
This is an exciting time at CBI, and this interim year is an opportunity to recommit to the work of building our holy community together. We thank you for sharing yourselves with all of us, and for being the community we can call on to do this work together.
Barbara Black and Stan Schapiro, CBI Co-Presidents 
Joel Feldman and Ellen Gertzog, Rabbinic Transition Committee Co-Chairs 
Emily Kieval, Executive Director 

Mon, May 27 2024 19 Iyyar 5784