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Rabbinic Transition

Welcome to the Temple Emanu-El Rabbinic Search page.  This is where you can learn more about our committees, our processes, our timeline, and our journey to find our next rabbi.  This page will keep you apprised about the search and we expect will be updated monthly or more frequently as warranted

The committees are working hard on behalf of the entire congregation in this important work in shaping the next chapter in Temple Emanu-El’s long history.

  Announcement:  From Rabbi Meyer, January 2022/Shevat 5782                                                                                               

To my Dear Congregation:

There is a wonderful story in the Talmud of a sage who came to a crossroads where he happened upon a young boy. The sage asked him which road would take him to Town? “This road is short but long,” the boy answered. Pointing to the other he continued, “This road is long but short.” The sage took the first road but found that the entrance to the city was hedged in by gardens and orchards. So he returned to the boy and said, “Did you not tell me that this road is short?” “Yes,” the boy answered, but I also told you it was long. It is shorter in length, but longer in time.” (Eruvim 53b)

As I begin making plans to transition to the next phase of my Rabbinic career here at Temple Emanu-El, I sense that I’ve taken the “long road that is short.” Yes, serving our congregation for the past three decades is a lengthy tenure by any measure. But the years have passed so quickly that my time here feels, indeed, surprisingly brief.

Leading an active and vibrant congregation requires a rabbi to put forth an enormous amount of both physical and creative energy, and I am grateful to have continued to be blessed with a combination of good health, enthusiasm, imagination, and fortitude. Still, as I’ve commented recently, I’d much rather make the transition to my Emeritus status five years too early than five minutes too late! After much consideration, I have made the timely decision to step down as your Senior Rabbi in the Spring of 2023.

It may seem that giving a full eighteen-month notice is excessive, but I and our Temple leadership agree that the rabbinic transition will be a critical moment for our congregation, as it was thirty years ago when I began. We are fortunate to be blessed with an exceptional Board with highly capable officers to manage the effort, and I will offer my full support and whatever guidance might be appropriate.

In addition, please be assured that for the next year and a-half, I will continue to serve the Temple to my fullest capacity, being with you in times of joy and sorrow, bringing my love of teaching to our children and adults alike, and maintaining my passions for life-long learning, for music, for Zionism, social justice, and personal growth.

Indeed, the road has been long -- but short! I look forward to continuing to share in the life of Temple Emanu-El for many years as we look together towards a shared and bright future.


David J. Meyer
Senior Rabbi

  From our Temple President:  April 25, 2022                                                                                                                                    

Dear fellow congregants,

As you know, our beloved Rabbi Meyer has announced his upcoming retirement in June 2023. Change can be challenging but we are excited for the next chapter, both for Rabbi Meyer and for Temple Emanu-El. 

Today, I want to give you an update on the progress we have already made in the search process.

Leadership has put together both a Search Committee and a Transition Committee whose members represent all aspects of Temple life. Each of these committees have met and been given specific responsibilities including: fact-finding from our congregation, staff and community, and completing an application for a new Rabbi.

  • Fact-finding: We will be welcoming input from the entire congregation shortly as we begin the search process for our next Rabbi. There will be opportunities to gather all of your feedback in the very near future through a variety of means including a congregational online survey and focus groups. Everyone will have a voice in this process.
  • Application Process: The first application to be completed and submitted by the Search Committee will be for an Interim Rabbi.  This Rabbi will serve a one-year term as a bridge between Rabbi Meyer and our new Senior Rabbi. An Interim Rabbi is highly recommended by CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis) and URJ (Union for Reform Judaism) to provide some emotional space as our congregation makes the change from a long-term, beloved Rabbi to a new spiritual leader. We will all need the time to adjust and to conduct an effective search for our new Senior Rabbi.

Please be assured that all Interim Rabbis are trained to “step right in” as a traditional Rabbi while also looking at a Temple objectively, giving feedback on daily operations, staffing and programming. By hiring an Interim Rabbi, our congregation will have the time and means to create a neutral and welcoming environment in which the incoming Senior Rabbi will have an opportunity for success on their own terms.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I will continue to keep you updated on all aspects of the search process.

With my gratitude,

Lisa A. Nagel
President, Temple Emanu-El

 Transition–Discovery Subcommittee:    

Claudia Kaufman, Chair
Dan Rosen
Judith Emanuel
Ann Laaff
Deahn Leblang
Nicole Sherf
Eric Reines
Andrea Liftman

 Search Committee:                                    

Sharon Orfaly, Chair
Erin Cullen
Bob Goldman
Jeff Goldstein
Nate Goldstein
Lisa Nagel
Terra Samuels
Jerry Somers
Jamie Yomtov

 Transition–Send-Off Subcommittee:           

Claudia Kaufman, Chair
ate Aikman
Ina-Lee Block
Gail Mack
Matthew Friedman
Wendy Lewis
Tracey Roman
Shari McGuirk
Jackie Robbio
Sue Weiss

  Frequently Asked Quesitons about the Search/Transition Process                                                                                            

Who are Temple Emanu-El’s professional partners in the search process?
The Placement Office of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the Reform rabbinic professional leadership organization, helps guide congregations in the many aspects of their rabbinic search process. The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) provides confidential search and transition support with a keen eye to the needs of each individual congregation.

Why are we looking for an Interim Rabbi?
Especially in cases of successors to long-serving rabbis (like Rabbi Meyer), the CCAR (the Central Conference of American Rabbis) recommends that congregations follow the Interim Rabbi model. An Interim Rabbi is specifically trained as a transitional rabbi. Their purpose is to help a congregation positively, successfully, and thoughtfully transition to a new Settled Rabbi. They are specially trained to help a congregation clarify its goals and objectives for a Settled Rabbi while performing the rabbinic duties for the synagogue. Since Interim Rabbis are not eligible to become permanent rabbis, they are in a unique position to work with the congregational leadership to help the congregation prepare for the next spiritual leader.

What is the process to select our next rabbi? (both Interim and Settled Rabbis)
There are several phases in the rabbinic selection process handled by different teams and spread over many months.

Discovery:  May, June 2022
The Discovery Subcommittee of the Transition team is charged with developing a process of reflection for congregants to determine the most important attributes and qualifications of our next rabbi, along with documenting our Temple’s strengths, challenges, and where we want to be in the next five years. These reflections will be a result of:

  • A series of member focus groups (called Listen and Learn sessions) to gather information on specific questions and open discussion about the process, members’ aspirations, and the vision for Emanu-El’s future.
  • A congregation-wide survey sent to all adult Temple members to understand the important attributes of and hopes for the next rabbi.

Application: August - September 2022
The Search Committee completes and submits a detailed application to the CCAR that comprises the results of the focus groups and online survey as well as details about Temple Emanu-El (history, finances, governance structure, etc.).

Review: October 2022 - March 2023
The Search Committee receives and reviews candidate applications, determines which candidates to contact and conducts virtual interviews. Based on the virtual interviews, it is determined which candidates should be invited for subsequent interviews or an in-person visit to Marblehead.

In-person Visit – Spring 2023
Candidate(s) is invited to travel to Marblehead to meet with lay leaders, senior staff, and committee members and to visit our local community.  

Due Diligence and Recommendation: - Spring 2023
The Search Committee begins due diligence on each candidate still being considered and if necessary, the final candidate(s)will be invited back to tour areas of the community, ask pertinent questions, and meet with other leaders.

The Search Committee, after the process delineated above, will decide by discussion and ultimate vote as to their recommendation of which candidate they feel will be the optimal candidate to serve our congregation. That recommendation is presented at the Board of Trustees meeting, and the Board votes on the said recommendation.

Further questions can be directed to:
Sharon Orfaly, Search Chair
Claudia Kaufman, Transition Chair
Gail New, President

What does the  Transition Team Send-Off Subcommittee do?
Although there is much attention on the search activity for the Interim and Settled Rabbi,  the Send-Off Subcommittee of the Transition Team will be busy in the fall of 2022 planning the celebrations and our ways to honor and say thank you to Rabbi Meyer for his three decades of service to Temple Emanu-El.  Still in the beginning stages, if you are interested in helping with any of the activities to be held next spring 2023, please reach out to



Tue, July 5 2022 6 Tammuz 5782