Earlier this year the trustees set up a Rabbinic Recruitment working party (RRWP) delegated to take control of the process of recruiting a Rabbi.

The group comprises 3 trustees and 4 other members, selected from the many members who volunteered, offering a broad representation of our membership. The working party have worked diligently, composing the wording for publicizing the vacancy, developing the job and person specifications, preparing for processing applications and interviews. All these documents have been published on our webpages.

Currently there is a shortage of Rabbis, particularly Progressive ones, world-wide. We anticipated that a simple advert alone might not elicit applications; so members of the RRWP took it upon themselves to speak directly with many potential applicants. Although several expressed an interest in the position, they explained that other commitments prevented them from pursuing an application. Eventually one application was received by the deadline.

That application was however a strong one, and so the RRWP put together a programme for assessing and interviewing the applicant. This took place in early July and was followed by an extended discussion within the working party, leading to the recommendation not to proceed to an appointment. The recommendation was put to and accepted by the trustees.

I know that this is a disappointing outcome, and the RRWP will immediately move forward with further plans to recruit a new Rabbi. We will keep everyone informed of developments. In the meantime please respect the confidential aspects of the process, and understand that the members of the working party are not able to share further details.

In the interim we are fortunate that Rabbis Warren Elf and Robert Ash will be offering support in a number of ways, including sessions with pre-Bnei Mitzvah families, and the conversion group. Student Rabbi Eleanor Davis will also be visiting at the end of July, and hopes to be able to arrange further visits later in the year and in 2023.

I particularly want to thank the non-trustee members of the RRWP – Kerr Hunter, Melissa Miltz, Rebecca Noble, Josephine Woolfson. They volunteered for the task and all undertook their responsibilities with diligence and enthusiasm. We also had valuable participation from Becky Teiger and Sarita Robinson (MRJ). I have every confidence that this is a group that can take us forward in the process of Rabbinic recruitment.