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An Update from the CBI President

Dear CBI Family,

A year ago, after Rabbi Spitz signed his final contract with CBI as our Rabbi, we started our process to self-reflect, to think about our vision for CBI, and what we should look for in our next Rabbi to get us to where we want to be. We created a Rabbi Needs Assessment Committee co-chaired by Heather Katz and David Krebs. We added a professional consultant, Jason Stern, who generously gave of his time to advise us in the process. And with our Executive Vice President, Phyllis Abrams, and myself, we worked to gather groups of our congregants to give us input as to what we should look for in our next Rabbi. We had meetings regarding the creation of our list of priorities, and we followed that with a focus group to give input as to the list we had created. Then we had a town hall meeting to present our analysis to the entire CBI community, and to get more feedback from our membership. Our town hall meeting was two weeks before everything shut down because of COVID-19, and we have been watching to see how things would change as to in-person gatherings.

It seems that for the next nine months during which a Rabbi search was to take place, it will be challenging to have Rabbinic candidates visit CBI to meet us, and to allow us to get to know them. After what will be 33 years with our beloved Rabbi, we want our membership to get to know whoever we are going to bring into CBI as our new Rabbi. We absolutely want our members to provide feedback to the Rabbi search committee and the Board before a new Rabbi is hired. Accordingly, our Board has made the decision to postpone our search for a permanent Rabbi for one year.

Rabbi Spitz’s contract ends on June 30, 2021. Last night, the CBI Board voted to extend Rabbi Spitz’s tenure with CBI until September 30, 2021, by entering a new 3-month contract that will maintain Rabbi Spitz as our senior Rabbi through the High Holy Days of 5782. Rabbi Spitz has agreed to this additional time as our Rabbi. Our High Holy Day services this year are going to be virtual because of COVID-19, but at the same time, they are going to be fabulous because of Rabbi Spitz, our Ba’alat Tefillah Amy Robinson Katz, and of course Hal Hurwitz and Carl Cedar. It is uncertain what High Holy Day services will be like in the fall of 2021, but our hope is that Rabbi Spitz will be able to lead in-person services over 13 months from now for his final High Holy Days at CBI.

Our search will begin a year from now for a new permanent Rabbi who will start at CBI on July 1, 2022. As for what we will arrange regarding a Rabbi at CBI for the period from October 1, 2021 until June 30, 2022, the Board will be discussing that over the next several months. We have a few options as to what we can do. As it is over a year from now, we want to take our time and make careful decisions for our congregation. For now, please join me in thanking Rabbi Spitz for completing 32 years as our Rabbi, and for agreeing to remain as our Rabbi until September 30, 2021, at which time he will become Rabbi Emeritus.

Please continue to stay safe and healthy and remember the three W’s. Wash your hands, Wear a face covering, and Watch your distance from others.

L’shalom,

Marc Goldin
President, Congregation B’nai Israel