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Congregation Shomrei Torah
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Welcome to the Rabbinic Transition Page

This is the place to learn about Congregation Shomrei Torah’s short- and long-term plans for our rabbinical future. It’s also the spot to visit for details of “good-bye” celebrations for Rabbi George. Check back for monthly updates.

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Welcome Rabbi Andi Berlin!

The CST Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Rabbi Andi Berlin will serve as Interim Rabbi from July 2024 through June 2025, following the retirement of Rabbi Gittleman. 

Rabbi Berlin notes, “I came to know Shomrei Torah when I worked for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and have always been impressed with the community’s warmth, engagement, and religious diversity. Given my blend of rabbinic expertise and organizational development skills, I can help Shomrei Torah process the retirement of your long-time senior rabbi, support the remaining staff, and look forward to welcoming a settled rabbi.”

Rabbi Berlin spent most of her congregational rabbinic career at Temple Sinai of Oakland, where she is known for her teaching and pastoral care. Rabbi Berlin developed a passion for helping organizations through transition, conflict, and development when she worked for the URJ. Most recently, she operated Berlin Consulting, LLC in the San Francisco Bay Area, working with corporations to resolve conflict, develop leaders, negotiate difficult decisions, and ensure organizational growth and strength. Rabbi Berlin was a member and chair of the Ethics Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR); the president of the Pacific Area of Reform Rabbis; and chair of the East Bay Council of Rabbis.

Rabbi Berlin holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology/Sociology/World Religion from Ohio Wesleyan University, where she was recognized with several community and academic honors. She received a Master’s of Hebrew Letters and Ordination through the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she received prizes for her sermons and community organizing.  The Interim Search Committee, Board of Directors, clergy, and staff were impressed with her ability to make Torah accessible and relevant and found her personally approachable and engaging.

In her free time, Rabbi Berlin enjoys hiking with Jon and Buddy (her spouse and her dog), spending time with her family, cooking, reading, camping, traveling, and performing with her improv troupe.

There will be many opportunities to get to know Rabbi Berlin, through special events designed to welcome her once she comes on board, her meetings with CST committees, and her teaching, presence on the bimah, support through lifestyle rituals, and availability for pastoral care.  Please join us in welcoming Rabbi Berlin!

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Update for February 2024

Application process underway for rabbi search committee

This Spring, Congregation Shomrei Torah’s Board of Directors (and many other hard-working volunteers) are actively preparing for Rabbi George’s June 2024 retirement and the transition to new rabbinical leadership – including developing a process for selection of a “settled” (long-term) rabbi.

Please read on for information about the interim rabbi selection; how you can participate in the search for our settled rabbi; and a timeline of key activities.

Interim Rabbi

Since last Fall, a search committee co-chaired by Board President Eli Weinzveg and Board Secretary Judith Richlin-Klonsky, and including Board members Sharon Bauman and Erica Magers, have been reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates to serve as CST’s interim rabbi. (The early stages of the process also benefitted from the input of Jillian Navarro (z” l).)  Finalists for the position met with CST clergy, professional staff, and Board members. The committee expects to introduce the one-year interim rabbi to the congregation by early Spring.   

Search and Selection Committee for Shomrei Torah’s Settled Rabbi

  • Based on members’ expression of interest statements, the Board of Directors will be selecting a committee of 10-12 individuals who represent the breadth of the CST community, looking for a dynamic mix of different generations, length of membership, and types of synagogue involvement and leadership.
  • The rabbinic recruitment and selection process will extend from July 2024 through June 2025, and is anticipated to include multiple in-person meetings (monthly at a minimum), thorough review of applicant packets, several online and in-person interviews and follow-up discussion. Committee members should be prepared to spend 10- 15 hours a month on the process.
  • The committee will operate within the general framework that has been set out by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), to assure a thorough and fair selection process.  Among other things, participants must commit to absolute confidentiality regarding the applicants and the deliberations of the committee.

If you are interested in participating on the Rabbinic Search and Selection Committee, please complete this online application or contact the office for a paper form. Applications are due by 5 PM, March 15. Selection of the committee will be made by late April.

 

Please note that serving on the committee is not the only way to have input into rabbinic transition at Congregation Shomrei Torah.  Your efforts to assist in preparing events saying “good-bye” to Rabbi George are welcome.  All members will be invited to attend programming designed to introduce finalist candidates to the congregation.  And you can join in by answering the call to help plan events to welcome the new long-term rabbi.

Timeline

  • March 15, 2024, 5 PM: Applications expressing interest in serving on the Rabbi Search and Selection Committee are due.  Selection of committee members is expected to be completed by late April.
  • April – June 2024: Multiple ‘goodbye’ events celebrating Rabbi George’s almost 30 years of services to CST. See the Honoring Rabbi George webpage for details. Contact the office if you would like to assist with any events.
  • July 1, 2024: Expected start date of the interim rabbi, who will serve Congregation Shomrei Torah for one year while an in-depth search is underway for our settled rabbi.
  • July 2024-June 2025: Rabbinic recruitment and selection process for our settled rabbi.
  • January 2025-June 2025: Planning and assisting with welcoming events for our new rabbi!
Sun, February 25 2024 16 Adar I 5784