Bethesda Jewish Congregation (BJC)
Position Description Cover Page
Our new Spiritual Leader will have a unique opportunity to shape BJC’s future.
We are seeking a Spiritual Leader who can lead us and expand upon our Jewish journey. A Spiritual Leader will find us open and supportive of the freedom to be innovative, and if an idea needs tweaking or dropping, supportive of trying again. Our members want to grow, to learn, and to serve in the cause of making the world and our community a better place. We are seeking a Spiritual Leader who wants to be a part of our lives and make deep connections. We are a diverse and strong community who will embrace our next Spiritual Leader.
As an unaffiliated congregation, we offer the opportunity to take a trans-denominational approach to worship.
WHAT WE NEED
Our next Spiritual Leader will:
Care about us as individuals and members of our Jewish and broader community
Encourage and welcome ideas
Lead with a vision for our future
Celebrate with us, worship with us, study and teach with us, and be there with us in times of our struggles
Strengthen our community by expanding our outreach and be welcoming to young families and young adults
WHY A SPIRITUAL LEADER?
Twenty years ago, as BJC grew from having a part-time Rabbi in search of full-time clergy, we had an inquiry from a Hazzan about leading our congregation. We quickly embraced this individual and are comfortable with a Cantor or Rabbi who is a match for BJC. Our bylaws now refer to Spiritual Leader.
BETHESDA JEWISH CONGREGATION (BJC)
SPIRITUAL LEADER POSITION DESCRIPTION
BJC’s Spiritual Leader will work closely with the Board of Trustees, staff, and congregants to support all aspects of congregational life. As such, our Spiritual Leader will:
· Serve as the religious and spiritual leader of our congregation
· Lead Shabbat and holiday services
· Officiate at life-cycle events
· Provide pastoral support to those in need
· Support our students, particularly working individually with our B’nai Mitzvah
· Engage our adult community with educational programs
· Engage in interfaith collaboration with our spiritual partners
· Support our commitment to social action and social justice
· Encourage member participation and be at the forefront of outreach to potential members
· Work with the Board on a vision for BJC’s future, and offer advice and counsel
· Embrace our long-standing relationship with Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church with whom we share space
Per our bylaws, the Spiritual Leader is accountable to the congregation. The President provides feedback on a regular basis.
MAJOR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITES
· Organize, manage, schedule, and facilitate all prayer services including Friday evening, Saturday morning, and all holidays, adhering to the life cycle of Torah. Services are in-person and live-streamed
· Create a warm, welcoming, and accepting prayer environment for people of all levels of Jewish knowledge and observance, as well as for children. Accept BJC’s egalitarian approach to worship: all who want to participate are embraced.
· Deliver meaningful, concise sermons designed to educate, inform, challenge, and inspire.
· Encourage strong lay participation, provide training where appropriate.
· Serve as a resource on questions of Jewish law, traditions, and values.
· Coordinate and officiate the lifecycle needs of the community, including but not limited to Bris, baby namings, B’nai Mitzvot, weddings, including interfaith and LBGTQ ceremonies.
· Officiate at funerals, shiva, and provide bereavement support.
· Oversee the BJC youth education program, working with the School Coordinator.
· Develop and deliver adult education programs designed to appeal to a broad range of differing levels of religious observance, practice, and knowledge.
· Lead weekly Torah study.
· Coordinate with Education Committee to develop and deliver family educational, Shabbat, and holiday programs.
· Provide leadership and innovation to develop an array of relevant and engaging programs into the congregation for adults, teens and children, and community.
· Attend to the spiritual/emotional, welfare, and personal needs of our members and their families.
· Coordinate pastoral care with BJC’s Chesed Society.
· Encourage a sense of community within the congregation.
· Foster and maintain relationships with Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church and the mosques that also share space at our building complex, to build on the traditions among the Abrahamic faiths.
· Create a sense of community within the congregation and in the broader community. Be the face of BJC. Encourage inter-Judaic and interfaith respect and understanding for Judaism; encourage support and understanding for the needs of vulnerable Jews and other minorities in other lands.
· Support our commitment to social action and social justice in our community and the world.
· Engage the range of backgrounds and experiences of our members, reach out to broad constituencies, such as LGBTQ, interfaith couples, etc.
· Write a monthly column for the newsletter and contribute to the website as appropriate; engage in Social Media outlets on behalf of the congregation.
· Serve as BJC’s ambassador to the community at large.
· Participate in synagogue events, many of which are online.
· Work with the Board to develop strategies for engaging members to actively participate in the community.
· Meet with prospective members and ensure they are warmly welcomed into the community; encourage members to play an active role.
· Participate in fundraising activities in consultation and collaboration with the Board.
Synagogue Management and Administration
· Attend monthly Board of Trustees meetings, providing a monthly report. Participate in committee meetings as warranted.
· Be available via telephone, email, and text for congregants and staff and provide a timely response; hold office hours as appropriate.
· Provide day-to-day oversight of staff/; inspire staff.
· Manage discretionary funds.
BJC is closed on Sundays and Mondays, although there may be an occasional program or event on Sunday. Over Shabbat, the hours can be long. The Youth Education Program meets on Saturday mornings. The Board and committees meet in the evening. Classes often need to be taught in the evening to accommodate the congregation. To respond to members concerns, must be available as needed.
Congregational experience is a plus, but recent graduates with relevant skills will be considered — we are looking for a leader who will grow with us.
· Demonstrates a high degree of oral and written English and Hebrew communication.
· Accomplished at leading energetic and motivational services.
· Be an outstanding communicator, able to clearly communicate with all age groups, able to impart knowledge to others and give concise, passionate, meaningful, and relevant teachings.
· Learned in Halacha, Torah, Jewish history, literature, culture, spirituality, and Jewish observance.
· Maintains a trans-denominational approach.
Essential Skills & Abilities
· Capable of and willing to work collaboratively as part of a team with the Board, staff, and volunteers.
· Demonstrate emotional intelligence in relating to others and making decisions. Be personable, approachable, and a good listener.
· Ability to sing and play an accompanying instrument, or able to work in partnership with someone who does.
· Maintains high levels of discretion and confidentiality at all times.
· Highly engaged in a Jewish personal spiritual path.
· Open and flexible approach toward people from differing backgrounds: Sensitive to interfaith marriage couples and their children, as well as LGBTQ members.
· Able to work collaboratively with the Board to actively support and promote membership.
· Relate to real-world issues and causes. Embrace debate and discussion, even if the views expressed diverge from the norm.
· Be adaptable and know how to manage stress.
· Be computer literate with basic programs, with social media skills a plus.
There are minimal physical demands associated with the position. There are extended periods of standing during services. Setting up for worship services or programs may require the ability to lift items weighing less than 10 pounds. Must be able to lift and carry the Torah (20-30 pounds). The primary demand will involve extensive time at a computer keyboard.
The work is performed primarily in the synagogue office or suitable home office, as well as in worship or program space, which is occasionally outdoors. There are occasional visits to hospitals or members’ homes. The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet in office settings and moderate in other situations
This position description is intended to provide guidelines for job expectations and the employee’s ability to perform the position described. It is not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all functions, responsibilities, skills, and abilities. Additional functions and requirements may be added as deemed appropriate. Accommodations will be made as needed. This document does not represent a contract of employment, and BJC reserves the right to change this position description and/or assign tasks for the employee to perform, as needed.
Bethesda, MD is a suburb of Washington, DC. It is rich with a robust Jewish life. There is a nearby JCC in MD, another in Washington, DC and another in nearby Northern Virginia. Federation is here and is an active presence. Kosher food is easily procured and there are several Kosher restaurants around. There are many other congregations nearby, representing all of the major denominations. There are also a few Havurah. There are several Jewish day schools, although the local county schools are among the best in the nation. There is one local Jewish newspaper, Washington Jewish Week.
See above Position Description
About Bethesda Jewish Congregation (BJC)
1. BJC is a warm, welcoming and inclusive community. We are unaffiliated and represent a myriad of views of Jewish identity, although we lean liberal/Reform, and are deeply spiritual. We respect these different views and combine them into a unique whole in our programs and religious services. We are committed to an interfaith approach, as we have many interfaith families. We welcome all ages, races, and types of families. We share space with Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church and Maqaame Ibrahim Islamic Center.
2. Music unites us, and music is fundamental to worship practices. Music is the lifeblood of the Congregation, and our services offer opportunities for both traditional worship and creative worship experiences.
3. As a community with a strong social conscience, we are ardently committed to civic, community, and social action causes. We are active in refugee resettlement, curbing gun violence, and helping people in our local communities. A large number of BJC members believe that social action and bringing justice into the world are the highest expressions of Judaism.