Although we are committed to remaining a traditional Conservative congregation, we realize that there is more to a fulfilling Jewish life than just prayer and religious observance. Our top priority for our new rabbi is to help us create multiple points of entry into our synagogue, especially for young families. Our creative approach over the past few months has drawn unaffiliated Jews to our virtual doors who have not approached or entered before. We have seen a re-emergence of congregational participation from members who have been physically absent for a long time. Yet, there are many among us, once active and physically present, who find the virtual world anathema and have chosen to absent themselves from current synagogue affairs. Our new rabbi must be able to help us navigate the new normal, creating a hybrid model with appeal to all who choose to become a part of our B’nai family.
We have long been recognized in the community for providing stellar educational opportunities for our youth, and creative adult education programs. Our second priority for our new rabbi is to help us grow our Academy of Learning, creating an atmosphere where our students are engaged and excited to learn from and with their rabbi, and where our Academy director and staff receive the guidance and professional development they
need to excel. Our new Rabbi will create a welcoming environment for our Academy families, ensuring that they are integrated into synagogue life.
Our interim rabbi created an extensive online adult education program. Our new rabbi will help us create innovative learning opportunities that appeal to a multigenerational community of learners both online and in person.
Our congregation is diverse in many ways. Our third priority for our new rabbi is to meet all the life cycle needs of our congregants with compassion and sensitivity. Young or old, LGBTQ or straight, Jews by birth or Jews by choice, Sephardic or Ashkenazi, we expect our new rabbi to treat our congregants with respect and acceptance of who they are as individuals. All should be embraced and made to feel welcomed and valued. We, in turn, hope to make our new rabbi an integral part of our B’nai family.
We expect our new Rabbi to have a strong presence in the Jewish community. Our fourth priority for our new rabbi is to continue to maintain our strong leadership role and to create new relationships as opportunities present themselves. This includes working with the Rabbinic and Cantorial Association of Albuquerque (RACAA), the JCC and Federation, and our sister congregations. Recent local and national events have drawn our interfaith community together and we expect our new rabbi to continue to strengthen our ties with these organizations.
We expect our new rabbi to have a strong presence on the bimah. Yet we recognize that it is important to have a strong lay leadership to support the rabbi’s religious efforts. Our fifth priority for our new rabbi is to create a series of innovative offerings to meet the diverse religious needs of our congregation. Tot Shabbat, Jr. Congregation, family services, learners’ minyan, musical worship opportunities, traditional Shabbat services, SPARKS, and Havdalah programs are examples of what we have been experimenting with, both virtual and live. In coordination with the Ritual committee, create a consistent rotation so congregants can attend the worship service that best meets their spiritual needs.
Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico, with a population of 560,218.
The Metro area consists of Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance and Valencia Counties and has a population of 910,726.
The city lies at the foot of the Sandia Mountains at an elevation of 4,957 feet above sea level, while Sandia Crest towers over it at an elevation of 10,678 feet. From there, it stretches west to the Rio Grande valley, across the river and out onto the west mesa.
The weather is generally mild, with lows in the high 20’s during winter nights and highs in the low 90’s during summer afternoons. The humidity is negligible as is snowfall, which usually has melted by 10 am. In the winter it is possible to be skiing in the morning and playing golf or tennis in the afternoon.
There are many opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing and river rafting in the mountains and national forests that surround the city. More hiking and biking are available in the Bosque which runs along the Rio Grande. The Albuquerque BioPark consists of the Aquarium, Botanical Gardens and Zoo. The city has a number of museums, including the New Mexico Holocaust Museum and Geller Center for Education, the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, the Explora Children’s Museum and the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway and the Petroglyph National Monument also are situated within the city. For professional sports we have the Isotopes, which is a Colorado Rockies farm team and the New Mexico United which provides professional soccer matches.
As Albuquerque sits approximately in the center of New Mexico, most other points of interest are within a four-hour drive: White Sands National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the “four corners” area, Santa Fe, Roswell, and Taos among others.
The city is governed by a nine-member City Council under a strong-mayor system. Tim Keller is the current mayor. B’nai Israel has good relationships with the local media, the City Council and both the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and the Albuquerque Police Department. In the past, several members of our clergy have served in APD’s chaplaincy program. The Albuquerque International Sunport (airport) is serviced by all major airlines; including JetBlue, American Airlines, and is a hub for Southwest Airlines. In addition, two major highways, east-west I-40 and north-south I-95, cross at the “Big I” interchange.
Major employers are Kirtland Air Force Base, the University of New Mexico, Sandia National Labs, Intel. the General Mills facility and Albuquerque Public Schools. The usual big box stores and major restaurant chains abound, but we also have our small businesses and restaurants which specialize in the cuisine Burquenos love featuring our various chiles and salsas, green, red and Christmas. In addition, there has been grape-growing and wine-making since the Spanish missionaries arrived in the late 1500’s. Lately this has been joined by a surge in craft beer brewing. The film industry came in 1898 with “Indian Day School” and has continued to the present with a growing number of movie and TV productions filmed and finished in local post-production studios.
In a normal year, Albuquerque is home to a number of events such as the Gathering of Nations, New Mexico State Fair, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the Day of the Tread (a Halloween-themed bicycling event), Fiery Foods Festival, and the Chocolate and Coffee Festival. Near-by Santa Fe, hosts the Santa Opera in the summer along with the Indian and Spanish Markets and the Fiestas de Santa Fe, which includes the burning of Zozobra, in September.
Additional information can be found at:
City of Albuquerque: https://www.cabq.gov
Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce: https://www.abqcgamber.com
New Mexico Department of Tourism: https://www.newmexico.org
Cost of Living: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-living
Minimum of 5 years congregational experience leading a diverse, multi-generational membership, with a strong emphasis on pastoral care and education for both adults and youth.
Grow our Academy of Learning by creating an atmosphere where our students are engaged and excited to learn from and with their rabbi, and where our Academy director and staff receive the guidance and professional development they need to excel. Create innovative learning opportunities that appeal to a multigenerational community of learners both on-line and in person.
We expect our new rabbi to have a strong presence on the bimah. Must be willing to lead Shabbat, Festival and High Holiday services. Able to leyn torah and/or Haftorah with minimal preparation. Create a series of innovative offerings to meet the diverse religious needs of our congregation. In coordination with the Ritual committee, create a consistent rotation so congregants can attend the worship service that best meets their spiritual needs.
Meet all the life cycle needs of our congregants with compassion and sensitivity. Young or old (we are, at present, an aging congregation) LGBTQ or straight, Jews by birth or Jews by choice, Sephardic or Ashkenazi, we expect our new rabbi to treat our congregants with respect and acceptance of who they are as individuals. All should be embraced, and made to feel welcomed and valued.
Have experience working with volunteers of all ages.
Proven track record in community outreach leading to congregational growth. Ability to create multiple points of entry into our synagogue, especially for young families.
New Mexico is the 5th largest state in land area and ranks 45th in population. This means that our new Rabbi will automatically be expected to be a MAJOR presence both in the local religious leadership as well as the community at large. Maintain our strong leadership role and create new relationships as opportunities present themselves. This includes working with the Rabbinic and Cantorial Association of Albuquerque (RACAA), the JCC and Federation and our sister congregations.
Provide a welcoming environment when working with all generations, including children. Ensure that they are integrated into synagogue life.
Strong listening skills. Able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.
In addition, we expect our new Rabbi to :
Be a team player.
Be a self starter and self reliant.
Have effective organizational skills; the Congregation will not be providing a secretary or administer
Manage multiple technological platforms
Be flexible and sensitive to the dynamics of a family/work schedule.
Pension contribution (monetary amount or percentage of base salary):
The Congregation will pay an amount equal to 6.5 percent (6.5%) of the Base Compensation to the Joint Retirement Board for Conservative Judaism or other program, to provide a pension program for the Rabbi in accordance with the terms of such program designated by the Rabbi and acceptable to the Congregation. The Rabbi may contribute additional funds to the pension program in compliance with applicable law including 26 United States Code Section 403(b).
Major Medical Insurance:
The Congregation will pay 50% of the premium up to $4,200 for the Congregation’s share per annum of the Rabbi’s health and major medical insurance program and, if applicable, the health and major medical insurance programs of the Rabbi’s spouse and minor dependent children.
The Congregation requires the Rabbi to take out a disability insurance policy providing for the maximum available benefits in the Group Disability Insurance Policy sponsored by the Rabbinical Assembly, or some other similar disability insurance policy of his choosing for the term of this engagement agreement. Proof of disability insurance, provisions and premiums shall be on record in the office. The Congregation will reimburse the Rabbi up to a sum of $2,500 per annum toward the premium of the disability insurance policy upon receiving proof of payment.
FICA Coverage or Reimbursement (For US Congregations):
The Congregation will withhold and pay employment taxes in compliance with IRS and State of New Mexico statutes, rules and regulations.
The Congregation shall pay all premiums and contributions required in order to provide workers compensation coverage.
Convention Allowance/Continuing Education:
It is understood that both the Rabbi and Congregation benefit greatly from the Rabbi’s attendance and participation in Conventions of the Rabbinical Assembly and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and other relevant professional conferences and study opportunities. It is therefore expected that the Rabbi may attend and participate in such Conventions whenever and wherever they may occur. Therefore, the Congregation shall pay up to $2,500 per year, non-cumulative, toward the cost of the Rabbi to attend Rabbinical Assembly Conventions, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Conventions and/or other conventions or opportunities for professional development mutually agreed upon by the parties. Up to a total of two (2) weeks will be allowed for conventions and continuing education.
Rabbinical Assembly Annual Dues:
The Congregation will pay for the Rabbi’s membership in the Rabbinical Assembly or other Rabbinical organization, not to exceed $1,200 per year.
Vacation (number of weeks annually):
The Rabbi will be entitled to three weeks of paid time off during each contract year. Paid time off shall be taken at times mutually agreed upon between the Rabbi and the President and must be taken within each contract year. The Congregation will not pay for unused paid time off for the contract year, nor will it be carried over between contract years. For the purpose of accounting paid time off, one week is equivalent to six working days. Subject to his pastoral duties as provided herein, the Rabbi may take the following paid holidays: January 1, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and December 25. Holiday time off is not adjustable.
Included in Vacation/Annual leave above.
Other Benefits (please describe):
High Holy Day tickets: The Rabbi shall be entitled to High Holy Day tickets for each member of his immediate family, during each year of this Agreement.
Dependent Benefit: Minor, dependent children, if any, shall be entitled to free enrollment at the Congregation's Religious School. Non-Congregational services, such as private school or daycare, shall be at the Rabbi’s expense.
Reimbursable: The Rabbi shall be entitled to mileage and parking fees for local travel at the rate set by the Federal Government, for all business-related activities set forth in this Agreement.
Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund: The Congregation will direct the Rabbi to open a Rabbi‘s Discretionary Fund into which members of the Congregation and others may contribute. The monies in the fund are to be used solely at the discretion of the Rabbi for appropriate purposes consistent with the Congregation's charitable and tax exempt purposes to assist individual, educational, and communal needs, as the Rabbi may deem necessary or appropriate.
Ellen Satz, Chair Rabbinic Search Committee
About Congregation B'nai Israel
Congregation B’nai Israel’s story is aligned with the slow and steady growth of the City Of Albuquerque. The arrival of the Santa Fe railroad in the 1880’s promised merchants and small businessmen new-found prosperity. However, they would have to risk leaving their urban conclaves to start over in the wide open spaces of the Southwest.
Jews whose roots were in the Orthodox traditions of Eastern European were among this entrepreneurial group. By 1920, a group of Albuquerque Jewish storekeepers met in the parlor of a local mens’ clothing store owner and made the decision to start their own congregation, apart from the Reform congregation that German-Jews had established here over thirty years earlier.
Originally, the congregation met in rented quarters for many years. Times were tough. And the Depression years strained the finances of the slowly growing congregation. By 1940, enough funds were collected to build a synagogue on the outskirts of the burgeoning downtown district. The World War II years brought dozens of health-professionals, engineers, university professors, and seekers of a dry and healthy climate to the city. By the 1960’s, it became evident to all that the original shul was bursting at the seams and a new place of worship was needed.
Land was purchased in an established neighborhood, and a new synagogue was constructed with a sanctuary that remains awe-inspiring to this day. Through the 1970s up to the turn of the century, the congregation grew and prospered. A new education wing was added, doubling the size of the Religious School. The rabbi, Isaac Celnik served the growing congregation for almost 30 years. Rabbi Arthur Flicker served until 2016.
But times were changing. Other congregations formed, drawing away potential members. Young people moved away, lured by opportunity in larger cities which resulted in empty-nesters withdrawing their membership, making some doubt that the shul was still viable. Shul leadership met the challenges by offering innovative programs that would attract new members as well as meet the needs of members of all ages and interests.
The congregation, now over 100 years old, is confidently set to meet the challenges of the future and is looking forward to the leadership of a new rabbi who will take us to the next step.
The charm and allure of the Southwest is evident in our building, our practices, our sense of spirituality.
When praying in the sanctuary, one can get the feel of the desert of our ancestors in two ways. The shape of the sanctuary is as of a tent – praying under a tent with our biblical ancestors. The light is reflective of the sense of space that one gets in the land of Israel and in the landscape of New Mexico.
Our recently upgraded Kosher kitchen plays a unique gastronomic role. Our Kiddush lunch reflects the tastes of the Southwest with enchiladas, green chili latkes and more. The whole community takes advantage of our kitchen staff’s ability to provide kosher meals for individuals and events. During the pandemic, Shabbat meals can be ordered by the whole community.
Our premier gift shop in New Mexico features hand-crafted Tallitot with a southwest flair made by a Jewish Navajo artist.
In normal times, Summer Shabbat services in the nearby Sandia mountains offer a unique experience.
Congregation B’nai Israel is the oldest Conservative synagogue in New Mexico, celebrating its 100th anniversary. Since the pandemic, B’nai Israel offers virtual services for members and non-members, for Shabbat, High Holidays and all other services as well as education to all generations.
Only Conservative congregation in Albuquerque.
Regularly scheduled weekday Minyan
Sanctuary and synagogue are on the National register of historic places
Conduct telephone services for those that do not have access to technology
Very active and involved Men’s club and Sisterhood
Only Kosher caterer in Albuquerque uses our newly updated kitchen facilities. The caterer provides kosher meals on Shabbat and Holidays and works closely with the Sisterhood to provide meals to our first responders and our homebound members.
Please see our website to read our congregational mission and vision statements.