Primary Responsibilities of the Rabbi include:
Act as the religious and spiritual leader of the congregation.
Lead Shabbat and holiday services. (in coordination with our Cantor).
Delivering a D’var Torah and a Sermon on Shabbat Services.
Actively participate and encourage others to participate in the Daily Morning Minyan.
Work cooperatively with our Hebrew School Committee to develop and enhance our religious school programming.
Oversee the preparations of B’nei Mitzvah students.
Create and facilitate adult programming to include leading services, Torah reading, and Haftarah chanting.
Work with the Board and related committees to encourage unaffiliated families to join Kesher Israel.
Encourage active participation in Synagogue activities of current members with particular emphasis on young families and empty nesters.
Participate in outreach efforts to potential members, including interfaith and converts.
Help create a community that is welcoming and embracing of all households.
Provide pastoral services and support to congregation members and their families through life cycle events.
Officiate at life cycle events
Reach out to members in need (such as: becoming sick, facing a sudden crisis- emotional or financial, loss of a job, etc… etc…).
Qualifications – What will make you stand out as our Rabbi:
Ordination from a recognized rabbinical school.
Demonstrated leadership ability which include (but not limited to):
Radiate Enthusiasm and ability to convey such to members and potential members of the congregation.
Passionate about Jewish traditions, history and the Land of Israel.
Passionate to the tasks, the Synagogue and its unique history.
Ability to create new initiatives compatible with the unique history and traditions of Kesher Israel and ability to follow up.
Be a Roll-Model specially to youngsters.
Ability to work with lay persons
Excellent communication ability and skills on daily day activities and when delivering Shabbat sermons
Commitment to Jewish traditional values in accordance with generally accepted Conservative Synagogues rituals (rather than Reform Synagogues). This include Kashrut practices in any of the Synagogue events. However, the Candidate shall be flexible enough to allow gradual modification/s in practices that are within the spirit of Jewish traditions.
Ability to speak, read and understand Hebrew texts – including Biblical, Rabbinical and contemporary texts.
Comfortable leading diverse congregations.
Ability to lead services acting as Sh’alich Tzibur, including ability to read Torah from the scroll and chanting Haftarah.
Is personable, charismatic, relationship driven, comfortable with diverse congregation and approachable.
Interactive with the community at large (Jewish and non-Jewish).
About Congregation Kesher Israel
Congregation Kesher Israel is located at 412 Lombard Street, in the Society Hill section of center city Philadelphia. The original building was constructed in the late 1700’s and housed the first Universalist Church in the United States. In the late 1880’s Congregation Kesher Israel was formed as the result of the merger of three congregations. Since its inception Kesher has been located at the Lombard Street location. It is the oldest synagogue in Philadelphia that has been in the same location since its inception and is probably the second oldest congregation in the Delaware Valley.
Kesher Israel was the centerpiece of Zionism in Philadelphia in the early 1900’s. Clearly this was one of the highpoints of the congregation’s history. In the early 1900’s the great migration of Eastern European Jews settled in the immediate vicinity of Kesher Israel. Within a ten block section of Philadelphia there were dozens of synagogues in the early 1900’s. Today, there are only three. After World War II a large exodus of Jewish families occurred in this section of Philadelphia. Almost all of the shuls closed, the Jewish commercial district immediately adjacent to Kesher Israel was abandoned, and the neighborhood can best be described as poor and desolate. The congregation was keeping the doors open by the shear will of an extremely small group of families. Interestingly the daily minyan continued without interruption.
Commencing in the mid 1970’s the slow rebirth of center city Philadelphia started. Over the course of the next thirty years the congregation slowly rebuilt itself and the two hundred year old building was slowly repaired and restored. Today, center city Philadelphia is a vibrant downtown and Kesher Israel enjoys the fruits of this resurgence.
Kesher Israel can best be described as having several distinct parts. First, it has a small but active daily morning minyan. Second, it has a thriving Shabbat service. Third, we have an active Hebrew school, and lastly we have a large pre-school.
The current membership of the synagogue is approximately two hundred families. We expect to have approximately fifteen bnai mitzvah in the next two years. There are approximately twenty five children enrolled in the Hebrew school and the pre-school has an enrollment of ninety-five two to five year olds.
While the congregation was originally chartered as an orthodox synagogue, today it can best be described as an egalitarian shul with many traditional elements. The Shabbat prayer book is, “Siddur sim Shalom” and the weekday prayer book is Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalom.