Temple Beth-El, of Ithaca NY, https://www.tbeithaca.org/, is excited to post a position for our next pulpit rabbi. Temple Beth-El is a vibrant congregation with a deep and rich history in Central NY. We are searching for a spiritual leader who will help us continue to build on this rich history and engaged community. In what follows, we provide background regarding our synagogue, the congregation, and Ithaca. We also describe the key elements that we are looking for in our next rabbi. For any questions about our search, and to submit applications please reach out to the co-chairs of the search committee, Jerry Dietz (jerry@cspmanagement.com) and/or Ariel Avgar (aca27@cornell.edu).
What are we looking for in our next rabbi?
• The ability to listen and care. The rabbi should be able to engage with everyone, from the very youngest members to those in the final stages of their lives. Appreciating our diversity, our congregation seeks a spiritual leader who is inclusive.

• Educating our youth is essential in preparing the next generation for a meaningful Jewish life. Adult education offerings, including conversion classes are also important.

• A rabbi who creates learning opportunities engaging a variety of congregants and families, including those with members of other faith traditions.

• The Temple Beth-El rabbi has provided the rabbinical voice of our Ithaca Jewish community in numerous settings over the years. Our new rabbi should continue to represent the Jewish community in civic matters and to continue to build relationships with the local interfaith community.

Areas that we hope the new rabbi will help us address:
Given the anticipated changes associated with a transition in spiritual leadership, we expect the rabbi to be thoughtful in helping our congregation evolve in a number of ways.
Our congregation seeks a rabbi who will help us continue to try new approaches to Jewish life and who can be a resource for our community, offering ideas about how other congregations are moving to revitalize communal prayer. We look forward to exploring together topics as diverse as social justice, community volunteerism, climate change, spirituality, philosophy, theology, relationship with G-d, and kabbalah. The exploration of how Judaism offers us moral and spiritual values will lead us to enjoy more meaningful lives, with the synagogue being meaningful for us all.

Areas that are important to us to maintain or preserve:
It is very important to us that our next rabbi preserve the following:
• Meaningful connection with our youth, including direct involvement in their b’nei mitzvah preparation.
• Inclusive acceptance of the wide range of observance amongst our membership.
• Relationships both within our membership and in connection to other religious communities.
• Compassionate and genuine support at all life cycle events.
• Our identity as an egalitarian synagogue affiliated with the USCJ that celebrates tradition and remains open to new ideas and practices.

The qualities, skills, and areas of expertise that we would like to see in our new rabbi:
Pastor. The ability to listen, digest what s/he’s heard and care, to be a truly comforting presence, is of paramount importance. To provide support at challenging times in a compassionate and caring manner, a rabbi must know the congregants well, and must be that central figure who unites and strengthens members of the congregation.
Relational leader /community builder. We seek a spiritual leader who is inclusive and good at facilitating important connections between individuals, and who treats all congregants with respect. A creative rabbi helps develop programming and learning opportunities aimed at engaging the full variety of congregants and families of all configurations.
Teacher. Adult education offerings, including basic Judaism classes and conversion classes. Enthusiasm for exploring a broad range of Jewish topics, including cultural, political, and religious subjects, requires a broad knowledge of and/or openness to the Jewish and secular world. We seek a rabbi who will facilitate thoughtful and nuanced discussion and incorporate varied viewpoints.

Community representative. The Temple Beth-El rabbi has provided the rabbinical voice of our Ithaca Jewish community in numerous settings and has been viewed in this role over the course of many years. It would be advantageous for our new rabbi to continue to represent Temple Beth-El and the Jewish community in civic matters, to serve as a significant community leader in Ithaca and Tompkins County, and to continue to build relationships with the local interfaith community. The rabbi as community representative attends to matters as mundane as educating the school districts on the Jewish calendar, to matters as sensitive as anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

Features of our congregation that are unique:
Our temple is growing! What is attractive in a temple of our size is:
• Often our b’nei mitzvah students lead both the Friday evening and Saturday morning services
• We have a hands-on Chevra Kadisha that includes taharah
• We also have a preschool that is open to all members of our community no matter their religious affiliation.
• Our resources include Cornell and Ithaca College faculty, which allows us to offer interesting lectures and programs (see A. Jewish Community for more information)
• Our temple relies on volunteers. We have a small administrative staff and our volunteers work hard to keep us running smoothly.
• Sisterhood provides programming for members and the congregation, and raises funds for the Religious School and various projects.
• The Ithaca Area United Jewish Community is very active (see A. Jewish Community for more information)
The Ithaca Community

We are a small town with a big-city feel. We have the most unique community in upstate New York. We are a vital and growing community. Our unemployment rate is low, 3.0%. Our county has grown in population. Tompkins county has a population of over 101,000. There are various industries in our town but the most important employers are in education. Cornell University Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College are our largest employers. Because of the colleges being our basic industry, economic down turns are usually very minimal.
Ithaca City School District has great schools. In addition to fulfilling the Regents requirements of NYS, the Middle and High Schools offer sports, visual and performing art activities, and a wide array of student clubs, in addition to many AP classes. Ithaca also has an Alternative Community School that is nationally renowned and includes middle school and high school. The Ithaca community also has a wealth of extraccurricular cultural and sports related programs for students of all ages. The surrounding communities, such as Dryden, Lansing, and Trumansburg, also have excellent academic credentials.
Another unique aspect of our community is the diversity that we have and that we embrace. Over twelve percent of the population in Tompkins county was born outside of the country. A second area of diversity is our LGBTQ+ population. Ithaca is inclusive with many businesses adorning their windows with Inclusive Space Decals. Approximately 499 same-sex couples reside in Tompkins County.
Ithaca has something for everyone, no matter the season. We are in upstate New York and the weather is cold in the winter but we are not in the snow belt. The last few years New York City had more snow than Ithaca. There are many winter activities to do individually, as a family, or through our school systems. In the winter we enjoy ice skating, sledding, snowboarding, and skiing. The other three seasons are also incredible. There is a reason we say “Ithaca is Gorges.” Cayuga Lake, the longest Finger Lake provides many activities. One can explore the waterfalls, hike and swim in state parks, kayak or sail, or walk around the universities. Ithaca has over 150 waterfalls, three state parks, many wineries in the area, an amazing farmers market, and many fine restaurants, including Moosewood the world- famous veg

Work Remotely: no

rabbinic ordination and experience

Position Start Date: July 1, 2023

Pension contribution (monetary amount or percentage of base salary)

$13,000 – 15,000 (10% of salary plus parsonage allowance if any)

Major Medical Insurance:
Hospitalization for the rabbi and family (specify either percentage of premiums to be paid by the synagogue or a dollar amount):

Hospitalization 75% of the premium for temple’s insurance $8,000-18,000 plus $2000 HSA contribution (Premium depends on family size)

Disability Insurance: $800

FICA Coverage or Reimbursement (For US congregations):
Yes, employer’s share (average for range; $9,945- $10,415)

Supplementary Health Insurance (For Canadian congregations): N/A

Convention Allowance/Continuing Education:
$5,000 combined with professional dues

Rabbinical Assembly Annual Dues: See above

Vacation (number of weeks annually): 4 weeks per year

Parental/Family Leave: As required by law

Synagogue or Day School Tuition Reimbursement for Rabbi’s Children:
Tuition is free to all rabbi’s children enrolled in Rabbi Felix Aber religious school.

Ramah or Other Camp Scholarship for Rabbi’s Children:

Scholarship are open to all children in Rabbi Felix Aber religious school. These also is The Benjamin and Rachel Siegel Campership Fund which provides scholarships for young people to participate in Jewish camps, USY events, or trips to Israel.

Other Benefits (please describe):
By negotiation, further benefits (e.g. parsonage allowance) may be provided with a corresponding reduction in salary)


Total value of benefits for the rabbi: $168,745 - $201,215

Salary Range: Proposed Base Salary (not including benefits): $130,000- $150,000 per annum, based on candidate’s qualifications and experience
Send resumes and cover letter to:

jerry@cspmanagement.com (Jerry Dietz)
aca27@cornell.edu (Ariel Avgar)

About Temple Beth-El, Ithaca

in position description