The Rabbi will serve the religious, spiritual, educational, and emotional needs of his or her congregation and sometimes the larger community with inspirational leadership and be instrumental in shaping and modeling the religious and spiritual values for congregants and for the community.
Our Congregation / Our Community:
The Villages is America’s premier Active Adult Retirement Community located in sunny Central Florida. Temple Shalom of Central Florida, located near The Villages, is the largest Jewish congregation in the Tri-County area (Sumter, Lake and Marion counties). We are an inclusive Reform congregation that offers a warm welcome and a nurturing home to all who seek a meaningful and enduring connection to Judaism. As a Reform Jewish Temple, we are an egalitarian congregation, where all members have full participation in services and worship. Our more than 600 members include Jews of all backgrounds, ages, and levels of observance, including interfaith and LGBT couples, singles and families with children.
Our dynamic congregation and friendly, caring environment draw people to Temple Shalom. We hold weekly Shabbat Friday night services, monthly Saturday morning services, and holiday services and observances. Bar, Bat and B’nai Mitzvot, Torah Study, and special education programs offer learning opportunities for young and old alike. Our vibrant Sisterhood, Brotherhood, Chavurot, Social Action teams, and cultural and entertainment events make Temple Shalom the Center of Jewish life in Central Florida.
- Musically Imbued Religious services. Have primary responsibility for the organization and general content of services. Perform up to five Shabbat and/or holiday services per month, on average. Handle the entire service; prepare and deliver any speech, teaching, or sermon that may be necessary as a part of the ceremony. To deliver meaningful (but not overlong) sermons designed to educate, inform, challenge and inspire members of the congregation at different levels. Support the development and instruction of lay leaders to lead additional services. Continually research and find new materials for services of all kinds – from music to poetry to stories to Jewish commentaries.
- Choral support. The Rabbi works with the Music Director to prepare for and guide Temple Choir rehearsals for Sabbath and High Holiday services as well as various religious holiday and inter-faith performances. The Rabbi and the Ritual Committee combine to play an important role in the congregation’s ongoing and engaged exploration of religious and spiritual musical expression.
- Care of the Congregation
- Counseling and emotional support. Provide religious and emotional support needed for adults and teens, and especially the senior citizen majority of the congregation. Rabbis are often viewed as an extension of the family and are looked to for a variety of different purposes. Offer support and counseling in pre-marital, marital, divorce, mourning, and other counseling and life crisis situations. Be available, as is practical, during office hours for scheduled counseling.
- Care of the sick/ those in need (Bikkur Holim). Travel to where there is a need for the members and support them if they are sick or in need throughout the Tri-county area. Rabbis often perform a variety of services both within the congregation and in the larger community as the need arises.
- Education and scholarship. Educate members and community on history, culture, custom, Torah, Israel, religion, spirituality, and other aspects of Jewish life. Formulate and deliver adult education programs designed to appeal to a broad range of members of differing levels of religious observance, practice, and knowledge, with a view to widening and deepening their knowledge and commitment.
- Life event ceremonies. Officiate at weddings, funerals, bar and bat mitzvahs, and other life events such as a bris or baby naming ceremony, miscarriage/fertility rituals. Provide support such as comforting mourners, preparing and delivering eulogies, counseling family members. Attend Shiva and/or ensure attendance of lay leaders.
- Community building. Create a sense of community within the congregation and in the broader community. The expectation is that the Rabbi will become the face of the congregation in the community. Interact with and participate in events of various interfaith communities and Jewish organizations; write and publish articles for the congregation and the community; encourage inter-Judaic and inter-faith respect and understanding for Judaism; encourage support and understanding for the needs of vulnerable Jews in other lands.
- Perform other duties as may be requested by the Board of Directors
Personal Attributes / Important Considerations
There are four qualities deemed most important by our congregation. They are:
Ability to inspire:
An authentic Jewish leader who can engage the imagination of the membership, the lay leadership and the professional team; a person who has a vibrant and creative vision about the role and function of the temple for a diverse, multi-dimensional congregation of Reform Jews; a leader who can engage, teach, and inspire; a Rabbi who has the intuitive understanding, tact, presence and influencing skills to implement that vision by navigating the venerable traditions of the congregation and the demands of contemporary Jewish realities; a communicator who is unafraid to be a voice of social justice inside and outside the Jewish community when needed; and an innovator who has a history of bringing positive change to past congregations.
Ability to establish and foster a spirit of community:
A Rabbi who is warm, authentic, compassionate, caring and accessible; a Jewish leader who builds relationships between her/himself and members of all ages, as well as between members; an impassioned listener who meets people where they are; a person for whom it is essential that an encounter with the Rabbi is reciprocal and transformative; a true friend of Israel who understands the centrality of Israel in our communal life; a willing supporter of fund-raising activities for the Temple; and a magnet for affiliation through both one-to-one relationships and one-to-many moments of gravitas, inspiration and inclusion.
Ability to make Reform Judaism meaningful and relevant:
A Rabbi who is committed to helping Jews find pathways to evocative, compelling and diverse spiritual experiences; a person who strives to make spirituality an indispensable part of every Jew’s life; a worship leader who is equally comfortable with the needs of the congregation in Hebrew and in English; and a thinker who grapples with the meaning of God and of life, and who engages, challenges and provokes Jews in their own God-journeys and sense of purpose.
Ability to advise and to teach:
A wise counselor who possesses in-depth Jewish knowledge and who can digest, crystalize and teach learners with a broad range of backgrounds and varying Jewish frames of reference; a mentor who blends facts, values and maturity to influence using persuasion rather than authority both one-on-one and in groups; a thought-provoking, engaging teacher and role model who embodies her/his convictions about contemporary issues, Jewish values and Torah commentary with ardor, enthusiasm and precision; an active listener who seeks to understand and tap into the priorities and strategic direction of the lay leadership; an influencer who can comfortably manage conflict when necessary; and a Rabbi who believes that Jewish education for all Jews, at all ages, is a fundamental and essential activity in sustaining a vital and vigorous Jewish life and Jewish future.
These attributes will be evidenced by a past track record of contribution and leadership at other temples, synagogues and Jewish institutions, where a positive legacy has been left in the lives of the congregants, the careers of the professional team and the improved traditions, programs and membership trends of those Jewish institutions.
- Reform Rabbinical ordination from an accredited university or equivalent institution
- A graduate degree or equivalent in a related field of study
- Be learned in areas of Jewish religion, Torah history, literature, culture and spirituality, including reading, writing and speaking Hebrew, and able to transmit significant knowledge of Torah to our adult community who possess all levels of knowledge
- A minimum of (five) years of successful Reform Rabbinic leadership or equivalent in the essential functions described above
Physical Requirements / Working Conditions:
- Computer literate – Email, Word and Internet
- Amenable to Social Media
- Speak publicly for services, sermons, community outreach events, often in outdoor settings
- Function effectively in large groups / crowd situations
- Able to lift and carry Torah (20-30 lbs.)
- Conduct funeral or memorial services at the Temple’s remote memorial park which has uneven terrain
- Available as needed; including possible long days and weekend/holiday work are to be expected
- Manage stress effectively that may arise from balancing the needs of the congregation with administrative duties, financial limitations, and personal obligations, combined with managing the diverse and often demanding population that typically defines a congregation
- Visit various medical facilities or congregant homes to handle needs that arise often in traumatic or difficult circumstances within the tri-county area
- Enthusiastic and engaging; welcoming and hospitable; displaying a well-developed sense of humor
- Optimistic and realistic
- Listening, open, gracious, empathetic and tolerant style
- Willing and desirous to work with an active senior community
- Enthusiastically promotes Jewish practices
- Proactively seeks opportunities to visit the sick, isolated and bereaved
- Drives the community forward through passion and active management
- Delivers uplifting and intellectually robust sermons and services
- Sings in tune (chazzanut); possesses a love of music and believes song is integral to the spirituality of the service
- Generates and embraces new ideas for projects
- Participates in joint initiatives with other clergy in the community representing our Temple while promoting tolerance and inclusion
- Engages with people from all backgrounds
- Works with Board to actively promote membership
- Plays a positive role in cross-communal relations
- Demonstrates a high standard of English verbal and written communication
- Embraces debate and discussion, even if views expressed diverge from the norm
- Can demonstrate an understanding of and embraces Reform Judaism
- Encourage and reinforce the congregation’s identification and links with the people and the State of Israel through personal commitment and involvement at both communal and religious level within and beyond The Villages, Fl.
- Modern outlook, connects with current secular issues
- Open and flexible approach towards people from differing backgrounds
- Sensitive to mixed marriage couples and their children as well as though seeking to convert
- Promotes a range of adult education activities
Organization and Management
- Organized and punctual
- Actively involved in the appraisal process, seeks and responds to feedback
- Works as a team player with the Board of Directors, the Ritual Committee, and Administration to receive and support congregation input
- Awareness of important occasions and shares them with the congregation accordingly
- Keeps stakeholders, such as the President and Board of Directors informed of whereabouts and developments
About Temple Shalom
Our Congregation / Our Community:
The Villages is America's premier Active Adult Retirement Community located in sunny Central Florida. Temple Shalom of Central Florida, located near The Villages, is the largest Jewish congregation in the Tri-County area (Sumter, Lake and Marion counties). We are an inclusive Reform congregation that offers a warm welcome and a nurturing home to all who seek a meaningful and enduring connection to Judaism. As a Reform Jewish Temple, we are an egalitarian congregation, where all members have full participation in services and worship. Our more than 600 members include Jews of all backgrounds, ages and levels of observance, including interfaith and LGBT couples, singles and families with children.
Our dynamic congregation and friendly, caring environment draw people to Temple Shalom. We hold weekly Shabbat Friday night services, monthly Saturday morning services, and holiday services and observances. Bar, Bat and B’nai Mitzvot, Torah Study, and special educational programs offer learning opportunities for young and old alike. Our vibrant Sisterhood, Brotherhood, Chavurot, Social Action teams, and cultural and entertainment events make Temple Shalom the Center of Jewish life in Central Florida.