Rabbinic Search Update


Rabbinic Candidate Bios | Rabbinic Committee Updates

Focus Groups 

Rabbinic Visit weekend, January 21st - 23rd!

Complete schedule for Rabbinic candidate visit this Shabbat

Please join us as we welcome our second rabbinic candidate, Rabbi David Cantor, and his wife Kedma, when they visit us on Friday, January 21st and Saturday, January 22nd.

Based on survey feedback from our previous candidate visit, we have made modifications to the services and activities planned for this weekend. Please see below for full details.

Friday, January 21st

7:30 a.m. – Morning Minyan
Our daily minyan has been in existence for more than 50 years and is the lifeblood of daily prayer and activity. Rabbi Cantor will participate in services and share some Jewish learning.

6:15 p.m. – Ma’ariv and Kol Tefillah Kabbalat Shabbat Service
The focus group feedback we received earlier in the year indicated that many congregants want a rabbi to be open to having music be a part of services, and possibly even have some level of musical talent, so we will have Rabbi Cantor lead a shortened Kol Tefillah Kabbalat Shabbat service and a full Ma’ariv service. This will allow congregants to see Rabbi Cantor lead both a musical service and a traditional service.

Saturday, January 22nd

9:00 a.m. – Shabbat Morning Service
Shabbat morning services are the cornerstone of Shabbat worship, and Rabbi Cantor will lead parts of the traditional Shabbat morning service, read Torah and Haftorah, and give a D’var Torah.

11:30 a.m. – Kiddush Lunch
A light lunch, for those who have already made reservations, will be available.

12:15 p.m. – Q & A with Rabbi Cantor
After lunch, our moderator will be asking Rabbi Cantor questions based on qualities and skills congregants identified in focus groups as being priorities for a new rabbi as well as questions previously submitted by congregants.

6:15 p.m. – Havdalah and Songs
Rabbi Cantor will lead a short Havdalah service followed by some study and songs with new and familiar tunes.

All items listed above will be offered via Livestream except for Morning Minyan (which will be available via Zoom here), and the Kiddush Lunch on Saturday morning.

Focus groups also indicated that congregants want a rabbi that can reach out to families and youth, so Rabbi Cantor will visit the preschool and participate in activities with the Torah School and USY.

We hope that you will take the time to come to as many of the events listed above as possible so that Rabbi Cantor can get to know who we are as a community.

After his visit, members will receive a rabbinic candidate survey. Your input is a very important part of the rabbinic search process, so if you attend any of the services or activities during Rabbi Cantor's visit, please submit a survey to let us know if you think Rabbi Cantor would make a good rabbi for our congregation. Members may submit one survey per person. Youth will participate in their own surveys.

Surveys are due no later than midnight Monday, January 24th.

Thank you.

Bram Rubinstein
Isabel Schechter
Rabbinic Search Committee Co-Chairs

Rabbinic Candidates:

Rabbi David Cantor

Rabbi David Cantor was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba and started on his journey to the rabbinate from a basic curiosity about his Jewish heritage that grew into a passion for Jewish learning, living, and teaching. With his high school sweetheart Kedma (who came to Judaism on her own journey of discovery) he is the father of four surviving children: Joash (23), Avniel (20), Shoshana (18), and Devora (16).

Kedma Cantor

Rabbi Cantor has been the rabbi at Temple Beth Shalom in Long Beach since 2013.

He received his Rabbinic Ordination, Master of Arts in Rabbinic Studies, and Master of Hebrew Letters from American Jewish University in Bel Air.

Rabbi Cantor has served as an On-Call Chaplain for Emergency Response at Eastern Maine Medical Center. He has also served as an On-Call Chaplain for St Joseph Healthcare in Bangor, Maine, and as a member of the Ethics Committee there.

Rabbi Cantor is fascinated by linguistics, history, philosophy, psychology, and popular culture. This year he and Kedma celebrated their first Thanksgiving as American citizens, and look forward to learning more about San Diego, Tifereth Israel, and the local Jewish community.

Visited January 7th - 9th

Rabbi Mathew Marko

Rabbi Mathew Marko has been serving as Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel of Greenville, South Carolina for six years. He hails from Brooklyn, New York and survived 20 years in Los Angeles. His career adventures have included acting professionally at the Hippodrome State Theatre in Florida, various theaters in New York City, and The Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles, development and fundraising, teaching students as a much-demanded substitute teacher in LA’s school district, and the proprietor of a fine carpentry and custom furniture shop in Los Angeles. This is all precedent to realizing his calling: Torah, Jewish community, tradition balanced with spiritual modernism, social justice and Israel. Rabbi Matt has also been combining his love of Torah and creativity in teaching nagarut/woodshop at Camp Ramah for the past nine years, as well as custom crafting sacred synagogue furniture in his spare time.

Rabbi Matt holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Performance from the University of Florida at Gainesville with a minor in Hebrew. He earned his Master of Arts in Rabbinic Literature and rabbinic ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.

Rabbi Matt’s other interests include scuba diving (certified instructor), sky diving, bicycling, motorcycling, playing music, traveling the world, and being a creative kosher chef of international cuisine (what he dubs “kosher treiff”).

Rabbi Matt owes his success to the support of his best friend and wife Marie. Marie and Matt are absolutely thrilled at the possibility of permanently relocating back to beautiful southern California.

Update from the Rabbinic Search Committee Co-Chairs:

December 7, 2021

We are excited to give you an update on the progress we are making on the rabbinic search.

Our search committee has been busy interviewing candidates to be our next rabbi. As we previously reported, we have received five resumes and interviewed all five candidates. Of the five candidates, we went forward with second interviews with two of the candidates. As a result of those interviews, we invited the two candidates to visit our congregation in January.

We were impressed with the candidates' qualifications, and after getting to know them through the interview process, we think the congregation should also get to know them. We are working on the specifics of the visits and will provide more information as soon as we finalize the details.

We will also keep you posted if we receive any additional resumes and interview any additional candidates.

Bram Rubinstein
Isabel Schechter
Rabbinic Search Committee Co-Chairs

November 21, 2021

Our committee has been hard at work interviewing candidates to be our next rabbi. We are happy to report that we have had introductory interviews with five candidates. Of the five candidates, we decided to move forward with two of them, and have scheduled second interviews with both.

We hope to have more information to report soon as we move on to the next phase of the interview process.

Thank you.

Bram Rubinstein and Isabel Schechter
Rabbinic Search Committee Co-Chairs

October 2, 2021

Thank you to everyone who participated in one of our rabbinic search focus groups. The information we gathered will be invaluable as we put together our Congregation Questionnaire for rabbinical candidates to review. The questionnaire is what candidates will be using to determine if they would like to submit a resume to our synagogue, so it is crucial that the questionnaire reflect our congregation and what we are looking for in a rabbi.

Now that the High Holy Days are over, we are working on finalizing the questionnaire and will be submitting it to United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism / Rabbinic Assembly soon. We will hopefully start receiving applications shortly thereafter.

We will continue to keep you updated once we start to receive applications.

Thank you.

Bram Rubinstein and Isabel Schechter
Rabbinic Search Committee Co-Chairs

August 3, 2021

Our rabbinic search process focus groups have already provided valuable information about what our congregation thinks our synagogue's priorities should be, and the qualities a new rabbi should have. If you have not already attended a focus group, there are two left: this Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7:00 p.m. We value the thoughts of every single congregant and hope you will attend.

While the focus groups have been going on, we have been working on putting together a search committee. Finding a new rabbi is never an easy task, and it is important to have a committee that is able and committed to doing the difficult work a search requires. We have put together a committee that reflects the various groups within the shul (age, gender, family status, length of membership, religious service preference, etc.) and are confident our committee members will serve the congregation well.

Although we had many congregants ask to be put on the committee, we simply could not invite everyone to join who expressed an interest in serving. It is, however, a testament to our congregation that so many members were willing to engage in the process, and we are grateful that we have such a dedicated community of people who understand how important this work is.

Here are the members of the committee: Christal Ghitman, Christina De Jesus, Cindy Lackenbacher, Dan Tomsky, Daniella Knellman, David Berman, David Ogul, Debbie Mishek, Jenny Winkler, Judi Gottschalk, Perry Arenson.

We will continue to keep you updated as the search goes on.

Bram Rubinstein and Isabel Schechter
Rabbinic Search Committee Co-Chairs

July 27, 2021

As part of our commitment to keeping the rabbinical search process as open and transparent as possible, we will provide updates on the status of the search as we go along, as well as the process involved.

As a member of the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism (USCJ), our congregation participates in the Joint Placement Commission (JPC) rabbinic search process. Each congregation that participates in the process must complete a questionnaire that will be used by rabbinic candidates to determine if they would like to submit a resume to that congregation. The questionnaire requires us to dig deeper than merely saying we want a good rabbi, but rather, ask ourselves, what kind of good rabbi do we want?

To answer that question, we are seeking input from the congregation through focus groups. These groups are an opportunity for you to let us know what qualities you think are important in a rabbi and what you think the congregation’s priorities should be. We hope you will attend a focus group and share your thoughts with us. You can find the schedule here, and are welcome to attend any time for which you are available, regardless of the demographic. The information we gather from the focus groups will be used to complete our questionnaire and hopefully attract candidates that are aligned with our values and priorities. The questionnaire will be submitted immediately after the High Holy Days. Once we start receiving resumes, we can move on to the next step of the process, which we will be sharing more about in our next update.

We are in the process of putting together a search committee that will reflect the diversity of our congregation in age, gender, stage of life, interest areas, etc. and we will also keep you updated about that.

Bram and Isabel
Rabbinic Search Committee Co-Chairs

July 12, 2021

We are grateful to Rabbi Dorsch for the work he has done to help us continue to be a welcoming, inclusive community, and look forward to finding a new rabbi that will build upon that foundation.

The search process will include conducting focus groups for congregants to participate in discussions about what qualities we would like our next Rabbi to have and what priorities members have for our synagogue. Please attend one of the focus groups listed below to help us ensure that the entire community’s voices are heard.

It is vital for our congregation to be actively engaged in this important opportunity to determine our community’s future. Please see below for the dates and times of the focus groups.

We will keep the congregation informed about the search process and hope this is an opportunity for us to grow closer as a community.

Bram and Isabel
Rabbinic Search Committee Co-Chairs

Congregational Focus Group Meetings

Monday July 19th
• 5:00 p.m. - Open to all - Zoom
• 8:00 p.m. - Families with Children under 13 – Zoom
Sunday July 25th
• 5:00 p.m. - Singles – Zoom
• 7:00 p.m. - Families with Children over 13 - in person (Sanctuary)
Sunday August 1st
• 9:30 a.m. Religiously focused - in person (Sanctuary)
• 11:00 a.m. Teens - in person (Youth Lounge)
• 1:00 p.m. - Seniors - Zoom
Wednesday August 4th
• 7:00 p.m. - Empty Nesters and Boomers – Zoom
Thursday August 5th
• 7:00 p.m. - Open to All - In person (Sanctuary)

July 1, 2021

Rabbinic Search

I am excited to announce that Bram Rubinstein and Isabel Schechter are heading our Rabbinic Search Committee. They are already hard at work reviewing resources and past applications and putting together a diverse committee. Isabel and Bram will keep you updated and will serve Tifereth Israel well. Please keep an eye out for their announcements and updates. I encourage you to fully participate in the process.

With great anticipation,

Debbie Mishek

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