Who is Temple Beth Or? l Worship

By Glen Pickus, Temple Beth Or | Mar 21, 2018

Searching for a rabbi is not your typical business world job recruitment effort.

As mentioned in a previous column, after nine rewarding years at Temple Beth Or (TBO), Rabbi Jessica Marshall left TBO last July to pursue other rabbinic interests in Colorado.

Since then, the synagogue has been going through a rabbinic search process.

Step 1 was forming a Rabbinic Search Committee which I am a part of.

Step 2 was contacting the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR).

The CCAR is the oldest and largest rabbinic organization in North America. Its mission is to foster excellence in Reform rabbis.

TBO participated in the CCAR hiring process because the resources the organization offers to help synagogues hire rabbis is unsurpassed.

The key to the process is the “application” the synagogue compiles to advertise a rabbinic opening.

The CCAR posts the application on their website then forwards the resumes and writings of interested candidates to the synagogue.

To help us fill out the application, we asked congregants to participate in intensive structured workshops and to complete an online survey.

We were specifically seeking input on how congregants perceived TBO so we could answer the question, “Who is Temple Beth Or?”

The answer we received was put in the application to ensure that those who ended up applying for the position knew what the TBO community was like and what would be expected of them.

So how do TBO members describe themselves?

The predominate answer was Temple Beth Or is a warm and welcoming community.  Many members consider TBO their second family.

Several people pointed out TBO is a great place to raise children; that the TBO religious school helps guide our children towards becoming productive Jewish members of society.

A diverse community was the second most common response.

We are diverse in our family composition with nearly half of our member families being the result of interfaith marriages.

A significant number of TBO member families are headed by same sex partners.

Our congregants represent a wide range of sexual orientation and identification.

Temple Beth Or’s membership covers the full socioeconomic gamut including the unemployed, service workers, teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, attorneys, educators, other professionals and even a city planner.

Even our diversity is diverse.

We at TBO also see ourselves as the heart of the Snohomish County Jewish community with the responsibility to represent Judaism in the area.

As such, we are required to reach out to unaffiliated fellow Jews as well as to the non-Jewish community all with the goal of working together to make this world a better place.

While the end of this story hasn’t been reached quite yet, I’m optimistic we’ve identified the ideal rabbi to assume the TBO pulpit in July.   Better yet, I believe she has identified Temple Beth Or as the ideal synagogue to continue her rabbinate.

It’s my hope that my next column will introduce to Mukilteo Beacon readers Temple Beth Or’s new rabbi.



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