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September 26, 2003 - Image 110

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

L'SHANAH TOVAH

The Match Game

MATCH-MAKING

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of departed giants, and partly to reduce
competition with older rabbis. "The
congregation knows it's not going to
find the messiah in its assistant," says
Rabbi Richard Levy, director of rabbinic
studies at the Los Angeles campus of the
Reform movement's Hebrew Union
College.
Yet even the journey to an assistant
rabbi's job can prove arduous. Rabbi
Neal Schuster, 33, a recent HUC gradu-
ate, used the Internet to research congre-
gations he was interested in, learning
about their rabbis, senior staff and syna-
gogue location. Like many of his class-
mates, he cast a wide net.
When Reform congregations sent rep-
resentatives this spring to HUC's
Cincinnati campus for an annual three-
day meet-and-greet with upcoming
graduates, Rabbi Schuster spoke with 14
congregations. The Reform rabbis-to-be
then waited for calls from interested syn-
agogues. They spent two to three weeks
traveling to interviews.

Making A Match

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from page 105

Rabbi Schuster and his wife decided
they wanted to raise their toddler-age
children in an affordable area, and his
first choice was Congregation B'nai
Jehuda in Kansas City, an established
temple of 1,400 families. Fortunately,
Schuster was the congregation's first
choice, too.
Rabbi Arthur Nemitoff, 49, was hired
at B'nai Jehuda as senior rabbi just
before Rabbi Schuster. The pair hit it
off, discussing working with one another
"in terms of partnership and coopera-
tion," Rabbi Nemitoff says.
While he sees the importance of serv-
ing as a mentor, Rabbi Nemitoff says, he
also sees drawbacks in thinking of new
rabbis as mere assistants. "Whether
you're an assistant or associate rabbi, the
first three letters" of the title are the
same, he says.
Meanwhile, Rabbi Schuster, who
arrived in Kansas City in midsummer,
says so far he's keeping busy organizing
his new office and simply "figuring out
what this community is all about."
At Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, Rabbi
Schuldenfrei is also making progress.
"He is just spontaneously and authenti-
cally approachable and kind," Rabbi
Wolpe says of his new hire. "That made
a tremendous impression."
And Congregation Beth Jacob in
Oakland recently renewed Rabbi
Dardick's two-year contract. The lay
leaders tend to the shul's administrative
and fund-raising needs, leaving Rabbi
Dardick to be "a full-time rabbi." 0

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