Beginning a Conservative Rabbinic Search

Conservative Kehillot looking to engage a new rabbi do so through the Joint Placement Commission and do not need to place any outside advertising. This ensures that kehillot will engage rabbis that have a strong commitment to Conservative Judaism and have been trained in a way to best meet the needs of a Conservative kehilla. Congregations sign an agreement in writing that commits them to this covenant. Every RA member will see your congregation’s listing.

To start your rabbinic search, you need to register on our e-placement online system. Click that link, or to navigate to the page manually, go to www.rabbinicalassembly.org. At the top of the page, click on “Quick Links” then on the drop-down menu, select “Congregations.” If you do not already have an account, click “register” on the left side bar. Fill out the registration form with all the appropriate information. A congregation needs to be in good standing with the USCJ to be approved. When the RA Career Center approves your registration, you will be emailed a blank “questionnaire” that you will need to fill out. This document allows you to provide ample information about your kehilla, the surrounding community, and about what you are looking for in a rabbi.

Once you fill this out and submit it on e-placement, the RA Career Center will review it. Once it is approved, your placement posting will be visible to all RA members. There is no monthly deadline for filing applications to the RA. You may upload your questionnaire 24/7. Once a kehilla is approved for search and sends in the application form, it is immediately available to those rabbis searching.

The “prime season” for a search is December through April. In an ideal world, congregations spend 4-6 months preparing their questionnaire and refining their process. They post a position in December or January and typically make an offer to a rabbi before the Passover holiday. The goal is to sit down for the first seder knowing who your rabbi will be. However, there is always a “second season” of the process and some congregations don’t conclude their process until May or June.

There is a complete guide for rabbinic search, Aliyah, written by Rabbi Elliot Schoenberg, Global Director of Rabbinic Career Development, and edited by Emily Hendel, Career Center Coordinator. This complete guide to the search process is intended to make the process as anxiety-free and as efficient as possible. Each situation is unique, yet we recommend a careful reading of this guide to ease the experience for the committee, the congregation and the rabbi. This guide reflects the accumulated experience of many congregations which have gone through the process of looking for a rabbi. It reflects the wisdom and guidance of both laity and rabbis. We hope this manual will elevate your confidence in the process. It is our hope that it will be an uplifting experience bringing you and your congregation closer to the Divine Presence.