Rabbi Stephen Slater

Welcoming Rabbi Stephen Slater

I am happy to share with you that Temple Beth-El has a signed contract with Rabbi Stephen Slater. His initial term will be three years, and he will be joining us on June 15, 2018, to begin serving as our Senior Rabbi. Rabbi Slater is in his final year before ordination at Hebrew College in Boston, MA. He has most recently served as spiritual leader at Congregation Shaaray Tefila in Glens Falls, NY. I will be assembling a transition team to support Rabbi Slater. The team will guide him through his first year, serving as a resource to draw on as he learns about all aspects of our synagogue and our community.

This search has been a long process. On behalf of Temple Beth-El, I thank the Rabbi Search Committee co-chairs Stephen Greene and Glynnis Levitt, as well as the entire committee for their devoted work. This process began in January 2017, when Steve and Glynnis began discussing the needs and wants of our congregation, guided by the Visioning feedback. The committee, formed in the summer of 2017, is comprised of Julie Cohen, Barry Dreayer, Lisa Engel, Arlene Fisher, Naomi Ivker, Jimmy Krell, Amy Peetluk, Rebecca Rothman, Abraham Schuster, Carol Tuck and Karen Weinrib, as well as Rabbi Leff, Bob Greenberg and me. My thanks to each of these individuals for the amazing amount of time, energy and devotion they each contributed to this process.

After initially posting our search with the Rabbinical Assembly, and receiving little response in the way of promising candidates, the Committee decided to ask for a waiver to search outside the RA. We received that waiver on January 11, 2018, posted our position with other sources, and received multiple responses. After extensive Skype interviews with all applicants, the Committee brought in the three most promising candidates. Based on interviews, verification of references, congregational survey results, feedback from the Jewish community at large, and an open congregational meeting, the committee unanimously voted to recommend Rabbi Slater. The Board of Directors also was unanimous in its acceptance of that recommendation. Rabbi Slater happily accepted — he and his wife Bethany were quite taken with our beautiful city, our community, and most of all, Temple Beth-El.

Rabbi Slater’s outgoing, inspirational ability to reach all age groups was evident from the overwhelmingly positive feedback the Committee received from the congregation. I am excited for the promising future Temple Beth-El holds.

Once again, please join me in thanking the Committee co-chairs and its members. Additionally, thanks are due to Bob Greenberg, Pam Williams, Lindsey Herring, Lisa Adams and Sarah Metzger for working with each candidate. We have an awesome staff. They are committed to helping Rabbi Slater flourish in his new role. I know you will each join me in welcoming the Slaters upon their arrival in June. Thank you for your continued commitment to our synagogue.

Jacob Halpern, TBE President