Dear Temple Beth-El Family,
We are writing with exciting updates from the Search and Strategy Committee.
As you know, the first objective of our search process was to identify an interim rabbi for Temple Beth-El for the coming year.
We are so happy to share that we have reached an agreement with Rabbi Hillel Norry to serve in this capacity, and last night, the temple board approved our recommendation.
Over the past month, we interviewed three candidates, and from the very beginning of our interview, we knew that Rabbi Norry would be a wonderful fit for our congregation. He is warm and engaging, scholarly and dynamic, and creative and flexible. We are looking forward to getting to know him and learn from him in the upcoming year.
Rabbi Norry lives in Atlanta with his family, and he will be leading us using a combined approach of in-person and remote access. He will be with us for the High Holidays and will join us in-person for approximately two Shabbat weekends a month as well as being in regular touch with us during the week over Zoom. This will include teaching classes, supporting us with pastoral care (which will be mainly via phone calls during the week), assisting with the next phase of the rabbinic search, and much more. He will also officiate at life-cycle events in person. In 2020-21, he was Interim Rabbi at B’nai Zion in Chattanooga, and the experience of being a partially-virtual interim leader has shown him, and us, that this hybrid approach is not only possible, but a truly exciting opportunity.
Prior to his recent interim position, Rabbi Norry served as spiritual leader at Congregation Shaare Zedek in New York City and as Senior Rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel in Atlanta. He has a long history of involvement with the Ramah camping movement, from his time as a camper at Ramah Canada to his serving as scholar-in-residence at Ramah Darom for the past five summers. Rabbi Norry is a vegan cooking expert and a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. A lifelong musician, Rabbi Norry is also an accomplished guitarist and harmonica player.
You can read Rabbi Norry’s bio here: His contract will officially begin on July 1st, and his first Shabbat with us will be July 9th-10th. Save the date to help us welcome him to Birmingham on that weekend. Please watch your emails for details – we cannot wait for you to meet him!
In related news, we are very pleased to announce that our Strategy Subcommittee has recommended hiring Glynnis Levitt as the Interim Chief of Operations. This recommendation was approved by the board, and we are thrilled to formally welcome Glynnis back to TBE in a professional capacity. Many of you already know Glynnis, as she has been a member, active volunteer, and lay-leader for many years.
She brings to the role decades of business and leadership experience, along with a deep commitment to our congregation and the broader community. Some of you may have already seen her in the office this past week. Glynnis will be working with the staff and lay leaders, overseeing day-to-day operations at Temple Beth-El, and assisting Rabbi Norry with his transition to life in our congregation. Of course, she is available to assist you with any questions you may have about life-cycle events or anything else. Glynnis can be reached at
We will be in touch again soon with more ways you can be involved with the upcoming search for our next rabbi. As we have noted before, we welcome your input, and we look forward to hearing your ideas. Whether you have been a member of TBE for one month or your entire life, your voice matters, and we want to hear from you!
Again, thank you for your patience. Please feel free to contact us to share ideas as we move ahead together.
Jacob Halpern (Co-Chair)
Rebecca Rothman (Co-Chair)
Ronald Levitt, President