Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Wanna Be Our CBI Rabbi?

Just Answer These Five Three Questions: First, a bit of ABQ Jewish history: As many of us in the community recall, Rabbi Arthur Flicker of Congregation B'nai Israel (CBI) stepped down at the end of June 2016.

Jacob's Ladder

In 2016, after following the procedures of the Conservative Movement's Rabbinical Assembly, the CBI rabbinical search committee was able to identify and secure the services of a new rabbi. That rabbi served CBI for two years.

After recalculating, a new rabbinical search committee posted a Help Wanted ad on the website - and was able to identify and secure the services of an interim rabbi. That rabbi also served CBI for two years.

In the meantime, in between time, and through it all - including the Covid pandemic - now Rabbi Emeritus Arthur Flicker has played a major role in keeping CBI alive and well.

And now - Abq Jew reports with deep hope and sincere best wishes that there is once again a new B'nai Israel rabbinical search committee, which has once again posted a new Help Wanted ad on the website

You can read the full ad right here. It begins:
Senior Rabbi
Although we are committed to remaining a traditional Conservative congregation, we realize that there is more to a fulfilling Jewish life than just prayer and religious observance.  
Our top priority for our new rabbi is to help us create multiple points of entry into our synagogue, especially for young families.  Our creative approach over the past few months has drawn unaffiliated Jews to our virtual doors who have not approached or entered before.  
We have seen a re-emergence of congregational participation from members who have been physically absent for a long time.  Yet, there are many among us, once active and physically present, who find the virtual world anathema and have chosen to absent themselves from current synagogue affairs.  
Our new rabbi must be able to help us navigate the new normal, creating a hybrid model with appeal to all who choose to become a part of our B’nai family. 

CBI Interior

The congregation, now over 100 years old, is confidently set to meet the challenges of the future and is looking forward to the leadership of a new rabbi who will take us to the next step.

The charm and allure of the Southwest is evident in our building, our practices, our sense of spirituality.

When praying in the sanctuary, one can get the feel of the desert of our ancestors in two ways.  The shape of the sanctuary is as of a tent – praying under a tent with our biblical ancestors. The light is reflective of the sense of space that one gets in the land of Israel and in the landscape of New Mexico.

Congregation B'nai Israel

Which of course brings to Abq Jew's misfiring mind the glorious flick Monty Python and the Holy Grail
And his 2016 classic Wanna Be Our Rabbi?
And his 2018 follow-up Wanna Be Our Interim Rabbi?

What are the questions that Abq Jew would like to ask each candidate? Abq Jew joyfully recalls (as he is sure you also do) The Bridge of Death. As every Monty Python fan knows, the first two questions are always

What is your name? What is your quest?

The third question, we surely recall, varies, with distinctly varying outcomes. Here are some of Abq Jew's possibilities. You're welcome!
1. How many roads must a man walk down before they call him a man? Yes and how many roads must a woman walk down before they call her a woman? Are these numbers the same? Discuss. 
2. You live in T or C. You are a guest at a Sunday wedding that will inexplicably take place at a megashul in downtown Pittsburgh. You are staying the weekend at the Steeler Stele, a 42-storey architectural wonder that offers self-directed elevators and electronic room keys. Your room is on the 27th floor. The Friday night Oneg Shabbat runs a bit late, and you stay at shul for the Hashkama Minyan on Saturday. Describe where, when, how, and why you take your Shabbos nap. 
3. You are the new rabbi in a a well-established congregation. Every week on the Sabbath, a fight erupts during the service. When it comes time to recite the Shema prayer, half of the congregation stands and the other half sits. The people who are standing yell at the people who are sitting, "Stand up!" while the people who are sitting yell at the people who are standing, "Sit down!" Should the congregation stand or sit for the Shema? What is the tradition? 
Hint: The Story of Shabbat 505
4. According to some (but, of course, not all) commentators, the purpose of performing mitzvot is to guide us in living good lives, being good people, and doing good things in the world. Describe in discrete mathematical terms the exact correlation between performing mitzvot and being a good person. Carefully but completely explain why there is a need for kosher food in our prison system.
5. Your local JCC offers excellent facilities for exercise and very good Jewish programming. It also offers no pleasantly functional performance space ("theater") and no kosher food service (although pescatarian fare is available). Your synagogue currently offers a beautiful sanctuary (with comfortable seats, good sight lines, and superb acoustics) and full meat and dairy kosher food service. How can your synagogue work with the JCC to provide a magnificent performance space, outstanding kosher dining, and terrific Jewish programming? 
6. Your new synagogue has a strong tradition of congregational singing during worship services, often with instrumental accompaniment. You are not comfortable with this arrangement. If the instrumentalists promise not to tune their instruments, will this ameliorate your concerns? If not, describe the concrete steps (or earthen ramp) you will take to transform the choir into a powerhouse a capella group (like Pizmon or, lehavdil, the Maccabeats) suitable for weddings and b'nai mitzvah.
7Who wrote the Five Books of Moses? Who wrote the Book of Mormon? Who wrote the Book of Love?

Maftir. If and only if the candidate responds both earnestly and meaningfully to the above questions, he or she may be entitled to attempt the tie-breaker. Which is (Abq Jew's favorite!):

Define the universe. 
Three Bubbes
Give three examples.

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