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October 9, 2015 | 26th Tishrei 5776

Shallat Rabbinic Transition Program and Retreat - FAQs and Testimonials

Transition resources and Shallat Retreat information

In July, many congregations begin or continue the process of rabbinic transition. The URJ can help congregational leaders and clergy through this process.

Why focus on our rabbinic transition?
Focusing on rabbinic transition in your congregation's life allows you to create a deliberate, meaningful, thoughtful and strategic plan for helping your congregational family welcome your new rabbi (and family) into your sacred community. Equally important, it can help your new rabbi understand your congregation's unique system and culture. Such a strategy can help ensure the success of your congregation and will improve both the longevity of your rabbi's tenure and depth of impact in your congregation.

Who will benefit from this program?
Your entire congregational community will benefit from a concentrated focus on transition. The Shallat Retreat is open to rabbis and congregational presidents (or incoming presidents) currently in their first year of rabbinic transition.

What is the Shallat Retreat?
The Shallat Retreat is a highly subsidized two-day retreat for congregational presidents and their new rabbis in the winter of their first year together. Rabbis and presidents will be provided time to "retreat" and assess their developing partnership. Specialists in the field of rabbinic transition and succession management will lead the rabbi/president teams through topics such as listening to your constituency, building partnerships (lay and professional), mutual and ongoing review in the synagogue, vision and others.

During the Retreat you can expect:

  • An intake interview with a specialist in Rabbi/Congregational Relations and Managing Organizational Change and Transition.
  • Reflective self-assessment tools to gauge the needs of your congregation
  • Materials on transition theory
  • Best practices and communication templates for your congregation
  • Ongoing one-on-one consultation with specialists in the field
  • Saying Good-Bye: Saying Hello… We have a transition committee, now what?
  • Establishing clear communication and mutual expectations.
  • Building partnerships that work.
  • Mutual and Ongoing Review in the Synagogue.
  • The role of the rabbi emeritus.
  • Conversations with other congregations going through Transition and to share best practices.
  • "Purposeful Planning" with Rabbi/President Teams to begin the real work of transition and planning.
When and where is the retreat?
January 10-11, 2016 in Chicago, IL.

What is the cost of this retreat?
Registration cost is $300 per congregation including two nights (Saturday and Sunday) double occupancy hotel for two people plus all meals and program. Single rooms are available for $550 per congregation. The program will start promptly at 9 a.m. Sunday morning, so we strongly advise attendees to arrive Saturday. The program will conclude at 3 p.m. on Monday. Please book flights that depart after 5 p.m. on Monday.

Here's what a recent Shallat retreat rabbi-president team had to say about the experience:

The conference was fantastic and gives (the president) and me a shared language. We drove home together and talked for a few hours about some of the theoretical principals as introduced (systems theory, congregational size, leadership styles) and were able to relate them directly to our own congregation. I am delighted that the URJ continues to provide such high level programming. I am grateful that generous folks like the Shallats continue to help my colleagues at the URJ bring their expertise to the people out here in congregation-land. Kol Ha Kavod to all.

As an attendee at this past weekend's Shallat Rabbinic Transition Retreat, I would like to take this moment to thank Rabbi David for developing and facilitating this excellent program. Both (the rabbi) and I found the material to be very engaging - we continued our discussion through our three-hour trip back to our congregation! I also would like to thank Rabbi Bart and Jane Shallat and the Shallat-Rapaport Foundation for their extremely generous funding of this program. Without such funding it is doubtful that we would have been able to attend. I sincerely hope that they continue to support this very important program .

For more information about congregational transition and the Shallat Retreat, contact Rabbi Janet Offel ( or Rabbi David Fine (



    July 26, 2011
    02:10 AM


    It would be great to see a program like this include cantors!


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