Rabbi Janet Offel

Rabbi Janet Offel

Inside Leadership
Close up of a stained glass window inside a synagogue

Planning for a clergy transition is always an emotional process – and that’s certainly as true as ever this year. We recently hosted a webinar for congregation undergoing a rabbinic or cantorial transition in summer 2020 to explore the unique challenges that may arise this year.

Here are seven key thoughts to keep top of mind:

1. The principles of transition management still hold true.

The principles of transition management remain integral to your summer 2020 clergy transition. Remember that every transition involves: letting go and saying goodbye to your current clergy...

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Three people in shadow helping each other ascend to the top of a mountain

Whenever someone utters the words “synagogue governance,” our minds usually go to issues of bylaws, the structure and content of board meetings, and the assemblage of committees. When discussing this topic, we often overlook the importance of a healthy leadership culture.

Congregations thrive when leaders embrace sacred partnership, represent the diverse spectrum of the community, nurture new ideas and experimentation, and promote an inquisitive, positive organizational mindset.

The URJ has identified four cultural habits that inspire healthy leadership and promote good...

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At some point, every congregation faces a time of rabbinic transition – and the process is inevitably an emotional one.

As author William Bridges notes in his book Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, those undergoing such a change will have to say goodbye to what used to be and then experience a neutral phase before they can embark on a new beginning.

In a synagogue, congregants are likely to progress differently through the phases of transition.

For some, the transition will bring about hopeful feelings of welcoming a new rabbi; others will face the...

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Yellow traffic sign with black lettering that says: Change Just Ahead; clear blue sky with fluffy clouds in background

This is the time of year when many congregations prepare to welcome new rabbis and other senior staff members to the temple family. With this period of change comes many emotions – excitement, anxiety, curiosity, sadness at the departure of a long-time beloved rabbi or other staff member…

In our work with the URJ’s Strengthening Congregations team, Rabbi David Fine and I interact with Reform congregations all around North America that are in the midst of change. Whether it be a clergy or senior staffing change, a synagogue merger, an emerging collaboration between multiple...

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