Rabbi Judith Siegal to become the Senior Rabbi of Temple Judea

Serving on the Rabbinic Search Committee has been a great privilege, culminating in the solemn, yet joyful, moment when the committee made its report to the Board of Trustees, recommending that it select Rabbi Judith Siegal to become the senior rabbi of Temple Judea.

The committee’s recommendation was unanimous. We made our recommendation following a thorough national search that led to the conclusion  that Rabbi Siegal is a premier member of today’s Reform Jewish rabbinate, and the very best person to fill this position and to inspire and lead our congregation. Rabbi Siegal is not only learned and skilled in the precepts and scholarship of Judaism, and in the pastoral duties of a rabbi, she also has a personal spirituality and warmth that makes her the object of well-deserved love and reverence from our congregation.

The Rabbinic Search Committee conducted a very thorough outreach to the congregation for its views, aspirations and hopes for a senior rabbi. In a half dozen structured facilitated conversations, and in many more one-on-one conversations and communications from congregants, we heard their strong hope for a rabbi who can bring them a sense of personal belonging, warmth and relationship to the temple.  We are certain, and feel very strongly, that Rabbi Siegal is the right person to deliver on those hopes and values for Temple Judea.

The committee completed a detailed application form as prescribed by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. The application was submitted in late July, and we received numerous resumes from throughout the United States and some from abroad, seeking the senior rabbi position. The committee carefully considered the submissions, with a firm commitment to objectivity and seeking the best leadership for Temple Judea.

After we conducted our deliberations, the committee agreed that Temple Judea’s future would be well served by Rabbi Siegal becoming our senior rabbi. We also saw that she shone as a star among the rabbinate of today, and will help us, and Reform Judaism, shape a bright future.

I would like to congratulate, and thank, the members of the Rabbinic Search Committee for the diligent, fair and thoughtful work they did: Ellen Barocas, Frank Cauce, Steve Demar, Sheila Freed, David Gershman, Eddie Ginsburg, Julie Lambert, Zach Osofsky, Stephen Rosenthal,  Jan Yelen Sasso,Jayne Siegel, Ted Weiss, and Jocelyn Woolworth. We give profound thanks also to Rabbi Peter Knobel, whose wisdom and experience guided and counseled us through the search process. 

At the end of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy realizes that she had the power to go back to Kansas all along. When the Scarecrow asks Glinda, the good witch, why she hadn’t just told Dorothy the message that There’s No Place Like Home, Glinda replies that if she had, Dorothy wouldn’t have believed it; she had to learn it for herself.

Our committee studied hard and participated honestly and diligently in a broad-ranging search process.  Like Dorothy, we have learned for ourselves, and our congregation should feel secure in the learning, that in this instance there is no place like home, and no rabbi as well suited to be Temple Judea’s senior rabbi as the rabbi we find right at home, Rabbi Judith Siegal.

Accordingly, the Rabbinic Search Committee recommended to the Board of Trustees that it select Rabbi Judith Siegal as senior rabbi-designate of Temple Judea. We are thrilled that the Board did so, by acclamation, and that Rabbi Siegal will serve our temple as Senior Rabbi, beginning July 1.