All posts tagged: Macalester College

The Vanishing American Rabbi – The Atlantic

The Vanishing American Rabbi – The Atlantic

In November 2021, Temple Israel in Springfield, Missouri, began looking for a new rabbi. A quick perusal of job listings from other Reform synagogues left the search committee stunned: Scores of congregations, many offering higher salaries in larger cities, had been unable to fill their positions for months, sometimes longer. Eventually, Temple Israel entered into a fee-for-service agreement with a rabbi two hours away. He would come in for Shabbat, High Holiday services, and adult-education classes, but he wouldn’t attend community meetings, collaborate with local faith leaders, or recruit new members to the synagogue. For only the second time in its 125-year history, Temple Israel wouldn’t have a full-time rabbi. Their experience is no outlier. A Conservative congregation just outside New York City, offering $150,000 a year plus benefits and a free three-bedroom home, spent three years trying to find a replacement for its rabbi after he announced his retirement in 2019. (Like other rabbis I spoke with, he delayed retirement to tide over the congregation.) There were simply not enough interested candidates. In the …