Rabbi Transition Committee

Update October 23, 2013

What a busy few months we have had at Temple Ohav Shalom!  We had the pleasure of welcoming and worshiping with Rabbi Danny Schiff for the past several weeks and just recently welcomed Rabbi David Katz as our Interim Rabbi, along with his wife, Nancy.  Change can be good, especially when we have the opportunity to work with and grow under such committed and experienced leaders.  This indeed is an exciting and busy time to be part of our congregation.

So, what is happening with our settled search?  Quite a lot!  We submitted our application to recruit for our “settled” rabbi to the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) at the end of September.  The application is a very comprehensive document that includes information about our facility, school, congregation, leadership and worship practices.  It also includes a series of in-depth questions designed to highlight our mission, core values, personality, strengths, challenges, rabbinic preferences and expectations for our next rabbi.  Finally, the application includes a detailed history of Temple Ohav Shalom and information about our region.  The Rabbi Transition Committee spent months working on the application so that it reflected the voice and character of our congregation.

Please click here to review the key components of our application as well as here for a detailed history of Temple Ohav Shalom.

You may be wondering how we evaluate a rabbi’s application.  We start by carefully reviewing everything that a candidate lists in his or her resume.  We also compare each candidate’s professional history and personal statement with the criteria our congregation stated was important via the survey we conducted last spring.  By having committee members who represent different segments of our congregation (e.g., preschool, interfaith families, teens, founding/”near founding” members), we work hard to ensure that each voice is heard and considered.  Ultimately, we will seek input from the congregation before selecting the best candidate to lead us forward.

We are so pleased to report that we have received applications from several qualified rabbis with a range of experiences.  The Rabbi Transition Committee is reviewing the applications and will select the most qualified candidates for initial interviews.  We look forward to sharing additional information about the recruitment process over the coming weeks and months, including opportunities for the congregation to meet the final candidate(s).

Thank you for the honor to serve and please contact any member of the Rabbi Transition Committee with questions.


Update April 19, 2013

Thank you for the thoughtful responses to our recent survey. We received 144 responses from individuals ages 13 to over 65 years.  The Transition Committee carefully reviewed the results and all of your comments.

One of the most interesting things the Transition Committee discovered when reviewing the survey results was the consistency of the responses despite our varied individual perspectives.  They provided a clear picture of the qualities, skills, knowledge and abilities we collectively value in our next Rabbi.  Over the next several weeks, the Rabbi Transition Committee will use this information to prepare an application for submission to the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR).  This organization will work closely with us to identify candidates from which we can select our next Rabbi for Temple Ohav Shalom.

Please review the Congregational Survey Results and contact the Rabbi Transition Committee with any questions.  We look forward to keeping you informed of our progress.



Rabbi Art Donsky recently announced his retirement as Rabbi of Temple Ohav Shalom effective June 2014.  The process of finding a new Rabbi begins within our temple congregation and will take most of the next year.  To help us, the TOS Board of Directors established a Rabbi Transition Committee.  This diverse committee represents a cross-section of the congregation.  With support and assistance from the URJ and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the committee will guide the congregation through the process and keep everyone informed with regular updates to this webpage.  Our goal is to have our next Rabbi join us by July 2014.

The Rabbi Transition Committee is meeting regularly to develop the information required to submit an application to the CCAR, which will then advertise on our behalf for a new Rabbi.  The actual selection process follows later in the year.  The Rabbi Transition Committee will be seeking input from all congregants over the next few months.  Please watch your email for a survey announcement to share your thoughts regarding our next Rabbi.  We will provide additional opportunities for input as well, but this is the first step.

It is our pleasure to introduce the members of the Rabbi Transition Committee.  We encourage you to reach out with questions.  We want to be as open and transparent as possible about the process and look forward to hearing from you.

Transition Committee Members

Maury Locke (Co-Chair):  Since 1977, Maury, Helaine and their family (including adult children Sean and Bridgette) have been active and long standing members of TOS.  Now retired, Maury served as Senior Counsel at US Steel Corporation.  His extensive volunteer experience on the TOS Board of Directors includes terms as President, Treasurer, Past President, Member-at-Large and VP, Spiritual Enrichment.  Maury also served on previous Rabbi Search Committees and has been a lead drafter in amending the Temple By-Laws.

Moira Singer (Co-Chair):  A member since 2000, Moira’s family includes spouse Jim and children Brandon and Brooke.  Moira is the Director of Client Solutions for Compass (a human resources consulting firm) and previously served as a healthcare administrator and non-profit director.   Moira’s varied TOS volunteer experience includes working with the Finance and Membership Committees as well as co-chairing the initial Tot Shabbat dinners.

Kathy Klein:  A member since 1990, Kathy’s family includes spouse Cary and children Josh, Julie and Andrew.  One of Kathy’s most visible volunteer experiences was chairing the TOS Design Committee.

Simi Kress:   Simi, Clifford and their three now-grown children joined TOS in 1985.  Simi’s significant volunteer experience includes terms as President of the TOS Board of Directors, Chairperson of the Membership Committee and a member of the New Temple Ohav Shalom Committee.

Julie Lebovitz:  A member since 1998, Julie’s family includes spouse Stuart and children Joshua, Jordan, Becky and Danny.  Julie is a teacher currently working with the Quaker Valley School District.  Temple Ohav Shalom benefits greatly from Julie’s commitment to education.  In addition to being a long-time teacher in our religious school, Julie served as the Lead Teacher during a critical transition time and also served as Chairperson of the Preschool.

Bill Poller:  Bill and Lydi have been an integral part of Temple Ohav since 1975.  Bill is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Oncology at the Drexel University College of Medicine and the Associate Director of the Breast Care Center and Division of Breast Imaging with the West Penn Allegheny Health System.  One of Bill’s most notable volunteer experiences was participating on our last Rabbinical Search Committee.

Michael Rosenzweig:  A member since 1990, Michael’s family includes spouse Peggy and children Mollie, Emily, Amy and Kate.  Michael is a partner at Edgar Snyder & Associates, LLC.  He is one of the longest serving members of the TOS Board of Directors, with multiple terms as President and Past President.

Peggy Rosenzweig:  Peggy joined TOS in 1990 with spouse Michael and children Mollie, Emily, Amy and Kate.  Peggy is an Associate Professor, Oncology Focus, in the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.

Robert Sapinkopf:  Rob and Ellen joined TOS in 2008.  Rob is a Market Research professional with Nestle and has also worked with Heinz, Procter & Gamble, Giant Food and US Foodservice.  Rob has extensive experience with transition committees having helped with the search for a Senior Rabbi, Associate Rabbi and Youth Director at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.  Rob currently serves on the TOS Board and Men’s Club.

Mark Siegal:  A member since 2000, Mark’s family includes spouse Stacy and children Josh, Jillian and Andrew.  Mark owns the Salem Giant Eagle in Salem, OH.  He is a former Tax Attorney with Ginsburg, Feldman & Bress in Washington, DC.  Some of Mark’s more notable volunteer positions at TOS include being a member of the Capital Campaign Committee and serving as a Member-at-Large on the TOS Board of Directors.

Leslie Snow:  Leslie joined TOS in 1989 with spouse Richard and their four grown children, all of whom held their B’nai Mitzvah at TOS.  Leslie is an active volunteer, having served on the TOS Preschool Committee, the TOS Education Committee and the TOS Board of Director.

Martha (Marti) Swiger:  One of our long-standing members, Marti remembers joining TOS when services were held in members’ homes.  She has two adult sons and spent 25 years in the food industry.  Marti is an intrepid volunteer.  She has served on the TOS Board of Directors as a Member-at-Large, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary and Co-VP of the Ritual Committee.  Marti has also served diligently on the Finance and SEC Committees.

Danielle West:  Danielle joined TOS last year with spouse Shawn and children Isabella and Sadie.  This is her first formal involvement with the Temple in addition to being an active Preschool mom.

Jordana Zober-Cuttita :  A recent member, Jordana joined TOS in 2012 with spouse Michael and children Leah and Franklin.  She is a realtor with Howard Hanna and serves as Co-Chair of the Preschool.

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