Shalom 2021!  Shalom 2022!  It is a fresh beginning and an opportunity to create new resolutions, goals and personal promises. Some goals may be small and quite attainable like the long, put-off task of cleaning out the kitchen pantry or self-made promise to attend Friday night services once more each month.  Others may be more difficult, like resolving to train hard and run five-miles a day while cutting sugar and caffeine and following a vegan diet.  Resolutions this big require true commitment and support.

Many of us, volunteers with the Temple’s best interest in mind, started working on our 2022 resolutions and goals in 2021.  The biggest goal and our promise to our Temple members—find an outstanding, new rabbi who checks all the right boxes. A rabbi who is approachable and friendly as well as a good listener.  A rabbi who possesses empathy with a comforting presence and the ability to provide exceptional spiritual leadership and pastoral care.  A rabbi who is both receptive and responsive to the needs of his or her congregation. A rabbi who is an educator with a vision for the future.  A rabbi who is welcoming to all people of all backgrounds, ages and stages.

The Rabbi Search Committee has logged quite a few hours these past several months.  We have been thrilled and delighted to receive more resumes than we ever could have imagined would land in Dick Kirsner’s In-Box.  And the candidates have been highly qualified, engaging, well spoken and overall, impressive! Our committee has asked questions sourced directly from our TBJ survey participants and those recommended by the CCAR.  We have spent hours learning about each interviewed candidate as well as answering questions about our Temple, community and life in Des Moines.

After interviewing a number of candidates, the search committee has reached a unanimous recommendation to the Board. Our next step: a Zoom interview conducted by the Board followed by an in-person visit with the candidate in Des Moines.  Over the two days the candidate is in town, we will host multiple meals and meeting opportunities with a variety of Temple congregants (representing different age groups, interests, history with the Temple, etc.).  We also plan to “wow” and “dazzle” the candidate with our warm and welcoming congregation, “Iowa nice” community and all the wonderful amenities Des Moines has to offer.  On the business side, we will hold a second (in-person) interview with the Board and take time to answer any questions from the candidate.  This will all be followed by a special “gathering” of the congregation to “meet” the candidate and offer feedback/advice/affirmation of the Board’s choice to hire this rabbi candidate, beginning July 1, 2022.

Out of a desire to respect all of the candidates who have applied—and because I am writing this article before our Board interview—I am unable to share the name of our final choice. However, details will soon be shared with the entire congregation.

For now, please join me in thanking our Rabbinic Search Committee for their hours, voices and passion in finding the absolute best candidate to lead Temple B’nai Jeshurun into the future. We are simply kvelling to be on the precipice of defining the next chapter of rabbinic leadership at Temple B’nai Jeshurun.

And so, I leave you with these lyrics, the words of Debbie Friedman which speak my New Year’s Resolution, my heart and my promise to my congregation:

Todays the day I take my stand, the futures mine to hold.

Commitments that I make today are dreams from days of old.

I have to make the way for generations come and go.

Ill have to teach them what Ive learned so they will come to know.

And the old shall dream dreams, and the youth shall see visions,

And our hopes shall rise up to the sky.

We must live for today; we must build for tomorrow.

Give us time, give us strength, give us life.

Thank you for your trust and your patience.

Happy New Year to all!



Dana Dickson