Rabbi Search Focus Group Questions                                                     
1. How would you describe the one or two qualities that best represent Mishkan Torah and are shared across our community?

Prompts/think-abouts beforehand:

a. What draws you to Mishkan Torah and keeps you here?

b. What about Mishkan Torah makes you proud to be a member?

c. If asked to describe Mishkan Torah to a potential rabbinical candidate, what one or two qualities would you emphasize?

2. What could a rabbi do to help our community grow into the future?

 Prompts/Think-abouts beforehand:

a. What goals do you have for Mishkan Torah in both the short-term future and long-term future?  Some possibilities might include:

 - increasing (or maintaining) membership

 - involvement of the current membership

 - connection with the local community/interfaith community

 - connection with the greater Jewish community

 - programming 

- ___________________________ (your goals here)

 b.  What are the specific issues Mishkan Torah faces as acommunity?

Some things to consider:

- Mishkan Torah is one of only three congregations in the world that is dually affiliated with both the Conservative and Reconstructionist movements. How important is it to you that we maintain both, or either of these affiliations?

 - Mishkan Torah is located in Prince George’s County, the part of the greater Washington area with the lowest Jewish population. How do we deal with this fact? Is it a plus? A minus? How would you want a rabbi to respond to this situation?

 c. What are the most important issues/challenges that face our congregation, and how might we like a rabbi to help us with them? 

d. How do you see these needs changing in the near and distant future?


3. What are the specific qualities and skills of a rabbi who would be able to do these things?

Prompts/Think-abouts beforehand:

There are so many duties that rabbis can perform. Below is a list of some of these potential duties. Take some time to consider, in light of your responses to the last question about goals for the congregation, which are the most important of these duties,and which are the least important:

lead Friday night/Saturday morning services

give a regular D’var Torah at services

chanting/singing at Shabbat services

read/chant Torah at services

teach in the Religious School

be involved in synagogue administration

adult education 

lead festival services

High Holiday Services

prepare b’nai/b’not mitzvah

visits to hospitals, care facilities, etc.

attend board meetings

initiate programming with diverse committees

participate in programming with diverse committees

connect to the local community/interfaith community

connect to the greater Jewish community


4.  What one question would you like the Search Committee to ask each applicant?