Kol BeRamah Torah Learning Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is looking for a warm and energetic Rabbinic couple who will use their unique skills and strengths to build our community through Jewish education, Torah learning at various levels, social activities, and programming relating to Jewish holidays and events.
Kol BeRamah was founded in 2007 as an all-volunteer Torah learning cooperative. As we have grown, we have also taken on traditional synagogue functions such as minyanim and life cycle events. In 2014, we hired a full-time Rabbi in order to better serve our community’s needs, and to help us continue to grow in size as well as Torah learning.
Kol BeRamah presently offers classes five days per week, regular Shabbos and Yom Tov services, children’s programs, and social/community events. Our initial structure consisted of a volunteer Rabbi, and lay-led classes and events. In the five years since we have had a full time Rabbi, the synagogue has grown dramatically. He and his family will be leaving at the end of the summer of 2019. KBR seeks a new rabbi, whom we hope will be able to build and expand on previous progress.
Kol BeRamah’s small size can be an advantage to the enthusiastic and motivated rabbinic candidate; as the sole leader of the synagogue, he has significant responsibility, but also flexibility and lack of constraints in developing new directions for the shul. We are looking for someone who will sensitively take the helm, and help the synagogue develop a vision for the growth into the future, with the support of his congregants. Although we are primarily looking for a full-time Rabbi, we would consider applications from an energetic retired Rabbi, or a part-time professional with smicha.
General Rabbinic Qualifications
Our ideal candidate is a dynamic leader with a broad appreciation of different approaches within Torah, as well as secular interests. Most of the people who come to Kol BeRamah programs and services are not traditionally observant. The Rabbi’s job will require maturity, creativity, sensitivity, and sophistication in addressing the needs of this very diverse community. He also needs to be respectful, a good listener, and someone who is dedicated to yashrus in both his public and private life. Experience in Jewish outreach is vital. We are not looking for a particular “flavor” of Orthodoxy; rather, a Torah scholar who is committed to fostering learning and spiritual growth. The rabbi must be a competent Baal Koreh and Baal Tefillah. In that particular area, our community would appreciate a rabbi who has some level of musical sensibility and/or appreciation, and whose davening is aesthetically appealing, while also being open to finding ways to make services more clear, understandable, meaningful, and accessible to those who are less knowledgeable or comfortable with the siddur and/or Hebrew.
Specific responsibilities will include:
- Serving as the halachic authority for Kol BeRamah
- Teaching several adult education classes per week
- Helping develop and teach programs for children
- One-on-one learning with members of the community
- Working to increase the size of our minyan while making services engaging and meaningful
- Answering halachic questions (including taharas hamishpacha) and general religious and spiritual guidance to members of the community
- Helping build membership and fundraising
- Coordinating and organizing shul events
- Visiting the sick, officiating at life-cycle events, and other normal pastoral duties
- Working with others in the broader northern New Mexico Jewish community (e.g., the Chevra Kadisha, community-wide events, etc)
We seek someone who can develop innovative and engaging classes and programs that will provide real Torah content and attract new faces. Santa Fe has a very diverse community, with people of widely ranging observance levels, Jewish knowledge, and backgrounds. The successful rabbinic candidate should be comfortable engaging with people where they are and helping them find and grow along the path that is right for them. Although our community is primarily an older age demographic, there are several families with young children and teenagers that require educational programs, as well. See our website for our current classes.
Our rabbi must be willing to make himself available to congregants, and to listen, counsel, and provide advice when possible. Training and experience in counseling would be preferable, but the community would also entertain candidates who are willing to pursue training upon becoming the rabbi of KBR.
Although KBR has a committed core of enthusiastic and skilled volunteers, we do not currently have a secretarial staff. As a result, it would be very helpful if the rabbi and/or rebbetzin have skills and interest in coordinating community events and activities (including recruiting through venues such as social media), and are willing to assist in fundraising and oversight of the financial health of the synagogue, all of which would be supported by volunteers.
Currently, we have community members who run many events and fundraisers, cook for community Shabbat and Yom Tov meals, prepare kiddushes, send out weekly email bulletins, maintain our website, and even teach. Our ideal rabbinic candidate might relieve some of that burden from our volunteers, while also having the community resources and infrastructure to begin to develop new programming ideas as well as to creatively foster increased exposure and broader community participation and growth.
We are seeking a Rebbetzin that is fully committed to helping build our community. Regardless of whether she works full-time, part-time, or is fully involved with Kol BeRamah, she needs to be prepared to host Shabbos and Yom Tov guests, help with synagogue meals and social activities, assist at the mikvah, and be a strong presence in the community, in ways that best suit her skills. With consideration of any other professional obligations, she should be committed to teaching classes, developing relationships with women in the community, and being part of our children’s programs.
About Santa Fe
Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico, and is a small city (pop. 83,000), with a large cultural presence. We are home to several world-class summer music festivals, many art galleries, museums, two small liberal arts colleges, the Santa Fe Institute, and a short commute from Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, and an easy one-hour drive to Albuquerque and its international airport. Surrounded by mountains, in the high desert at 7,000 feet above sea level, Santa Fe has four seasons, and plenty of opportunities for hiking, skiing, and outdoor recreation. Many retire here, and we have a large tourist population in the summer and winter. In addition to KBR, Santa Fe has two Reform, one Renewal, and one Chabad synagogue.
About Kol BeRamah
KBR’s community is made of approximately 40 member units, along with a number of less-involved, yet fairly regular attendees. Of these, only a handful would self-identify as shomer mitzvot; on the other hand, we have a very strong commitment to learning and self-improvement. This true desire to learn has impressed visiting rabbis and scholars over the years. The very large range of Jewish observance levels, in the context of a traditional synagogue, gives the synagogue a unique warmth and welcoming feeling to those who attend services. Currently we get minyanim most Shabbos mornings, with a total attendance of about 20-30 people, generally. We currently do not have regular weekday minyanim. We make yahrtzeit minyanim as needed for members of the community, as well as visitors to the area. KBR has sifrei Torah, and a Beit Midrash with a quite extensive library. We rent a pleasant suite in a small office complex adjacent to several quiet residential neighborhoods. Our beit midrash/sanctuary can hold up to 60-70 people for holiday meals (for events such as Rosh Hashanah dinner, a community Seder, Shabbat dinners, scholar-in-residence Shabbatons, etc), with a children’s classroom, a rabbi’s office, a kitchen, and a lobby/lounge area. The Board of KBR is currently composed of 7 members, with a diverse range of skills and abilities. Each board member has chosen a “portfolio” which consists of one of the following roles: adult/children’s education, Jewish holidays/events, fundraising, and social events/membership development.
Kosher food is available, including limited kosher meat through Trader Joe’s and Sprouts, and limited non-cholov Yisroel cheeses and dairy. Standard items with hashgacha, as well as specialty items, are available locally. In Albuquerque, there is a small specialty-foods store that brings in Passover items, as well as kosher deli meat, cheeses, and other items as requested. In addition, members of the community who travel will occasionally bring back large orders of kosher meat and cheese to be stored in a large freezer at Kol BeRamah, for resale to the entire community.
For a rabbi and rebbetzin with children, there are no options for formal Jewish day school education. However, there is one Orthodox family who has successfully home-schooled for the past 7 years, and would be an excellent resource for a rabbinic family that was interested in pursuing such an option. There is potential for developing some type of educational co-op. In addition, well-rated private and public schools exist in the neighborhoods surrounding the synagogue, and would be options for education, if the family sent their children to one of those for limudei chol, while pursuing limudei kodesh studies at home, online, or in a small-group setting. Finally, there are increasing options for chinuch online, and the local family that home-schools is happy to help introduce the new rabbinic family to resources for those options, as well.
Average home prices in the neighborhood immediately surrounding KBR are in the $300-700K range, for ~1800-3500 sq ft homes on a large lot (0.2-0.4 acres). Slightly further afield, prices vary widely, depending on proximity to the historic district near the Plaza. There is a condominium complex with very nice homes for rent around $1500/month (2-3 bedrooms), and a few other similar options as well. Freestanding homes for rent are approximately $2000, and we anticipate being able to continue the lease for the 3 bedroom/2 bathroom property in which the current rabbi resides (a 5-7 minute walk to shul), should the new family be interested.
Salary will vary based on experience; part of the salary can be provided as a parsonage allowance as provided by law. The initial contract will be for a trial period of two years, with the intention to lead to a permanent position. As our community and fundraising base grows, we are committed to increasing the salary to an appropriate and competitive amount, that recognizes the Rabbi’s role in our success.
How to Apply
Please submit a cover letter explaining why you feel you are a good fit for this community, and why this community is a good fit for you, along with a resume and names with contact information for three references (at least one of which is familiar with your knowledge of halacha, and one with your teaching and outreach skills). Review of applications will begin April 2019, and continue until the position is filled, with a target start date no later than September 2019.
For more information about out community, you can visit our website, www.kolberamah.org