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Is it appropriate to "warn off" a Rabbi candidate?

 
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Sep 22 2022, 12:41 pm
My community is dying. The community day school is overtly hostile to frum families. The Shul is a mess. The shul president, who is a newcomer to the community, told a long-time member to leave and never come back! All families with young kids have left and formed a shteibel minyan. (This is a very small OOT community so there are no other options.) Now the Shul which fired the last 2 Rabbis and is looking to hire a third.

I feel like we should be honest with this new Rabbi candidate but since the young families don't attend Shul anymore I'm not sure of the protocol. I reached out to a friend who knows him to "back channel" the info. I don't think that someone should consider a cross-country move without full info but now I feel like that was a mistake. I know that this is not LH, it's truth.... but....

Was I wrong to reach out?
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amother




Pear
 

Post Thu, Sep 22 2022, 12:52 pm
If I was the Rabbi - or his wife - I'd want to know.
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amother




RosePink
 

Post Thu, Sep 22 2022, 12:55 pm
I wouldn't. It could be awkward if he then takes the job anyway.

Plus, you don't know what his other options are. If he had his pick of full time pulpit jobs, he likely wouldn't be looking at your dying community in the first place.

The present size of a community is usually observable. Whether it grows or dies in the future will be in part on him, if he becomes the rabbi going forward.

The politics and personalities sound difficult, but that's in so many places.

I wouldn't proactively mix in to warn someone off, but if you are asked questions, you don't have to lie and be all fake sunny either.
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Java




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Sep 22 2022, 12:57 pm
You might come off as the crazy one...just a warning
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amother




Amber
 

Post Thu, Sep 22 2022, 1:02 pm
I would endeavor to make yourself available to answer any questions and to answer them as honestly -without sugar coated or adding your opinion. It is not your place to set him up for failing or to put the nail in the coffin of the community. This is no different than a shidduch. Everyone has positive and negative attributes and one should go in with eyes wide open, knowing all the facts, 1/2 facts set up for failure.
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amother




Hydrangea
 

Post Thu, Sep 22 2022, 1:02 pm
I would assume he did his research
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amother




Navy
 

Post Thu, Sep 22 2022, 1:08 pm
I wouldn't call it warning off.

I would frame it making sure he asks the right questions and speaks to lots of people.
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amother




Ecru
 

Post Thu, Sep 22 2022, 1:10 pm
There are plenty of people who take jobs for the salary more than the other benefits. He may not care that the young families don’t daven in his shul (as long as there are kids for his kids if that is relevant )or he may feel that he can attract them back. I would stay out of it .
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ra_mom




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Sep 22 2022, 1:12 pm
If he's being hired to fix the situation I would not want to stop that.
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amother




Diamond
 

Post Thu, Sep 22 2022, 1:27 pm
I can't say if it was eight or wrong but I can tell you that there is a shul in my neighborhood that went through about 8 rabbis in 15 years. The congregants were all old, and grouchy and as soon as a rabbi started telling them "what to do" they'd fire him. About 15 years ago they hired someone new, he was also much younger than the previous candidates and shockingly he's still the rabbi! He completely revived the shul. The older people love him, and many young couples have since moved in.
I wouldn't say it was necessarily wrong to warn him, but just realize that you never know who will be the one to make an impact
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PinkFridge




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Sep 22 2022, 3:06 pm
I would think to ask a shaila.
Hugs and I hope things work out well for you.
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ruchelbuckle




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Sep 22 2022, 5:12 pm
I just went through something similar. Any candidate who has 1/2 a brain is going to do proper research. That includes NOT only relying on people who are "nogeah b'davar" (ie- have something at stake in the game.) The potential Rabbi will ask about the last Rabbi, and why he left, and then very possibly call him as a reference. He is unlikely going to take every single thing the search committee says at face value.

When we hired a new Rabbi, our search committee gave out an "information sheet" with info about our congregation and community.. On it was the phone number of the previous Rabbi (who left), plus the name of another Rabbi in our city for the candidates to call.


Last edited by ruchelbuckle on Fri, Sep 23 2022, 4:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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amother




Pear
 

Post Thu, Sep 22 2022, 11:17 pm
amother Hydrangea wrote:
I would assume he did his research


Maybe he did - but as ra mom said, people might be hoping he'll fix the situation, so there's an incentive to be less-than-honest with him - plus people might be conflicted about what it's ok to say, like OP.
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