FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 11, 2021
Press Inquiries: Tamar Anitai, Director of Strategic Communications, Central Conference of American Rabbis, email@example.com
The CCAR is delighted to announce a new initiative, the Heartland Fellowship, made possible by a generous grant from an anonymous donor.
This fellowship will enable the CCAR to supplement the salary and provide other critical benefits to rabbis who accept select pulpits in smaller U.S. cities and towns experiencing a decline in Jewish populations.
With smaller, more remote communities experiencing a decrease in synagogue membership and often a decrease in those synagogues’ financial wherewithal, it has become increasingly more difficult for these Reform congregations to remain competitive in the rabbinic placement process.
Over the next eight years, the CCAR Heartland Fellowship pilot program will place two rabbis in challenged communities in year one, a third rabbi in year two, and a fourth rabbi in year three. Each rabbi will engage with a fellowship-congregation in a three-year contract, plus a possible three-year renewal contract. Financial supplements will be earmarked for pension benefits, cost of medical insurance for the rabbi and their families, and the balance to supplement the rabbi’s salary to bring it on par with peers.
Heartland Fellows will also receive specialized support in the form of mentoring and coaching to help strengthen their professional and pastoral skills and learn additional skill sets necessary for rabbis in these unique settings.
The first two Heartland Fellows will be placed during the CCAR placement process beginning in Spring 2022. Rabbi Cindy G. Enger, CCAR Director of Rabbinic Career Services, will implement and oversee this program.
In order to be eligible, rabbis must be members in good standing with the CCAR and either newly ordained or have been ordained within five years. Congregations interested in being considered will apply through the CCAR Office of Rabbinic Career Services, as should those rabbis who are interested in serving in these communities.
“We are so deeply grateful to be able to make a commitment to helping challenged Jewish communities and their Reform synagogues to survive and thrive,” said Rabbi Hara Person, CCAR Chief Executive. “This grant is a win-win, enabling rabbis to experience the joys of small congregation life, and allows these communities to be served by full-time rabbis. This program also helps us invest in developing this unique cohort of rabbis for these vital communities.”
The Heartland Fellowship will be a prestigious addition to a Reform rabbi’s professional accomplishments, help secure the financial futures of these rabbis in challenged Jewish communities, help grow the unique offerings of the CCAR, and, overall, help challenged Jewish communities and their Reform synagogues survive and grow.
For more information, contact Rabbi Cindy G. Enger, Director of Rabbinic Career Services, Central Conference of American Rabbis, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Central Conference of American Rabbis: The Central Conference of American Rabbis is the Reform Rabbinic leadership organization. The CCAR strengthens the Jewish community by providing religious, spiritual, ethical, and intellectual leadership and wisdom. CCAR and its members lead the Reform Movement on important spiritual, social, cultural and human rights issues, as it has done since 1889. CCAR also is the center for lifelong rabbinic learning, professional development, and resources for the 2,100 rabbis who serve more than 1.5 million Reform Jews throughout North America, Israel, and the world. Since its founding, the CCAR has also served as the primary publisher of the Reform Movement through CCAR Press and its imprint, Reform Judaism Publishing.