Beth El Synagogue
Position Description: Executive Director
Applications received by January 30, 2022 will receive full consideration.
Beth El is a thriving Conservative Jewish congregation located in Durham, North Carolina, an exciting, fast-growing Southern city that hosts a thriving performing arts center, enticing small music venues and a lively restaurant scene. Founded in 1887, Beth El has long served the vibrant Jewish communities of the Research Triangle including Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh. This thriving region is home to highly ranked national universities, medical centers, and cultural institutions and many successful businesses. Recently ranked by US News and World Report as the most desirable place to live in the American South (and 2nd nationally), the area attracts an increasingly diverse, skilled, and cosmopolitan population of all ages and is home to an active, visible, and growing Jewish population. As the community has grown, so has the Beth El congregation, which now numbers over 400 member families. A member of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Beth El also includes an Orthodox Kehillah affiliated with the Orthodox Union.
Beth El is seeking a new Executive Director to succeed Alan Friedman, who recently stepped down for family reasons after a successful three-year tenure. The Executive Director is the chief executive officer of the congregation and works in close collaboration with the Rabbi and lay leadership to ensure that Beth El effectively provides for the collective needs of the congregation. The Executive Director reports to the Beth El President and is responsible for the synagogue’s administrative, financial, and business operations, in addition to supporting the congregation’s religious and membership services. At Beth El, Mr. Friedman oversaw the completion of a successful capital campaign and extensive synagogue renovation, improved operating and financial practices, and supported the congregation through the first phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we have navigated the impacts of the pandemic, our staff and community have found creative and meaningful ways to stay engaged and to strengthen their connections to Beth El, while yearning to take advantage of our newly renovated facility. We are now seeking an executive leader who thinks proactively, can run a healthy and growing organization, will continue to build a vibrant Jewish community, and help lead us into the future. The new Executive Director will help position Beth El at the cutting edge of what it means to be part of a synagogue in the 21st century.
Beth El has many notable strengths on which to build, including:
An engaged, growing, and diverse multi-generational membership – including growing Talmud Torah participation and young adult membership.
- A strong and stable financial foundation supporting an annual operating budget of approximately $1.1 million.
- A recently completed synagogue renovation financed by a successful $6.5 million fundraising campaign.
- A strong tradition of talented lay leadership represented by an active Board led by the congregation’s President.
- A dynamic, caring, and creative Rabbi committed to Beth El and the active participation of its congregants.
- An inclusive culture that welcomes diversity and builds community within Beth El and actively seeks connections to the wider Jewish and interfaith communities.
- An experienced staff of nine full- and part-time members and a legacy of effective management on the part of the departing Executive Director.
Beth El intends to build on these foundations in its next phase of development, realizing the promise of its newly renovated facilities to provide inviting spaces for even deeper ties and active engagement across our community. A new strategic planning process, led by the incoming Executive Director, in collaboration with the Rabbi and Board, will engage the congregation in defining what this next level of programmatic effectiveness will look like. As a part of this process, the Executive Director will have the opportunity to define and fill a vacant position as Director of Programming and Membership. Developing additional revenue sources though facilities rentals and fundraising, for example, will be essential to support the continuing growth and vitality of the community. Beth El’s foundations are strong, and the ambitions for the future are exciting.
Beth El seeks a dynamic and experienced organizational leader who is committed to supporting our vibrant, welcoming, and growing Conservative Jewish Congregation. Beyond a high level of proven competence in the functional domains of the job (see below), we are seeking:
A holistic thinker, who can help develop a comprehensive vision for the future that is both inspiring and achievable, thinking big while keeping the details constantly in view.
- A people person, who is outgoing, confident, optimistic, empathetic, engaging, and service oriented.
- A community builder, who is resourceful in adapting to changing needs and finds a way forward in an inclusive way that respects differences and builds bridges.
- An innovator, who can develop fresh approaches to needs both old and new.
- A team builder, who empowers and brings out the best in others.
- An unflappable problem solver, who leads with confidence, patience, calm, and positivity, in addition to doing what it takes with his/her team to get things done, to meet deadlines, complete tasks, bring closure, and earn trust.
- An avid participant in the life of the Beth El community, committed to Jewish identity, ritual, and programming.
The Executive Director position requires high-level leadership and management acumen and day-to-day hands-on skill in key functional areas, particularly finance. The Executive Director supervises eight full- or part-time staff positions, including one vacant position. Primary responsibilities include:
- In conjunction with Beth El’s Rabbi and Board, lead a robust, consultative strategic planning process to establish and periodically update long-term strategic priorities aligned with the congregation’s mission and core values.
- In conjunction with the Rabbi and Board, develop annual operating plans and resource allocations consistent with mission, core values, and established priorities.
- Develop and maintain a constructive co-leadership relationship with the Rabbi.
- Foster a warm and caring environment so that congregants, potential members, lay leaders, volunteers, and staff feel welcomed, respected, nurtured, and appreciated.
- Support the work of the Board with sound advice, timely and accurate reports and information, and participation in deliberations.
- Attend Board committee meetings as needed to maintain awareness and provide leadership and alignment of congregational activities.
- Develop effective and efficient management systems across the organization to track progress on key initiatives, priorities, goals, schedules, open issues, and performance metrics.
- Oversee the implementation of Beth El’s policies and practices and ensure systems are in place to keep Beth El’s policies, operating procedures, and institutional knowledge accessible and current.
- Under the guidance of the Finance Committee of the Board, manage the financial operations of the congregation, including financial planning, budgeting, forecasting, accounting, and reporting.
- Maintain efficient and effective financial systems and controls to safeguard the assets of the congregation.
- Support Board committees with timely, informative reporting and forecasting.
- Maintain compliance with internal policies and pertinent local, state, and federal regulations.
Human Resource Management:
- Lead, supervise, and inspire Beth El’s administrative, programming, education and facilities staff with effective teambuilding and training, clear priorities, and performance and professional development goals. When necessary, provide guidance to correct staff performance issues.
- Maintain a collaborative work environment built on trust, clear expectations, and accountability that attracts, retains, and motivates a diverse staff of top-quality professionals.
- In conjunction with the Board, implement and periodically review employee benefits programs and compensation policies and maintain appropriate records.
- Maintain employee job descriptions and confidential personnel records.
- Oversee recruitment, salary setting, and orientation of new employees.
- Participate in planning and executing fundraising initiatives to support annual operations and programming and ensure long-term sustainability.
- Implement best practices for tracking and reporting on memberships and fundraising efforts, including timely acknowledgment of dues paid and gifts made.
- Ensure that donor intentions and legal requirements are met and ensure effective stewardship of all gifts.
Programming and Membership:
- Work with the Rabbi, Board, and lay leadership to establish a holistic vision for a membership experience that is engaging and enriching for Beth El’s diverse, multi-generational membership.
- Plan and oversee the logistics of the congregation’s religious services and observance and celebration of High Holidays, in conjunction with the Rabbi and lay leadership, in a way that reflects the values and traditions of the community.
- Support bar/bat mitzvah families and other members in planning their simchas and other life cycle events.
- Support the Education and Youth Director in developing and delivering both structured educational opportunities and informal programming activities.
- Provide leadership to Board committees and volunteer groups to establish and implement integrated and robust educational, service, and social programming, assisting in its implementation as needed and providing training when necessary.
- Work with and support committees of the congregation to facilitate engagement and impact.
Communications and Community Relations:
- Develop and implement a comprehensive communications plan that provides timely, engaging, and accessible information to the congregation and relevant external audiences.
- Publicize Beth El through its website and other printed, electronic, and social media.
- Build on existing and establish new cooperative relationships with local Jewish, interfaith, and civic organizations.
- Develop and maintain a current understanding of social, economic, and political trends in the Triangle area with an eye towards anticipating opportunities and challenges for the Beth El community.
- Support the information technology needs of the Beth El community, including hardware, software, websites, and similar communications forms.
- Oversee security standards to safeguard confidential information and protect Beth El community devices from malware.
- Maintain databases of pertinent member and donor information in ways that are secure but easy to query for those with authorized
- With the support of the Head of Building Maintenance, manage use, maintenance, and operation of the facilities.
- Manage vendors and contractors who perform building maintenance and repairs.
- Oversee maintenance and use of kosher kitchens.
- Proactively establish and manage relationships with entities renting Beth El facilities.
Beth El’s Board will appoint the congregation’s next Executive Director following a national search. The Board has appointed a six-member Search Committee drawn from the congregation to conduct the search. The Committee is chaired by Dan Schnitzer who is First Vice President of the congregation and will serve a two-year term as President from 2022 to 2024. The Board has engaged the firm of moss+ross (www.mossandross.com) to assist the Committee in developing a pool of highly qualified candidates and support the selection process. The Search Committee will interview semi-finalists via Zoom in mid-winter 2022. Finalists will be invited to spend several days in Durham with the Committee and the congregation in early spring, with the goal of appointing a new Executive Director as soon as practicable thereafter. All aspects of the search will be confidential until finalists are named with the consent of the candidates.
The successful candidate must have the personal characteristics and professional competencies described above to earn the trust of, and work effectively with, the Rabbi, Board, congregation, and staff. The Executive Director must be willing to work evening and weekend hours when meetings and congregational events require. The Search Committee has outlined the following additional criteria:
Education and Experience:
- An earned degree from an accredited institution of higher education (required);
- Relevant Master’s degree or certificate in non-profit management (preferred);
- At least five years of demonstrated leadership at a senior level in performing the range of duties required at Beth El (required);
- Familiarity with Jewish ritual, holiday, and life-cycle traditions, and experience working for or volunteering with Jewish service organization (preferred);
- Significant financial planning, budgeting, forecasting, reporting, and management skills; and
- Experience evaluating and utilizing financial, communications, and database software and web-based technology.
Compensation and Benefits:
- Salary range: $80,000-$95,000 depending on experience and qualifications.
- Benefits: Health care, professional development allowance, professional dues, retirement plan with employer contribution, synagogue dues, religious school tuition discount, paid vacation/sick leave/family leave, paid holidays.
Please direct nominations and any questions about this opportunity to:
To Apply: Please apply by email with a single attachment (Word or pdf) including your resume and a cover letter discussing your qualifications and interest in the position, along with where you heard about the position, to:
Chair, Search Committee
Beth El Congregation
The application deadline is January 30, 2022 to ensure full consideration. The Search Committee may, at its discretion, accept later applications until the position is filled.