A Compelling Opportunity
The Temple is one of America’s most historic and vibrant Reform Jewish synagogues. Founded in 1867 and located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, The Temple is Atlanta’s oldest, most iconic and diverse synagogue, serving over 1600 member households. The Temple is recognized nationally as a leader in the Reform Jewish movement.
The Temple is a source of transformational Jewish life experiences, lifelong education, inspiring worship and community. Known for extraordinary clergy, staff and Board leadership, The Temple has longstanding commitments to civil rights and social justice, diversity, interfaith connection and Israel; and to shared Vision and Values.
This is a time of tremendous promise and momentum at The Temple. The congregation has recently welcomed a new Cantor and a new Director of Engagement. The Temple is financially strong, with a $7 million operating budget, and has run a balanced budget for over a decade. A significant endowment supports the long-term health and welfare of the historic congregation.
Members are excited to return to in-person worship and events. Over the past two years, The Temple has enhanced its outdoor space, technology and core offerings for congregants. Thanks to its ambitious clergy, staff and lay leadership, new initiatives are emerging, including ideas for a rooftop gathering space overlooking the scenic Midtown skyline.
Executive Director (ED) Mark Jacobson has announced his retirement after 45 years of remarkable service. Among many accomplishments, Mark created and evolved the ED role, building a strong team and operational foundation. In its next ED, The Temple is seeking to hire an individual with outstanding managerial and interpersonal skills, broad experience in strategic planning, financial and business management, as well as operational and facilities expertise.
The new ED has a once in a lifetime opportunity: To join a forward-looking team and contribute to the next era of success for this important Reform Jewish synagogue. The ED will be a leader who thrives in a positive, engaged culture and is a source of know-how, ideas and results.
Mandate for the Executive Director (ED)
The Executive Director reports to the President of the Board of Trustees and works closely with the Senior Rabbi, serving as the primary staff liaison to the Board, Executive Committee, and other committees. The ED works closely with members of the Board, clergy and staff. A key resource for members of The Temple, the ED interfaces with members on an ongoing basis.
The ideal ED candidate has a warm, engaging personality, relevant experience, and passion for serving the diverse needs of a thriving Reform Jewish synagogue. The ED will foster a positive, can-do culture, be a great manager of people, and work as a valued team member across the organization. Experience working in a synagogue or other religious organization is not required.
The ED leads the 20-person team responsible for finance, administration, facilities and maintenance, security, membership and member services, IT, and HR. The ED will:
- Be a strategic and visionary leader of operations. The ED will be a trusted leader and close partner to clergy, the Board, the staff and the membership. The ED will be responsible for evaluating current practices and processes across all facets of The Temple operations, and modifying or developing new practices that best serve the organization. The ED will engage others around a strategic vision and will lead operational excellence and implementation of enhancements in HR, finance, technology, facilities, infrastructure, systems and processes.
- Inspire and manage a best-in-class culture and team. The ED will be ‘hands-on’ as well as good at delegating responsibilities across the team. The ED will be an engaged leader, manager and mentor. The ED will inspire and empower a collaborative team committed to excellence, innovation and results.
- Be a force for membership excitement and growth. The ED will be a key resource for members of The Temple, inspiring members to participate and support Temple activities. The ED will build trusted relationships and work effectively through dues and other issues, resolving conflicts as necessary. The ED will champion and facilitate member-friendly policies, technologies and processes.
- Help build The Temple of the future. The ED will be a forward-looking partner to clergy, staff and the Board, and a source of ideas on how to enhance physical space, team morale, member experiences and operations. The ED will be a thought leader on synagogue best practices, and a source of ideas about new solutions and plans for the future. Areas of innovation might include creative uses of space, environmental initiatives, and staff “best place to work” approaches.
Personal Assets and Abilities
The ideal candidate will have an engaging personality, broad financial and operational skills, and the ability to become a valued partner, leader
and member of The Temple staff and community. The ED will have passion for the people, history, vision, values and mission of The Temple.
The ED will have personal characteristics that include:
- Outstanding relationship, listening skills, and personal warmth
- Confidence, compassion and humility
- A calm, positive, can-do approach
- Excellent communication, diplomatic and negotiation skills
- Deep appreciation for diversity, inclusion and equity
- Adaptability, resilience and ability to manage in a crisis
- A service orientation and servant leadership approach
- Reliability, honesty and accountability
- A sense of humor
The ED will have skills and capabilities that include:
- Strong executive function and organizational skills
- Strategic problem-solving skills
- Leadership, management and team building skills
- Operational, financial and business acumen
- Facilities and operational experience
- Culture-building experience and knowledge of modern HR practices
- Ability to lead change in ways that build buy-in and engagement
- Knowledge and appreciation of technology
- Ability to build consensus, and to make tough decisions
About the Temple
The Temple is one of American Judaism’s most historic religious institutions. A Reform Jewish congregation founded in 1867, it is Atlanta’s oldest, most iconic and diverse synagogue. For 155 years, The Temple has led in the work of social justice and in its commitment to the Jewish and secular
communities of Atlanta.
The Temple is located in Midtown Atlanta, at the center of a thriving, growing city with over five million residents. The Temple is the religious home for over 1600 households — more than 4,000 individual members.
The Temple offers vibrant, lifelong education programs for all ages and stages, from preschool to college through adulthood, including programs for young professionals and interfaith couples, and groundbreaking work on learning disabilities. The Temple hosts one of Atlanta’s most respected preschools, the Weinberg Early Learning Center (WELC), an inclusive and inspiring learning environment for children ages 3 months to 4 years. As a nationally recognized religious education program for over 15 years, WELC connects education with Jewish values while developing confident and respectful children in a religiously and ethnically diverse environment. The Breman Education Center at the Temple brings Judaism to life through experiential learning of Torah and rituals, celebrations, and travel.
Mission commitments include the Zaban Paradies Center for couples who are homeless, the Rothschild Social Justice Institute, and Project Connect for teens.
The Temple is the most diverse synagogue in Georgia. The Temple embraces interfaith families, Jews of Color, LGBTQ+ Jews, those with physical or learning needs, and all who seek an inclusive and welcoming Jewish community. The Temple recently introduced The Temple Mosaic, an initiative ensuring The Temple is warm and welcoming to all and celebrates the diversity of its changing city. Membership includes many families with multi-generational histories at The Temple, and many who grew up in congregations around the United States.
The Temple enjoys strong relationships with faith institutions across Atlanta, including, but not limited to, First Presbyterian Church, The Islamic Speakers Bureau, and Ebenezer Baptist Church (spiritual home to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.).
The Temple has a storied history. Originally founded as the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation in 1867, The Temple was Atlanta’s first official Jewish institution. Jews have lived in Atlanta since the very beginnings of the city, and while they were an integral part of the city’s commercial life, they represented a small minority of the population. The current Temple building opened in 1931 and was designed by Philip Trammell Shutze, a well-known architect of the early 20th century.
October 12, 1958 is a date that will forever live in the memory of the Atlanta community. On that day, presumably in response to The Temple’s outspoken support for civil rights and integration, white supremacists placed a bomb made of fifty sticks of dynamite near The Temple’s north entrance. The explosion caused tremendous damage, but thankfully resulted in no injuries or deaths. Atlanta leaders and citizens rallied around The Temple in response to the bombing, ushering in a new chapter of cohesion, cooperation and collaboration across the city. The Temple did not then, nor does it today, shy away from the important social issues of our day.
Leo Frank, who was lynched by a Georgia mob, was a member of The Temple. This is one of the most influential stories in American Jewish history. The ADL was formed, in part, due to the Leo Frank trial. In 1989, Driving Miss Daisy was filmed in part at The Temple. Miss Daisy is a fictional character based on a member of The Temple.
In July 2008, Senior Rabbi Peter Berg became only the fifth senior rabbi of The Temple in the past 126 years, launching the synagogue’s current era of growth, innovation, engagement and promise. Rabbi Berg is recognized as one of the premier reform rabbis in America, and has been named by Newsweek and The Daily Beast among the fifty most influential rabbis in the United States. He is consistently named by Georgia Trend as one of the 100 most influential Georgians, and by Atlanta Magazine as one of Atlanta’s most powerful leaders.
Rabbi Berg leads a team of clergy no less impressive than its Senior Rabbi. The Director of Lifelong Learning has literally written the book on inclusive Jewish education. The Senior Associate Rabbi is a visionary in marrying the best of technology to millennia of traditions and history. The Associate Rabbi’s thought leadership nationally ushered in the era of small group and social engagement in Reform Jewish congregations. The newest member of the clergy team is a renowned Cantor and nationally recognized leader with the American Conference of Cantors.
In its current strategic plan, Embracing our Future, The Temple Board and staff have articulated five main goals:
- Grow The Temple’s diverse membership, and further engage and strengthen our community.
- Establish The Temple as a leading inspirational and transformative center for learning and living Judaism, and for engendering a love of Israel.
- Lead the Atlanta faith community in transformational social justice.
- Create a dynamic, engaging, relevant and impactful culture focused on our next generation from infants to young adults.
- Ensure excellence in the operation of The Temple to secure The Temple’s long-term sustainability.
The ED reports to the President of the Board of Trustees and works as a trusted partner to Senior Rabbi Peter Berg. The ED manages a team of about 20 individuals, including security staff. Direct reports include the Managers of Accounting, Membership, AV/Technology, Facilities and Security. The ED works closely with the clergy team, including the Associate Rabbis, the Cantor, and the Director of Lifelong Learning (also a rabbi), as well as with the entire Temple staff.
The Temple is located in Midtown Atlanta. Metro Atlanta is home to over five million residents, including a Jewish population estimated at more than 130,000. Atlanta hosts the world’s busiest airport, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), major educational and nonprofit institutions including Emory University, Georgia Tech and CARE, and Fortune 500 companies including The Coca-Cola Company, Delta, UPS, Georgia Power and The Home Depot.
For potential consideration or to suggest a prospective candidate for the Executive Director position, please email [email protected] or call Kathy Bremer or Patti Kish at 404-262-7392.
Find the full Leadership Profile here: https://bit.ly/TheTempleED.
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