New Joint Placement Commission Statement on Interviewing

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In November 2020, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Joint Placement Commission (“JPC”)* voted unanimously to institute a temporary policy requiring all candidate interviews, including call-back interviews, be conducted via video-conferencing.

This decision was made to ensure an orderly and dignified job search based on equity and fairness for all congregations and rabbis, while also safeguarding the health and well-being of rabbis, their families and members of congregational communities. The policy also promised that the JPC would re-evaluate the policy as circumstances around the pandemic changed.

At this time, with Covid-19 rates continuing to drop in the United States, and with many RA rabbis and members of USCJ communities now vaccinated, the JPC realizes that many people are more comfortable with travel and face-to-face interactions. Therefore, the JPC is now lifting the ban on travel and in-person interviewing and recommending instead that each candidate and congregation make informed decisions on their interview policies based on the individual concerns and the mutual assent of all parties. The JPC will continue to evaluate the circumstances of the pandemic as it relates to the interview processes as the year progresses.

The JPC recognizes that communities and candidates will have different levels of comfort with renewed in-person interactions. We suggest implementing and offering options to increase feelings of safety such as outside alternatives, and smaller groups and socially distanced events. Please treat this, as well as every interview interaction, with the values of compassion and fairness.

The professionals of the RA, USCJ, JTS and ZSRS are always ready to offer support and guidance. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Emily Hendel, Director of Career Services at the RA.

*The Joint Placement Commission (“JPC”) is made up of representatives of the Rabbinical Assembly (“RA”), The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (“USCJ”), the Jewish Theological Seminary (“JTS”) and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies (“ZSRS”), and is charged with developing procedures and policies governing rabbinic job search in congregations within the Conservative/Masorti movement.

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