QUESTION 28: INTERVIEWING RABBIS
A community has been talking with a Rabbi for several months
about his becoming the Rabbi of their community. There was
never mention that any other Rabbi is being considered, and
the only thing standing in the way has been 'logistical'
problems. If another Rabbi is now recommended, how quickly
should the first Rabbi be told that another Rabbi is being
considered? Can telling the first Rabbi be delayed for several
weeks until the community decides if the second Rabbi is a
viable choice, especially if the second candidate is a long-shot,
and there is a concern that the first Rabbi will be alienated by
implying that the community wants to 'do better'?
RABBI BELSKY'S ANSWER
I think that if I were in the shul, and I was interviewing the
Rabbi, I think it would be to our benefit to tell him, "The shul
interviewed someone else, even though they were very impressed
by you. But, you know how it is in shuls -- many people want to
be involved in making the decisions, and they are going through
the process". If something like this is not said, and after a
few weeks he's told that he will not be taken, and is told, "We
don't have funds," or this-and-that, he'll be crushed, because
he'll know he was being led along.
Let's say he's been told already that it's very likely that
he will be the choice.
Tell him the facts. Say, "I still feel that you're the best
person. The people in the shul also feel that way, but this is
the process with shuls". It has to be presented in a way that
is not offensive.
So we should be as up front as possible?
For his good and for yours. But do it in a way that will honor
him. Be careful not to demean him.
I remember when the gabbai went around in a certain shul, he
walked over to the person next to me and said, "Please daven
kabbalos Shabbos (Friday evening prayers, that involve a lot
of singing)" But the person, who was quite good, declined.
The gabbai said, "I'm desperate. I don't have anyone else.
Please daven." The person declined again. The gabbai had to
go away and ask someone else.
I told the gabbai, "That's not the way to do it. Let me give
you a hint. Next time, go over to him and say, 'We have a whole
bunch of people who are itching to daven, but most people want
you. People are looking forward to your doing it.' But if you
tell him that you want him because you have no one else, then
it comes out sounding that if you had someone else you wouldn't
want him. It's better if he is reminded of all his wonderful
qualities, of how good he is.
NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION 29: RESERVING FOOD
The dining room at my son's yeshiva has a rule that half hour
after a meal begins, if food is left over, people can put away
food to eat later. My son's friend said he went to get food
exactly a half hour after the meal had begun, and no food was
left - but he saw that others had already put food aside in
bowls. He wanted to know if he could take the food from those
NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION 30: PARKING LOT 'NEXT DOOR'
The parking lot next to a hospital charges several dollars,
but a block away is a small shopping center. Can one park
at the shopping center, and then walk to the hospital? There
are no signs up that say "for customers only". Does it depend
on how crowded the shopping center parking lot is?
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