MARBLEHEAD – Temple Sinai has established a Rabbi Search Committee and expects that a new spiritual leader will be on the job by July 1, according to temple president Ira Dinnes.
“Ideally we would like to hire someone in May,” said Dinnes, who also leads the search committee. After discussions with Temple Sinai’s current rabbi, David Cohen-Henriquez, the congregation’s leaders decided not to extend Cohen-Henriquez’s contract, Dinnes announced in October.
The 10-person search committee includes Dinnes, Emily Andreano, Alan Barnett, Alison Brookes, Sheldon Brown, Marjorie Detkin, Merle Hyman, Michael Lawee, Barbara Rosenstroch, and Carole Skowronski. The committee expects to conduct an initial round of online interviews, and then bring in a final candidate (or candidates) for an in-person visit.
Dinnes said the temple is financially solvent. “We can keep going for many, many years, and that’s why we decided to hire a full-time rabbi,” he said.
Dinnes said the temple plans to advertise for a rabbi online. While the temple is no longer affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism – the major congregational organization of the Jewish religious movement in the United States – he described Sinai as a progressive Conservative temple.
The congregation was formed in 1953 with 60 families. It held services at 140 Atlantic Ave. and hired its first rabbi and cantor in 1955, and it opened its building on Community Road in Marblehead in 1961. According to Dinnes, the temple has about 200 members, and has been holding services online during the COVID-19 health emergency.
While the doors have been closed, the temple has been working to renovate its building. In recent months, it replaced its roof, added new windows, and upgraded its Internet service. Dinnes said the temple also plans to paint the inside and outside of the structure.
Dinnes said the congregation is deeply committed to social action and adult education programs. Temple Sinai is a distribution site for Jewish Family & Children’s Service’s kosher food pantry. Once a month, volunteers from the temple help pack free kosher food that is given away to local residents.
“We also have a knitting club that knits a lot of clothes for the Lynn homeless shelter, and we’re meeting next month to make sandwiches for the homeless,” said Dinnes.