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188 North Prospect Street
Burlington, Vermont 05401
(802) 864-0218

Rabbi Search and Transition

Mazal Tov to Rabbi Amy on her coming retirement in June 2023!  Click here to see OZ’s May and June programs to celebrate Rabby Amy.

Welcome to OZ’s Rabbi Search page.  As new information develops, we will add it here.  Questions can be sent to our search committee co-chairs Judy Danzig and Rich Berger by emailing [email protected] or through our website contact form.

April 18, 2023

OZ President Jeff Potash announced: “I am delighted to inform you that at Sunday’s congregational meeting congregants overwhelming approved the hiring of Rabbi Aaron Philmus. We look forward to the Rabbi and his family arriving in Burlington at the end of June and invite you to participate with us as we develop our plans to warmly welcome them into our community.

With a new clergy team, Rabbi Aaron and Cantor Steve, we find ourselves at a very interesting transition point in the life of OZ:

  • We are welcoming many new members as we come out of Covid.
  • There are an ever-increasing number of community members participating in our events and services.
  • We are exploring synagogue building refurbishing options.
  • Our back property development team is making progress at finding us a partner for the development of senior and inter-generational housing.
  • There is an increased awareness for providing a better work/life balance for our staff.
  • And so much more.

We are at the mid-way point of our strategic plan – Imagine 2025, a great time to reflect on what we have accomplished, what we might want to change, and where we are heading. Join us for one of our upcoming small group gatherings where we can discuss the future of OZ.

The success of our clergy in helping us foster a vibrant and joyful community grounded in the three pillars of Imagine 2025 (Social Justice, Center for Jewish Life and Religious/Spirituality) depends on a meaningful relationship with each and every one of us. We can and will benefit from your thoughts, ideas and needs for and from OZ.

Whether you connect to OZ through our preschool, Hebrew school, adult education, pastoral care, social action, arts, gardening, mahjong, religious/spiritual services, etc. we want to hear from you. Come and share your perspective with us as we work to make OZ more accessible, meaningful, and welcoming for all.
Join us for a 60 – 90-minute gathering where we can update you on our progress with Imagine 2025 and discuss with you the next 18 – 24 months of our Jewish communal life.

We are providing a number of gathering options (by zoom or in-person) for small groups throughout April and May.
To register,  please click here and choose a date and time that works for you.

Welcoming a new Rabbi is a wonderful time to reflect on our past and plan for our future together. Please join us.

March 30, 2023

After receiving a recommendation from the Search Committee, the OZ Board of Directors voted for Rabbi Aaron Philmus to be OZ’s Rabbi.  In accordance with our by-laws, the next step in the process will be an in-person congregation vote. A meeting will be held at OZ on April 16th, between 9:30 and 11:30 am. There will be an opportunity at the meeting to review, with members of the Rabbinic Search Committee, the process that was used and the diverse sets of information/data that were collected. Congregants will also have opportunities to ask questions.

March 3, 2023

We have had 13 applicants apply for our rabbinic opening. We now have two candidates invited for in-person weekends in March: Rabbi Aaron Philmus & Rabbi Talia Stein. Click here for a schedule of events for our upcoming Rabbi visits.

September 21, 2022

Ohavi Zedek released its rabbi job description and began accepting applicants.

September 15, 2022

OZ held its Special Congregation meeting about the rabbinic search.

September 9, 2022

The following message was shared by OZ’s President, Jeff Potash:

“At our annual meeting in June, we proposed coming to the congregation in September to share options for hiring a part or half time Rabbi and to elicit the congregation’s preference in a vote. However, since June, we have raised funds (three year pledges from a small number of our congregants) … [that] … will allow our congregation to move forward with hiring a full-time replacement for Rabbi Amy beginning in July, 2023…”

A diverse Rabbinic Search Committee made up of 14 individuals has been assembled, and includes members with involvement in many areas of OZ life, including preschool and Hebrew School, social justice, family engagement, religious & spiritual, disability inclusion, young professional, Jewish culture, interfaith families and Jews by choice. 

Timeline and Tasks can be accessed by clicking here.

July 18, 2022

OZ President Jeff Potash announced, “With guidance and support from our congregation, we are forming a Rabbinic Transition committee with which to determine how best to find a partner for Cantor Steve. You will be hearing more from us as we reach out to the congregation for further guidance in the months to come. Additionally, we are planning a special September Congregational meeting to finalize plans for our Rabbinic search.”

June 2022 Annual Meeting

Transition planning was discussed at the annual meeting.

May and June 2022

OZ’s leadership hosted nine ‘listening sessions’ – zoom and in-person meetings of members to hear feedback and discuss ideas around the future of our clergy.  Nearly 100 people participated.

January 20, 2022

OZ President Jeff Potash shared this message with the congregation, “With the announced retirement of Rabbi Amy, the board has decided to begin a community conversation to determine what our clergy leadership should look like in the fall of 2023. Starting in early spring and extending to early summer, we will be reaching out to every congregant and offering you an opportunity to engage in small discussion groups on different opportunities for the future. Our goal is to have a clear direction for our clergy leadership before the High Holidays.”


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