The New Rabbi
Last week, I received a letter informing me that the shul is embarking on a search for a permanent rabbi. It seems that the current rabbi is serving on an interim basis, though this fact was not publicized to make sure that he was treated with respect. He will still be in the running, but we will "try out" at least three more finalists before making the decision.
I don't know why this letter made me feel anxious. Partially it is because I noticed that the attitute toward our current rabbi has changed for both other congregants and myself. For me, it was not a conscious thing, but I could not help but feel different toward the man, like someone who doesn't want to commit emotionally to someone who has a good chance of not being there much longer. And I could sense the same off-key vibe coming from him.
I also wonder if this process will really stress the seams of this brand new shul. Whenever you make a big decision like this, people always have very differing needs and opinions. I can already hear people digging in their heels about the prospective candidates - "There's no way that I'm going to a shul with a rabbi this young", etc., etc.
A few years back I read a very interesting book about this exact topic, called "The New Rabbi" that described the trials and tribulations of a big shul in Pennsylvania replacing a very distinguished rabbi. When I read it, it was a purely hypothetical interest. Maybe it is time for me to read it again.