February 2011 CCAR Newsletter - (Page 1)

CENTRAL Founded In ‫שבט-אדר א‘ תשע״א‬ FEBRUARY 2011 1889 NEWS CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN RABBIS Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis Volume 58 – Number 5 FROM THE CCAR CHIEF EXECUTIVE Steven A. Fox ‫איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים‬ From The President Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus t was a sort of busman’s holiday. On our vacation in Curacao, I accepted the invitation to give a d’var Torah at the historic synagogue Mikve Israel – Emanuel in Willemstad. The service was lovely, lengthy and very warm. It included a rather elaborate ceremony of installation of officers, which accounts for the length, and the warmth stemmed not only from the emotions of the community, but also the fact that the “snoa” (as the synagogue is called there) is not air conditioned. Coming from frigid Chicago, I will not complain about warmth in January, but I marveled at the local gentlemen in jackets and ties, hardly breaking a sweat. I was pleased to find Mishkan T’filah in use as their regular siddur. Most impressive is the congregation’s strong commitment to uphold its Sephardic traditions with distinctive liturgy and melodies for the Torah ritual, including a trope I had not heard before, a very carefully choreographed procession with the Torah, the handing of the yad, and lengthy expositions following each aliyah indicating donations in memory and in honor of what seemed to be the person’s entire family. A congregation does not survive over 350 years by blending into the woodwork. Although their numbers are down, their tenacity in maintaining their unique qualities is admirable. It made me think about my own congregation, and what makes it unique. Founded by German refugees in 1944, we still sing the Neilah k’dushah in German. I heard many of our regular Lewandowski melodies at synagogues I visited in Berlin a few months ago, and felt right at home. But more than familiar music, I believe my congregation excels because of its level of volunteerism. We are (Continued on page 2) 1 I he CCAR and the URJ have partnered to prepare a new rabbinic salary study for rabbis serving in congregations. For this study, we worked with the Reform Pension Board and an independent actuarial firm, Buck Consultants, LLC, to collect, analyze and present the findings. The Study is available at the CCAR website. Why is this Salary Study different than prior salary surveys? This salary study is different from prior salary studies in that it is a study based upon RPB data, and not based upon a survey. As you know, in years past, the CCAR relied upon a survey of member rabbis and their congregations. Often, the number of colleagues who responded to the survey did not always yield sufficient data for the independent research company to provide us with useful information for certain sizes of congregation or about rabbis with certain experience. (For example, in the 2008-2009 survey, there was not sufficient data to report on associates/assistants.) Since the RPB annually collects data on rabbinic salaries for pension determination purposes from rabbis and congregations, a study based on RPB data provides the ability to collect and study more comprehensive information by the independent actuarial firm. Thus, the data made available to Buck represented the majority of CCAR rabbis serving URJ congregations on a full-time basis. At all times, the RPB information remained within the control of the RPB and the independent actuarial firm; neither the CCAR nor the URJ had access to confidential information. The CCAR and URJ are exceptionally grateful to the RPB for its participation, cooperation, selection of the independent actuary, and confidential management of the data. What is in the new study? The new salary study presents salary data for full-time senior and solo rabbis, assistant rabbis and associate rabbis who are members of the CCAR serving URJ congregations during the 2010-2011 congregational year. The study only analyzed base compensation, which included both salary and housing/parsonage; i.e., the data submitted to the RPB by congregations and rabbis. (The terms housing/parsonage are used interchangeably.) You will be able to look at the data in several ways: by congregational size, by the placement categories utilized by the Joint Commission on Rabbinical Placement of the URJ/CCAR/HUC-JIR, and by “major metropolitan areas” as defined by the United States Census Bureau. Why is the study limited to base compensation only? This year’s study does not include additional benefits paid to rabbis other than base compensation (salary and housing/parsonage) such as pension, professional dues, disability, health care, longterm care insurance, CCAR Convention, other continuing education, spiritual growth allowances, and other benefits which is not available to the RPB. There are a number of other factors impacting compensation which are not calculated in this study: number of years in a particular position or number of years in the rabbinate, cost of living in specific geographic area, number of positions held during a rabbi’s career, or prior career experience. Also, this study does not provide data on part-time or portfolio rabbis who serve congregations less than full-time. Again, this data is not available to the RPB. Please see the list of issues to consider in a rabbinic contract on the CCAR website or contact me if you wish to discuss the numerous possible benefits in a rabbi’s overall compensation. Some of the factors which we are not able to include in a study are by their very nature particular to the rabbi and the congregation. (Continued on page 4) T

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of February 2011 CCAR Newsletter

February 2011 CCAR Newsletter

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