Temple Israel,
Director of Lifelong Jewish Learning

Minneapolis, MN


Temple Israel, generally referred to as "Temple," is an urban congregation dedicated to serving a diverse community for over 135 years. Temple Israel celebrates its rich diversity as a congregation, a vibrant community comprised of many smaller communities and is very inclusive for inter-faith families. Temple Israel was the first synagogue established in Minneapolis and is now one of the ten largest congregations in the United States.

Temple Israel was organized in 1878, originally named Shaarai Tov, "The Gates of Goodness." The 23 founding members rented a hall at Nicollet and Washington Avenues for Friday night worship services, and taught Sunday school classes in the president's home. In 1920, the congregation changed its name to Temple Israel.

Temple Israel is extremely proud of their strength in Clergy leadership. Each Clergy member in Temple’s history has taken Temple Israel to new heights. For a more in-depth look at the impact of each Clergy member and an overall history of Temple Israel, please visit https://templeisrael.com/history.

In 2001, Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman became Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel, becoming the first woman Senior Rabbi of a congregation of over 2,000 families. She has led this historic congregation through exciting events during her tenure. The congregation beautifully refurbished their magnificent sanctuary, and has recently opened their doors to a newly renovated building.

The Mission Statement of Temple Israel is:
Temple Israel is a large, urban, Reform synagogue that exists:
To be a welcoming and accessible place for worship, for lifelong learning, for celebration and for gathering;

To meet the religious, life cycle, social and educational needs of its congregants;

To take a leadership role in our community and promote strong bonds between our Jewish and non-Jewish communities at-large.


The Director of Lifelong Jewish Learning is an incredible opportunity to make meaningful impact on a diverse, engaged, thriving community. Together with Temple leadership, this Director of Lifelong Jewish Learning will help shape Temple Israel’s vision for education and bring that vision to life. The Director will serve as a thought partner in conceiving and developing strategic goals for education for all Temple members at every stage and phase while also creating and supporting programs to promote and realize those goals.

With an operating budget of $6 million, a staff of 107 employees (35 are full time), Temple Israel has 2150 members. The Director of Lifelong Jewish Learning will work closely with and supervise the Directors of each of the departments listed below in order to achieve a shared alignment of an integrated vision of engagement for all Temple Israel members. They include:


JEWL (Judaic Experiential Whole-person Learning) For Students in Kindergarten to 8th grade - With a strong focus on Relational Judaism (making positive memories, creating friendships and gaining a sense of belonging), Whole-Person Learning (addressing the physical, social, emotional, ethical and spiritual aspects of learner’s lives), Experiential Education (encouraging exploration, playfulness and discovery), and Project-Based Learning (working towards a meaningful outcome), JEWL fosters a sense of love and passion for Judaism. Among the unique learning experiences of JEWL are HTM (Hebrew Through Movement), in which Temple’s students learn Hebrew in an organic way using their bodies and the world around them as their learning spaces; creative writing, cooking, yoga or cartooning, the transformative 6th grade Kallot at Camp Teko, and the 8th grade Leadership Track.

Camp Teko/TIPTY – Camp TEKO is Temple Israel’s day camp and is located on more than 18 acres of beautiful shoreline property on the North Arm Bay of Lake Minnetonka. Camp Teko has provided a safe, educational, and fun Jewish camping experience for children. Camp TEKO is ACA accredited. TIPTY is Temple Israel’s youth group for grades 9th- 12th. Teens come together for innovative programs and creative worship throughout the year.

Early Childhood Center – Temple Israel’s Early Childhood Center is a NAEYC accredited, Reggio-inspired, diverse Jewish preschool serving children ages 16 months to 5 years. The classrooms are full of music and play, exploring and trying, laughing and dancing, building and creating. Work and play are one in early childhood, so the classrooms are set up to be places where children make choices and engage in hands-on learning while the teachers enrich and extend their endeavors. The curriculum includes four main components: Reggio Emilia, Everyday Structure, Objectives, and Judaism.

9th-12th Grade Programming - Temple Israel’s high school students participate in the community-wide 9th – 12th grade program called “Yachad” that takes place at the Sabes JCC. Temple clergy and teachers are instructors in the program. 10th grade Confirmation takes place within the Yachad program and is taught by Temple Israel’s rabbis.

Adult Education - Temple Israel offers a whole array of classes for adults on their Jewish journey. Some classes include: Adult Hebrew, Introduction to Judaism, Torah Study, 70s+, and Kabbalah Sparks.



• Adopt Temple-wide practices that incorporate Jewish learning into all facets of Temple Israel’s programming, communications, operations, and facilities.
• Collaborate with the clergy in the assessment of Temple Israel’s overall education staffing and makes adjustments to meet the objectives of the strategic plan.
• Provide strong day to day leadership; support an open-door policy among all staff; cultivate the values of a client driven culture throughout the organization.
• Supervise the five Directors and their departments. Empowers a strong program middle management team with the authority, responsibility and accountability, skill set to own and run their program/business line.
• Promote and offer ongoing professional development opportunities for the team members as a whole, and for individuals on the team, that focus on strengthening their work as educators, organizers, pastoral advisors, and managers.
• Set department-wide quarterly and annual goals and benchmarks and work with the clergy, the Executive Director and her/his team, and the adult engagement team to assess and measure progress, achievements, and identify obstacles.
• Create, edit, review, and keep current a range of operational policies and internal controls.
• Along with the Senior Rabbi, determine areas of focus, identify success metrics and evaluate program outcomes.
• Manage team dynamics and create a culture of collaboration, idea sharing and accountability. Guide her/his team to maintain the highest professional standards and incorporate best practices in all facets of their work
• Examine goals for Temple-wide lifespan Jewish learning activities, including major changes, additions, enhancements, and analyzes current programs.
o Review and refines Temple Israel’s philosophy of lifespan Jewish learning.
o Study best practices and innovations in childhood, youth and adult Jewish education, including deep connections with Israel.
o Assure accessibility of learning opportunities for people with special needs.
o Conduct a high-level review of Temple Israel’s overall Jewish learning initiatives and programs.
o Recommend Temple-wide goals that ensure all age cohorts and stages of life are included and addressed.
• Offer core Jewish education experiences for adults and continually identify emerging interests and topics.
o Provide collaborative learning programs with Jewish and greater community partners.
o Experiment with new formats and approaches for the varied ages and stages of adult life.
• Create and implement family educational experience on Jewish holidays.
• Communication
o Integrate social media and develop staff involvement with social media efforts to encourage congregant engagement (throughout all departments)
o Develop, monitor and communicate policies, procedures and general information provided to parents with Senior Rabbi and COO


• Significant experience in supervision, team building and organizational leadership.
• Entrepreneurial thinking skills, creativity, good judgment, sensitivity, excellent interpersonal skills, professional maturity, organizational skills, oral and written communications skills, credibility, honesty, and integrity.
• Experience in creating opportunities for congregants to build relationships with one another and in strategically weaving together community in ways that reflect the individual members’ interests and how they overlap with the interests of others.
• A character that demonstrates strong work ethic, a kind nature in his/her disposition, a leadership style that embraces ideas of others and brings people together, and a sense of humor.
• Strong knowledge of Jewish text, ritual, and practice
• Capacity and proven skill in working both in partnership with others and independently to develop ideas and model initiatives. Ability to work collaboratively with both lay and professional partners.


Dara Klarfeld, Managing Director
Sarah Raful Whinston, Consultant

Please submit a resume and cover letter
Email: TempleIsrael@drgnyc.com
Fax: 212-983-1687

This search began in July 2017 and is currently active. This position description is based upon material provided by Temple Israel, an equal opportunity employer.