Congregational Leaders I've Worked With Say ...
Congregation Beth Shalom, Pittsburgh, PA
As a member of our congregation's interim rabbi search committee, I knew that we were looking for a unique kind of Rabbi. We weren't looking for a rabbi to just fill a "gap" year between permanent rabbis. Instead, we were looking for a "consultant-rabbi" who could help us look into ourselves as a congregation and identify the kind of permanent rabbi who could carry us into our centennial year and beyond.
Rabbi Levin helped us challenge our norms by guiding us through a year of programming and exercises that were meaningful, helpful, and spiritual. She held a kind of mirror to us that no one else could and helped us better understand each other. That was an important step in preparing us to not only find, but receive our permanent rabbi.
Steve Albert, Board of Trustees / Project Manager UPMC
Temple Torat yisrael,
East Greenwich, RI
I was the president who brought Rabbi Levin to Torat Yisrael and worked with her during her first two years with us. Rabbi Levin helped us design a process that brought the idea of moving to a new location to our membership, created the consensus to move and guided us through the very complicated process of moving the congregation. This was a very delicate procedure as many of our members and their families had been part of the congregation for well over 50 years and felt an emotional attachment to our building. Rabbi Levin modifed our services to suit our congregation’s changing needs.
Due to our successful move to East Greenwich, a congregation that could have folded is now vital, happy and growing in our new location. Many of Rabbi Levin's innovations and initiatives are still in place today. Finally, it was truly a pleasure to work with her. She made my life as president a much more pleasant experience than it could have been.
Alan Olinsky, Past President / Professor, Bryant University
Congregation rodeph Sholom, bridgeport, ct
Rabbi Levin provided our Executive Committee with great counsel during a very difficult period of time in our synagogue's history. Her great knowledge, experience and clear thinking helped us make important decisions and to communicate effectively with the congregation. When emotions and frustration within the leadership ran high, Rabbi Levin was able to keep us focused on what was important and steer us in the 'right' direction. In addition to helping the leadership of the congregation, Rabbi Levin led a series of parlor meetings in an effort to get to know the congregants, help help them know each other and to build consensus about the future path for our synagogue. I found her advice and guidance invaluable.
Lisa Rappoport, Past Vice-President / Software Consultant and Contractor
Rabbi Levin was hired by our synagogue back in July of 2015 as an Interim Rabbi to heal a split in the congregation on how we should proceed into the future. The division caused serious rifts among different factions of our membership.
Enter Rabbi Levin who immediately tried to remediate the rancor that had resulted: she conducted parlor meetings at various congregant's homes, assessed the dynamics of the congregation and acted as a calming presence. She successfully reduced the back-biting and poisonous atmosphere that prevailed and brought a sane, reasoned voice to the fray. By not being judgmental or taking sides in the division, Rabbi Levin went on to offer methodologies for our kehillah to not only survive, but to thrive going forward. It is still too early to close the book on this factional split, but there is no doubt that Rabbi Levin's professional and heart caring guidance allowed some healing to occur and we are now in a much more secure situation than we were.
Sy Wiesenfeld, Treasurer / Communications Professional, retired
It is my pleasure to write about Rabbi Amy Levin. Rabbi Levin was the Rabbi of Temple Torat Yisrael in Cranston and then East Greenwich, Rhode Island, USA, for ten years and I was the President for eight of those years.
Rabbi Levin has an analytical way of looking at things and also an empathetic way of relating to the world. She challenged us and adapted to all the changes we undertook. She ensured that we compromised yet maintained our values and standards. She attended the committee meetings and was always available with input.
Rabbi Levin represented us within the community and became the president of the RI Board of Rabbis.
Throughout her years in Rhode Island, Rabbi Levin stressed the importance of inclusion of all voices in the various conversations and decisions and of working and communicating with transparency. Rabbi Levin assisted in the transition from our 60 year old synagogue building in one location to a new building in another town and was a strong agent of change. It was a pleasure and an honor working with Rabbi Levin!
Susan Smoller, Past President / Director, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island
Rabbi Levin was hired by Congregation Beth Shalom as an interim Rabbi. We were in a state of transition and knew that we needed assistance through this complex process. Our goals and objectives were to make our congregation a more welcoming and spiritual environment while improving the organizational structure and finances--no small undertaking.
Rabbi Levin worked closely with the board of directors and executive committee on several levels. She conducted multiple seminars with our board in small groups to guide us on team work, conflict resolution, enhanced communication and effective meeting management. Further, Rabbi Levin took an active role in enhancing our Shabbat services to better engage our 500+ families. Examples include adjusting the physical location of the rabbinic lectern and Torah reading to be closer to the congregants. Rabbi Levin encouraged many members to take roles in leading parts of our services working closely with volunteers who reached out to congregants. She also focused on improving communication with our members by updating the website, guiding the staff to make our monthly bulletin more attractive, and create email announcements with enhanced graphics and stories.
As we began the process to search for our new long-term Rabbi, Rabbi Levin recommended rewriting our job description to attract the type of candidate we desired. She worked closely with the search committee and the Rabbinical Assembly to support Beth Shalom. The previous job description was decades old and did not focus on the issues described above. Her recommendations succeeded in attracting strong candidates and have strengthened the foundation upon which our new Rabbi is better able to progress into our next 100 years of community service.
Todd Rascoe, Vice-President / Director of Operations, Universal Electric Corporation