Cantor Search Update

The Cantor Search Committee (CSC) is charged with finding a full or part-time cantor for  Columbia Jewish Congregation (CJC). Our new cantor will be tasked with leading the congregation in song and prayer at services and holiday celebrations and teaching songs for prayers and festivals to the children enrolled in Columbia Jewish Community School and tutoring children in preparation for B’nai Mitzvah. In addition, the cantor will work with the CJC choir on a regular basis. Other responsibilities may include pastoral counselling, community engagement and TOT Shabbat programs, attending Board meetings and staffing committees. Toward the hiring of a new cantor, the CSC has accomplished the following to date:

October 2021
After receiving 7 responses to our call for cantor candidate applications and 5 zoom interviews, the Cantor Search Committee is happy to announce that a hybrid cantor candidate weekend is scheduled for Friday, November 12- Sunday, November 14, 2021.  All of the applications were carefully considered by the committee and first and second interviews were conducted. This led us to identifying one candidate we find very well suited to fulfill all the cantorial needs of CJC. We are excited to present Cantor Sharon McCord to the congregation for consideration and feedback.

There will be many opportunities throughout the weekend for you to interact with the candidate, either virtually or in-person. We encourage each and every congregant: children, teens and adults, to participate in as many cantor search weekend events as possible. The weekend’s agenda will be shared as soon as it is confirmed. A brief survey will follow the candidate’s weekend so you can let us know what YOU think.


October/November 2020
• Created list of needs identified for the 6 month period between the hiring of the new rabbi and new cantor
• Job description created for interim cantor and tutors
• Identified possible temporary cantors for interim period 
• Identified interim tutors
• Interviewed Rabbi Starr and Cantor Kintisch about hiring process
• Work on temporary tutor and cantor concluded. Board of Directors to take on role of hiring and salary negotiation for these positions

August/September 2020
• Participated in zoom call with transition VP Stu Berlin, Rabbi search chair, Alex Ross, and Jackie Land of the Reconstructing Judaism movement concerning effects on hiring in the wake of the pandemic shutdown
• Created a new timeline with a 6 month delay for the new cantor and the addition of an interim cantor (s) and temporary tutor (s)
• Presented CSC update to the Board of Directors. Requested delay of cantor search for 6 months to give the new rabbi a chance to settle in and to have input as to the new cantor
• Break for the High Holidays (end of September)

June/July 2020
• Clergy Search Survey distributed to every member of the congregation to learn what qualities are wanted in our next cantor (and rabbi)
• Analyzed results of survey responses
• Presented the survey results to the Board of Directors
• Created timeline for cantor search

April/May 2020
• Attended Congregation Town Hall meetings for Rabbi Search, Cantor Search and CJCS 
• Reviewed and incorporated ideas emanating from 3 focus group discussions, as well as the town hall meetings
• Developed a survey instrument to gain feedback from the members of CJC