When Rabbi Jason Van Leeuwen sat for interviews this spring with the search committee at Congregation B'nai Tikvah in Westchester, he was struck by the questions. Normally, search committees ask rabbi finalists to, for example, name their three great strengths and three great weaknesses, but such standard human resources probing was of little interest to B'nai Tikvah members.
When Rabbi Kenneth Chasen came to the Leo Baeck Temple for a final interview with the search committee in the spring of 2002, he put together a sample Shabbat service for about 40 people. During the service, congregation president Robin Bernstein closed her eyes and smiled. A feeling of peace came over her and she said that she knew that this was "our rabbi."