Featured Ads

A childhood dream to be a rabbi becoming reality

Taylor Poslosky

“My life has revolved around Judaism since I was little,” said Taylor Poslosky, who is studying to be a rabbi at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. “The synagogue was my first home; I spent more time there than anywhere else.”

 

Currently Poslosky is in Jerusalem where she is spending her first year of rabbinical school. She has stated that she felt most like herself in a Jewish setting. So being in Israel is like being at home for her. She loves spending the holidays in Israel.

“During Purim everyone is so happy. There was an excited buzz rushing around Jerusalem as everyone was trying to find costumes. The fun, joyful atmosphere was all around, not just contained in the synagogue,” she said in an interview before Passover. “I love that I won’t have to worry about if something is kosher for Pesach here. It feels special to be in a place where the holidays I celebrate are reflected in the culture of the state.”

Poslosky began preparing to be a rabbi from a young age.  She started her learning at Kehilath Israel’s preschool, moved on to the Weiner Religious School at Congregation Beth Torah, and the Hebrew High (Community High School) that was held at the Jewish Community Campus.  She was also a member of Jewish youth groups and attended several Jewish summer camps. As a child she would tag along as her mother taught religious school at Beth Torah and with her dad as he took adult Hebrew classes and Torah study on Shabbat.  She honestly spent most of her spare time immersed in Judaism.

Her interests did not go unnoticed. Poslosky named Marcia Rittmaster and David Finn of Beth Torah as two of her mentors. Although Finn is no longer at the congregation, Rittmaster is still at Beth Torah as the interim director of education and she has vivid memories of Poslosky.

“Taylor has dreamed of being a rabbi since she was a little girl,” Rittmaster said. “As a very little girl, her mom taught Hebrew School and she became my assistant. She would go around and collect the roll sheets and tzedakah. She spent the rest of her time in the School Office pouring over Hebrew books, which she soaked up like a sponge.”

Poslosky started attending Jewish Leadership training programs when she was in high school. And the education continued when she was in college. She focused on religion and applied critical thought and inquiry while an undergrad at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. She was the first Jewish student awarded the Hester Scholarship for academic excellence in the Religion Department. And the experiences and awards continued, including working for the Jewish Heritage Foundation one summer as a Daniel L. Brenner Intern through the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City.

Her ability to be a Jewish leader was obvious even before these college accolades.

“She was a madricha in our school and quickly became more than a teacher’s assistant,” Rittmaster said. “She loved to teach and the students learned so much from her — not just knowledge, but her positive attitude and excitement to be in an educational setting was palpable. All of these decisions have supported her intention to be a rabbi.”

Poslosky took a year off before starting rabbinical school working at Congregation Beth Israel in Scottsdale, Arizona, as the director of youth engagement. There she met her third mentor, Rabbi Rony Keller. She says her experience in Arizona prepared her for rabbinical school in two ways. She learned from the senior staff and experienced what it would be like to move away from home and create her own Jewish community and friends.

Poslosky does not know exactly what direction she wants to go in as a rabbi. She plans to use her time as a student to discover her exact vocation. But she does know that she “want to engage a community that cares for each other and embraces their Judaism.”

Whatever she decides, Rittmaster is sure she will do a great job. 

“Her sensitivity to others will be another asset when she reaches her goal, Rittmaster said. “She has always been empathetic and a wonderful listener.”

For Poslosky, the synagogue and her religious training was important. But the most important things to her are her family. Her parents Scot Poslosky and Robbye Timmerman, and brother Adam and his wife Alicia, have given her “unwavering support and love,” she said.

“Without them, I would not be where I am today.”

Poslosky will be finishing her rabbinical studies in Cincinnati. She plans to spend the next four years exploring every option to find the best fit for her and the community she will serve.