PLATTSBURGH — On Thursday morning, Rabbi David Joslin waited for U-Haul to begin its physical transition from Brookline, Mass. in Plattsburgh.
GREAT HOLY DAYS
He begins his new job at Temple Beth Israel in October, but he will deliver a sermon during the High Holy Days which begin Sunday at sundown. (See box).
Cantor/Student Rabbi Emily Howard Meyer travels from Rockville, Maryland to lead Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services at the synagogue located at 1 Bowman St. in Plattsburgh.
Originally from the Boston area, Joslin worked in finance for several years before making aliyah (immigration of Diaspora Jews to the State of Israel) where he served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), worked for a start-up and got a master’s degree in Israel. Security and Foreign Policy from Tel Aviv University.
He has worked in the Jewish world in a variety of capacities ranging from Hebrew School, Federation, Retirement Communities, JCC Summer Camp, Hillel, and most recently as a Rabbinical Intern at Congregation Shaaray Tefila in Glens Falls, New York.
In May, he was ordained at Hebrew College in Newton, Mass., where he earned a master’s degree in Jewish studies.
He is vice-president of the Jewish National Fund JNFutures, New England Chapter.
Former Temple Beth Israel rabbi David Kominsky left in late June after five years in the Reform Jewish congregation to settle in Astoria, Queens.
Synagogue management and Joslin agreed on his position about a week ago and had been in dialogue since late July/early August.
Joslin’s time was split between Glens Falls, Brookline and New York.
“Before I became a rabbi, I was living in Israel and exploring my Zionism and sort of developing not just a deeper Jewish identity, but a deeper sense of myself,” he said.
Joslin just turned 40 on Sunday.
He returned ten years ago from Israel to be closer to his family.
“But I was looking for the next step, not just in my Jewish journey, but where I felt I could best serve the Jewish community,” he said.
“It wasn’t going to be in Israel or in the boardroom, the corporate world, things like that. For me, learning and teaching was just the natural stage of my development but also something that I have always loved.
Joslin completed a six-year program at Hebrew College.
“It was quite text-driven, so there was a lot of emphasis on the text and the original text, the original Hebrew because you get it in its purest tradition,” he said.
“I enjoyed the pluralism approach, the many different angles of an issue, towards a historical perspective.”
For example, if you ask a Reform rabbi or an Orthodox rabbi who wrote the Torah, they will give you very different answers.
“We received a wide range of teachings,” he said.
“I had ordained instructors in Orthodox institutions and Reform and Reconstructionist institutions, so it was very pluralistic and it was also very eclectic and diverse and it encourages the same from the student body. So that’s something that I really enjoyed at Hebrew College.
For Joslin, rabbinical school was not just about personal growth, but about finding where he could best serve, whether in the nonprofit sector, day schools, or Hillel on college campuses.
“I always kept an open mind and an open heart to be a congregational rabbi, a pulpit rabbi,” he said.
“I had hoped that I would end up in a small town, a big city,” he said.
“I’m from the New England area and spend a lot of time in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I was just in Glens Falls the year before as a student rabbi.
“For me, staying in upstate New England, upstate New York, was truly a blessing in so many ways.”