Rabbi Josh Leighton
Rabbi Josh Leighton joined the Jewish Congregation of Kinnelon family in July of 2012. Rabbi Josh was drawn to the JCK community because of the intimate, welcoming, and informal character of our congregation. At the heart of his rabbinate lies one common theme: forming personal relationships to build an authentic Jewish community. Rabbi Josh truly cherishes the opportunity to work with our congregants of all ages, guiding them on their Jewish journeys as they develop confidence in their Jewish knowledge and identities and planting the seeds for a better future. Rabbi Josh has brought his creativity, sense of humor, enthusiasm, and playful yet sincere nature to the JCK and to all of our services and programs.
Rabbi Josh grew up in nearby Rockland County, New York and graduated from the University of Rochester with a Bachelor’s degree in Religion. Immediately following graduation Rabbi Josh began his studies at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, receiving his Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters in 2010, and Rabbinic ordination in 2011.
Prior to joining the JCK, Rabbi Josh taught in various religious schools and youth programs. He has worked at URJ Crane Lake Camp as a Unit Head in 2005 and Assistant Limud (education) Director in 2008 along with serving on faculty in 2011. Rabbi Josh has also served student congregations in Natchez, MS, Sioux Falls, SD, Pine Bluff, AR, and as a visiting rabbi in Williamsport PA. Rabbi Josh also served as the Assistant Rabbi at Temple Emeth in Teaneck from 2012-2014.
In addition to his roles at the JCK, Rabbi Josh serves as the Youth Engagement Coordinator at Temple Har Shalom in Warren, NJ, is an active member of the New Jersey-West Hudson Valley Association of Reform Rabbis, serves on faculty at URJ Camp Harlam during the summer, and is part of the NFTY-GER clergy team.
Rabbi Josh lives in Westfield, NJ with his wife, Rabbi Sarah Smiley. He can be reached via email at:RabbiLeighton@gmail.com