Rabbi Ari Oliszewski arrives at Temple Emanuel

January 19, 2023

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With his four-year-old daughter Lea nestled on one side and his two-year-old son Ben snuggling the other, Rabbi Ari Oliszewski leans back in his office chair and smiles. A smile is a simple thing, but to Rabbi Ari, it’s everything. His smile is how he introduced himself to Temple Emanuel—smiling was the subject of his first Shabbat sermon, and it’s how he lives his life—wrapping his calling into his intentions.

“It’s not my job, being a rabbi. I live as a rabbi,” says Rabbi Oliszewski. Everything he does, he does as a rabbi.

Oliszewski was ordained in 2008 in Israel and at the Seminario Rabinico Latino Americano. He has 14 years of experience as a rabbi in Brazil, and before that, he served as an apprentice in Buenos Aires.

As one gets to know Rabbi Ari, it is quickly apparent that although his knowledge of Judaism is vast and broad, he’s also truly a people person. “I like to be with the people,” he says. “I want to help people in everything I can—to be their friend.”

Rabbi Ari learns details about each congregant he meets, remembering those details for the next conversation.

His positive outlook, playful nature, and imagination is part of what made Temple Emmanuel fall in love with him over Zoom almost two years ago. At that point, the committee had searched for the perfect fit for almost a year, and finally came upon a connection through Nashville Rabbi Josh Kullock, who was also from Argentina. Rabbi Ari’s joyous spirit and energy sparkled—even through Zoom.

Once hired, the visa paperwork was submitted. And then, Temple Emanuel waited. And waited. And waited. And now, finally, more than one year later, Rabbi Ari and his family have arrived.

It was a big move and a long trip, but Rabbi Ari, his wife Pati, and their kids are excited to finally be here. Plus, they are delighted that Ben and Lea are attending Strelitz International Academy.

“I want to offer service and knowledge to the community,” he says. This was already evident in his High Holiday programming, which included kid-centric songs and activities in the Sukkah, an interactive celebratory Simchat Torah service, and thought-provoking sermons on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rabbi Ari knows that his job is far reaching and important, but along with prayer and tradition, he welcomes fun, community, and celebration.

Wondering what’s coming next for Temple Emanuel? “I want to offer the things that the Jewish people are looking for,” Rabbi Ari says. “Everything from beach events to cooking classes to studying Talmud—the limit is the heavens.”

Join Rabbi Ari and Temple Emmanuel for Shabbat on Friday evenings at 6 pm and Saturdays at 10 am. Shabbat morning services on Saturday, Jan. 28 will be followed by a special community Kiddush.

-Sarah Davis



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