Sarah Smiley


It is with great joy we announce that Rabbi Sarah Smiley will be joining our congregation and our professional staff, beginning July 1.

Our search for our new rabbi began last December, when we submitted our application (and video) to the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). We were fortunate to have several rabbis in the field, as well as soon-to-be ordained rabbis express interest. Our Rabbinic Search Advisory Task Force (RSATF) developed a series of questions and activities to help us determine the best candidate for the congregation. And unanimously, the RSATF recommended that we ask Rabbi Smiley to join B’nai Jehudah.

Rabbi Smiley is an experienced rabbi. She has spent the last seven years serving Temple Emanu-El in Westfield, NJ as one of its rabbis. She is passionate about youth engagement and creative Jewish education for all ages. She has served on the NFTY GER clergy team, the URJ youth advisory council and has spent several summers on the faculty of URJ Camp Harlam. Rabbi Smiley looks forward to joining our congregation that shares her vision for inclusion and helping create a Jewish environment where everyone feels welcome. Prior to working at Temple Emanu-El, she was the Director of Religious Life at The Ohio State University Hillel. 

Rabbi Smiley is excited to be returning to the Midwest. She is originally from Columbus, Ohio, worked many summers at URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute and is a graduate of Indiana University. An early quest for Jewish knowledge eventually led Rabbi Smiley to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she was ordained in 2010. While a rabbinic student she received the Cora Kahn prize for best sermon delivery and oratory. 

Rabbi Smiley looks forward to continuing her love of sharing a message and teaching through sermon delivery and service leading. Rabbi Smiley is joined by her husband, Rabbi Josh Leighton, and their daughter, Eliana, as they begin this new adventure in Kansas together.


Join us in welcoming Rabbi Smiley. During the coming months, she and her family will be in to look for a place to live and to orient themselves to our wonderful city. If you see her, be sure to introduce yourself and help her discover what is so special about our congregation and community.