3/6 Heritage Shabbat Evening Service at Keneseth Israel at 8:00PM. Honoring Rita Poley
Rita Rosen Poley, B.S., M. Ed. Director and Curator of the Temple Judea Museum (TJM) since 1999, is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art and also studied at Gratz College, graduating with a degree from the I.M. Wise Department.
Since 1999 Rita has curated over 70 original exhibitions for TJM. In addition, in 2006 she formed the TJM Artists’ Collaborative to promote the artistic presence of KI member artists. Through programming, solo and group exhibitions and seminars, the TJM/KI community has benefited from the vitality, vision and generosity of spirit of these talented people. Member artists consult, curate exhibitions, research the collection, and exhibit their own work as well as network to bring other artists into the world of TJM.
In 2016, a team, consisting of KI preschool director, Liz Sussman, TJM artist, Marlene Adler, and Rita, created the Arts Alive Gallery specially for KI preschool children. It is an accessible, multi-cultural forum for professional artists to “speak” directly to young children. Gallery activities and assets consist of unique permanent collections, rotating exhibitions, gallery talks specially geared towards young audiences, art projects led by exhibiting artists and family receptions.
Rita’s other responsibilities include working with a large group of dedicated volunteers to oversee and care for the museum’s 5,000 plus, permanent collection of precious Judaic objects. Accomplishments of these volunteers include transferring all the collection’s paper records to a searchable database. In addition, currently over 1,000 objects can be found online at: Temple Judea Museum Online Collections. Under Rita’s guidance volunteers have also added the history of our Holocaust Memorial Torah Scrolls to the KI webpage. Another volunteer project currently underway will add an index to the entire archives of the project history of KI’s “Prophetic Quest” stained glass windows, by artist Jacob Landau, to the KI webpage.
During Rita’s tenure three new collections have been added to the TJM “world”. They are Photographs; The Silver Family WWII Home-Front; and Music Memorabilia which includes over 1,000 recordings, CDs and tapes.
Working closely with KI executive director Brian Rissinger and Rabbi Lance J. Sussman, Rita was able to transform a space in the Fineshriber Lobby into a display showcase for rotating exhibition’s of the museum’s beautiful and important traditional Judaica collection.
As part of her mandate to display art work throughout the building, Rita is particularly excited about a new project, currently in development, that will see the restoration and display of TJM’s large collection of 19th century, European hanging Shabbat lamps installed in the Neumann Chapel.
Her large and supportive family includes KI members: Nomi, Aleister, Lev, Atara and Eden Saunders; the Poley family and the Altman family.