Plantation rabbi at ease in front of camera
Rabbi Pinchas Taylor was at ease in front of the camera as it recorded his lecture on "Dreams in the Jewish Tradition" during an adult education class at Chabad of Plantation. The 27-year-old rabbi's presentation was being taped for Torah Café, an Internet-based collection of video lectures, classes and presentations by Torah scholars and experts operated by the Chabad-Lubavitch's Rohr Jewish Learning Institute.
Videographer Mendy Bleier of North Miami Beach said he has recorded rabbis and Chabad contributors, including a doctor who rediscovered Judaism, but he was particularly impressed by Taylor's presence in front of the camera and his genuineness.
"He has a good pulse for the crowd. He knows where the people are and he connects with them," Bleier said about Taylor. "He's very alive. When you hear him speak, he's talking from inside. Every word has meaning. He's very sincere."
Bleier said Taylor is a "special rabbi" who is "very authentic, a true chasid; he means what he says and he lives by it."
Rabbi Mendy Posner, founding rabbi and executive director of Chabad of Plantation, said he has known Taylor since the young rabbi was a child growing up in Plantation. Taylor is a talented speaker who is very dedicated and works hard, Posner said, adding that he is thinking about taping Taylor's weekly Kabbalah classes and putting them on the Internet.
Posner gives credit to his wife Chani Posner for recognizing Taylor's love of Judaism and his poise in speaking when he was a student in her Sunday school class at the Chabad of Inverrary.
"He just had a love for Judaism in Sunday school," Chani Posner said, remembering Taylor as a six-year-old student. "He was the youngest. He was the sharpest," she said. Taylor was never shy about speaking in front of older students, she added. "He always had a natural talent to speak." That Taylor is comfortable in front of the camera doesn't surprise her, Chani Posner said.
Taylor said the Posners helped him become a rabbi, a goal since he was 13-years-old. He said he visited the Chabad of Plantation at its new building at 10165 Cleary Road almost a year ago and was hired to teach adult education classes.
A lot of adults take classes to experience Jewish spirituality but lose track of the spirituality, Taylor said. He said he takes Jewish approaches to topics that people are interested in.
"Judaism has a lot of spirituality to offer," Taylor said. "I address each subject from a Torah perspective. I think it's a matter of getting the word out. I think if people get a sample, they're going to want more."
Esther and Robert Richman of Plantation were at Taylor's presentation on dreams and regularly attend his Monday evening "Jewish Essentials" classes.
"He's fascinating and every week he gets better," Esther Richman said.