Installation of Australia’s first female senior rabbi

November 13, 2018 by Leanne Shelton
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Sydney’s North Shore Temple Emanuel’s Rabbi Nicole Roberts will become the first woman in Australia to be installed as senior rabbi.

Rabbi Nicole Roberts

The installation ceremony on November 25 will honour and celebrate the March 2017 appointment of Rabbi Roberts as NSTE’s Senior Rabbi and will be officiated by Rabbi Lawrence A.Hoffman PhD from the U.S.A. Others participating in the ceremony include NSTE’s Rabbi Emeritus Richard Lampert, Rabbi Fred Morgan representing the Union for Progressive Judaism, Rabbi Gary Robuck who led the congregation from 2004 -2016, and Mayor of Willoughby City Council, Gail Giles-Gidney. In true NSTE style, the ceremony will feature musical contributions by the NSTE Choir, as well as Interim Cantor Ted Labow.

Having served the NSTE community for six years, Rabbi Roberts has been particularly instrumental in the development of a strong Pastoral Care ‘Community Wellbeing’program, enhanced engagement among young families, and increased Shule participation of post-B’nei Mitzvah students through her innovative Teen Torah Tag Team.

While Rabbi Roberts has held the position of Senior Rabbi for almost two years, NSTE President, Gwen Harrison, says the timing of the installation was carefully selected.

She said: “The installation of Rabbi Roberts comes just prior to the completion of a major capital works program at NSTE, which includes the opening of a second sanctuary, a community hub, redevelopment of the community’s Apples and Honey Pre-School, a youth lounge, and a new office space. Together with Rabbi Nicole’s leadership, we’re excited about these changes to our community and look forward to a robust future for NSTE.”

Rabbi Nicole Roberts commented: “Ever since my husband David and I arrived at NSTE, we knew we’d found a place where magic happens. The community embraced us with warmth and enthusiasm from the very start, quickly becoming a second family to us, as it has to so many others throughout its history. I am grateful for the opportunity to love and lead our Temple family into the future.”

Rabbi Hoffman’s attendance is particularly significant to Rabbi Roberts, as he was one of her most influential mentors during rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and through the Tisch Rabbinical Fellowship, she was awarded there. Rabbi Roberts has also been published in two volumes of RabbiHoffman’s Prayers of Awe book series. Opportunities for book signings will follow the installation ceremony.

“Rabbi Hoffman is one of the great visionaries and sages of our movement,” says Roberts. “He is a true ‘rabbis’ rabbi,’ who challenges us to think outside the box about what synagogue should look like in the 21st century. He inspires us to read widely, think deeply, lead thoughtfully, and build creatively. I am thrilled our congregation will have the opportunity to be inspired by him, as I have been. It will be a privilege to welcome him to Australia!”

In addition to his installation address at NSTE, Rabbi Hoffman is the keynote speaker at the UPJ Biennial conference in Melbourne the week prior to the installation, and will also speak at the North Shore Temple Emanuel Shabbat morning service on 24 November.

Comments

One Response to “Installation of Australia’s first female senior rabbi”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    Well done Rabbi Roberts.

    Just a general comment – just about every story on J wire involves men only. Where are the women?

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