New spiritual head at the NSTE
Following the results of an ambitious community research project at Sydney’s North Shore Temple Emanuel (NSTE), the Board of Directors announced its unanimous decision to appoint Rabbi Nicole Roberts as its Senior Rabbi.
Rabbi Roberts becomes the first woman to become the spiritual leader of a synagogue congregation in NSW.
“Having completed an extensive study examining the needs and wants of our community, including what we seek from our spiritual leadership team, it became abundantly clear to the board that what we were looking for was right in front of us,” said NSTE President, Mark Ginsburg.
The study that Mr Ginsburg was referring to is the NSTE Community Conversations research involving personal interviews and group conversations with around 180.
Mr Ginsburg announced that a search will be conducted to find a support for Rabbi Nicole (as she is affectionately known by the congregation). “NSTE is a very vibrant congregation with many lifecycle events and communal activities.” said, Mr Ginsburg, “We have another 25 B’nei Mitzvah between now and the end of the year alone!”
Rabbi Nicole was delighted when the board approached her to step up to the role of Senior Rabbi. “The NSTE family has embraced me and my husband, David, from the moment we arrived from America in 2012, and we were instantly enchanted by the warmth and vibrancy of the community. From the start, it has felt like such a good fit. NSTE quickly became our ‘2nd family,’ and I am committed to ensuring that our members feel the same way. When they come to NSTE, I want them to feel they are coming ‘home.’”
Rabbi Nicole Roberts joined NSTE shortly after her June 2012 ordination from the Hebrew Union College (HUC). Her academic accomplishments at HUC included awards for Midrash and highest class standing, and she was one of only five in her class to receive the Tisch Rabbinical Fellowship, led by Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman. She completed 800 hours of Clinical Pastoral Education (chaplaincy training) at two hospitals, and served as rabbinic intern for two congregations roughly the size of NSTE.
Prior to rabbinical school, Rabbi Nicole had a nine year career as a CPA, and served as Vice President of her synagogue.
Since relocating to Australia with David, Rabbi Nicole has not only enhanced life at NSTE through innovative outreach efforts, her highly regarded Community Wellbeing initiative, and popular young family programs, but has also contributed to Progressive Jewish life more broadly as Treasurer of the Moetzah, the Council of Progressive Rabbis of Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Her writing has been published in the popular book series, Prayers of Awe, as well as the American CCAR Journal (“Reform Jewish Quarterly”) and commentaries of Jewish Women International (JWI), on whose Clergy Task Force she serves.
The Senior Rabbi, Emanuel Synagogue Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins said: “Ever since I met Rabbi Roberts I have been thoroughly impressed by her intelligence, her poise, manner of communication, clarity and calm and absolute reliability and steadfastness. She is a fabulous colleague and a wonderful rabbi. I am thrilled to hear of her appointment as Senior Rabbi of NSTE.
All of us at Emanuel Synagogue celebrate this appointment and look forward to working with her.”
Rabbi Mark Washofsky, Professor of Jewish Law and Practice, Hebrew Union College, added: “During her years at HUC-JIR, Nicole Roberts distinguished herself through her piercing intellect, her love of learning, and her beautiful neshama. You’re a very fortunate community, North Shore Temple Emanuel, to have her as your senior rabbi.”