New Rabbi for Sydney’s NSTE

November 19, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Sydney’s North Shore Temple Emanuel (NSTE) has announced the appointment of Rabbi Nicole Roberts from Nashville, Tennessee.

Rabbi Nicole Roberts

Raised in Manhattan,  she and her husband David have lived in Tennesee for many years.  Rabbi Roberts recently completed her Master’s degree and was ordained at Hebrew Union College (HUC) in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Sydney will be her first post as a rabbi, although she served as a rabbinic intern at several synagogues, including Congregation Micah in Nashville and Temple Micah in Washington DC.

At NSTE, Rabbi Roberts will work alongside Rabbi Gary Robuck. She was in Australia over the High Holy Days, where she was involved in services and the local NSTE community, and returned to America to finalise her move to Sydney before officially taking up her position in November. At NSTE, Rabbi Roberts will be working with young adults and young families alongside her other rabbinic duties.

Susan Kadar, President of NSTE, said “I am thrilled that with Rabbi Nicole we have found a perfect fit for our congregation.  She brings to us an outstanding commitment to Progressive Judaism, scholarship and Bimah skills as well as a warm and friendly personality that helps her to reach out to and establish relationships with young and old and everyone in between.”

Rabbi Roberts is looking forward to building community and to “being immersed in what I love – Jewish living and learning, in a warm and loving congregational family.”

Her ideas on building community were developed during her three years as a participant in the Tisch Rabbinical Fellowship, run by Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman. The fellowship focused on inspiring students to be deeply reflective rabbis, who lead from the heart and who think constantly and creatively about what Jewish life could look like in the 21st century.

Rabbi Gary Robuck said “Rabbi Roberts has impressed me as a person of considerable depth of intellect and a passion for Torah. She is a kind person who will quickly make a profound mark on the congregation and the wider Jewish community.”

Rabbi Roberts began rabbinic studies in 2007, with her first year spent studying in Jerusalem at Hebrew Union College (HUC), then four years at HUC in Cincinnati. She was ordained in June this year.

Prior to rabbinic studies, Rabbi Roberts was a Certified Public Accountant, specialising in tax, for nine years. Her husband of 14 years, David, is also a former accountant, who later turned real estate agent.

Asked why a successful accountant decided to study to become a rabbi, Rabbi Roberts explained that although Nashville had a Jewish population of 10,000, it lacked activities for young Jewish adults. Nicole and David set about building an active Jewish community for Jewish couples and singles aged 21-40 from every stream of Judaism, including many unaffiliated Jews.

This communal activity led to a yearning to learn more about what Judaism had to offer intellectually and spiritually, so Nicole and David joined Congregation Micah. It was there that Nicole came across two very inspirational rabbis, one of whom was young and female, who Nicole strongly identified with and saw as a role model. At age 35, Nicole embarked on her rabbinic journey.

In her spare time, Rabbi Roberts likes to play guitar, practice yoga, go hiking, and ride horses.

One the biggest and most immediate challenges facing Rabbi Roberts is learning to drive on the left-hand side of the road. But after five years of grueling and intensive rabbinic study, that should be easy.


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