Rabbi Roberts now senior rabbi at NSTE

November 29, 2018 by Leanne Shelton
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Rabbi Nicole Roberts has been installed as Senior Rabbi of Sydney’s North Shore Temple Emanuel (NSTE), becoming the first female Senior Rabbi in Australia.

Rabbi Nicole Roberts

Celebrating the appointment made in March 2017, the ceremony was officiated by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD,  mentor of Rabbi Roberts and prolific author, long-time seminary professor, and leading visionary of the Progressive Jewish Movement.

Rabbi Hoffman spoke of his close association with Rabbi Nicole ever since her student days.

“I have been teaching rabbis for almost half a century and have rarely met anyone so utterly and thoroughly good; so deep and warm, learned and kind. What an asset she will be to the Sydney community.”

Addresses were given by the Mayor of Willoughby Gail Giles-Gidney, Rabbi Fred Morgan AM – Movement Rabbi for the Union of Progressive Judaism, and Gwen Harrison – President of NSTE. A letter from Rabbi Nicole’s family in America was read by her partner, David Roberts. There was not a dry eye in the sanctuary.

Jess Harrison, Federal Mazkirah (Chair) of Netzer Australia, the Progressive movement’s youth group, shared her experience going back to her school days. “We look up to you [Rabbi Nicole], but you look straight across at us, seeing us as partners, as equals in this community…it’s incredibly refreshing, inspiring, and empowering.”

The installation was attended by around 350 people and live-streamed so Rabbi Roberts’ family and friends in the USA could witness the occasion. NSTE was honoured by the presence of the speakers above, as well as Rabbi Emeritus Richard Lampert, Rabbi Gary Robuck who led the congregation prior to Rabbi Roberts’ 2017 appointment, Rabbi Brian Fox, the clergy of Emanuel Synagogue in Woollahra, and dignitaries the Hon. Paul Fletcher, MP, Councillor and Deputy Mayor of Willoughby Judith Rutherford, Councillor Wendy Norton, Nishan Basmajian-Diocese Executive Director of the Armenian Church, Justice Stephen Rothman AM – President of the Great Synagogue, Stephen Chipkin-President of the JCA, Lynda Ben-Menashe of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, and Renata Ieremias of Jewish Care. Musical contributions by NSTE Interim Cantor Ted Labow and the NSTE Choir directed by Judy Campbell helped make for an unforgettable ceremony.

“This was a historic day not only for our synagogue but for the Jewish community and Australia,” says Rabbi Roberts. “With many in America watching the live-stream and Rabbi Hoffman with us from overseas, NSTE has entered the world stage.”

In her address, Rabbi Roberts spoke about moments of awe, and “making moments matter.”  Reflecting later on the ceremony, she said, “The warmth and optimism in the sanctuary were evident and abundant. There was so much love in the room. To have a modern-day ‘sage’ and visionary, Rabbi Hoffman, officiating the ceremony was one of the greatest honours of my life, and a gift to our congregation that will be remembered for decades to come. We are all still basking in the excitement of the day.”


One Response to “Rabbi Roberts now senior rabbi at NSTE”
  1. Bob Woolf says:

    9025 Sawyer Brown Rd
    Nashville, TN 37221

    As a long-time friend of Rabbi Roberts since her early days in Nashville, we are filled with abundant pride and a bit of jealousy. We are thrilled for Nicole and such recognition is an affirmation of the quality of her character and the depth of her soul. We pray she will serve her congregation and country with honor and with the history of Jewish values. Bless Rabbi Roberts.

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