Rabbi Nicole Roberts '12

North Shore Temple Emanuel, Chatswood, Australia

Nicole Roberts

What is your mission as the rabbi of your congregation in Australia?
My mission is to serve the portion of the Sydney Jewish community that identifies as Progressive, through lifecycle ritual, pastoral care, worship, education, community building, and social justice initiatives, and to instill pride and a sense of authenticity among Jews who identify as Progressive in a country where our movement exists among a predominantly Orthodox Jewish landscape.

How does your work strengthen the Jewish community in Australia?
As our Reform movement has always done everywhere since inception, we have strengthened Jewish community by keeping “in the fold” those Jews who find neither orthodoxy nor secularism a compelling expression of their Jewish soul.

How did your education at HUC-JIR prepare you for your career?
My HUC-JIR education has prepared me through its excellent pastoral care program, practical rabbinical classes, and by teaching me how to teach myself Jewish texts and sources, such as midrash, Talmud, Mishnah, Bible and medieval commentary, and Reform Responsa.

What impact are you having in advancing Jewish identity and engagement?
Identity: I was appointed the first woman senior rabbi in Australia, which I hope not only paves the way for others, but also helps our youth of all genders take great pride in our movement and see their potential for Jewish expression as unbound. Engagement: I instituted our congregation’s Community Wellbeing program which takes a uniquely pro-active, organised, and meticulous approach to relationship building and caring for one another as a community.

Describe HUC-JIR in one word: Genesis (Beresheet)