Rabbis and Staff

Rabbi Gary Robuck

Rabbi Gary has been responsible for initiating various projects at NSTE since his arrival in Australia, including Close Encounters of a Jewish Kind, an outreach to area schoolchildren, The Roz and Ron Sinclair Community Walk for Israel, and Rabbi Gary’s Totally Excellent Torah and Travel Camp. Alongside former youth educator Janet Granek, he has developed Kesher Lanoar, a new approach to post-b’mitzvah aged learning. He has worked on establishing educational pathways for NSTE members through the North Shore Night School and, in the summer following 2009, brought to life his vision of supplementary Jewish education for children and their families, known as Meah.

Rabbi Gary was born in Cleveland, Ohio and earned his undergraduate degree in Jewish Studies from Ohio State University. He was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1988. In 2013, Rabbi Gary will receive a Doctor of Divinity Degree from the HUC-JIR in recognition of 25 years in the rabbinate. 

In 1988 Rabbi Gary with his wife, Jocelyn, and son David, came to Australia where he served first as Assistant and then as Associate Rabbi until 1992, during which time his daughter Shoshana and son Aaron were born. While in Chatswood, Rabbi Gary reached out to interfaith couples through the Times and Seasons program (now, Yours, Mine and Ours, with Claire Jankelson) and assisted in the creation of Sasson v’ Simcha, a service for youth.

Rabbi Gary has been recognised for his deep commitment to Klal Yisrael and for his creative innovations in worship and programming. His work in the pulpit and classroom and his pastoral skills combine a love and respect of traditional Judaism with a forward-looking approach to Jewish life. He is involved locally on numerous boards and committees. 

As the rabbi of Congregation Shaarey Tikvah in Beachwood, Ohio (the congregation he left to come to Australia) Rabbi Gary was well-known for his lively and thought-provoking sermons. He has written guest editorials that have appeared in The Cleveland Jewish News, The Cleveland Plain Dealer and The Australian Jewish News. His first, book, Notes from the Rabbi’s Desk was published in June 2003.

Rabbi Gary was the founder of Face to Face, an award-winning Holocaust Education program, reaching out to non-Jewish teens and is Past President of the Greater Cleveland Board of Rabbis and former Chair of the Moetzah.

A pianist and vocalist, he and Jocelyn have frequently appeared on stage performing concerts for various charitable agencies. He has produced Harry!, a musical review of the life and music of Harry Chapin in cooperation with the Chapin Foundation of Huntington, New York and appeared in numerous area musical society productions.

Rabbi Gary and his family run “Pops” – a fun, ole’ fashioned popcorn cart that he brings to area organisations to raise money for charity.  On Shabbat and Festivals, Rabbi Gary serves as the congregation’s Shaliach Tzibbur (Cantorial Soloist) and principal Ba’al K’riah (Torah reader). 

Rabbi Nicole Roberts

Rabbi Nicole joined our congregation in November 2012.  Born in Manhattan, Rabbi Nicole moved to Nashville, Tennessee, at age 18 to attend Vanderbilt University, where she majored in Anthropology and studied foreign languages. 

She then earned a Master of Accountancy degree and worked as a CPA for 9 years.  During that time, she helped found and run a community-wide organization for “20s and 30s” called NJOY (Nashville Jewish Organization for Young-adults), joined a Reform synagogue named Congregation Micah and served on its Board of Trustees for three years and as treasurer on the inaugural Nashville community board of Vanderbilt University Hillel. She regularly attended the URJ Kallah (Adult Study Retreat), as well as regional and national Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) “Biennial” conventions.

Rabbi Nicole initiated a year-round food drive at Congregation Micah (and at other Jewish organizations in Nashville) called You Can Help, and created and led a year-long series of discussions for 20s and 30s called The Jacob Project, which won the URJ’s Belin Outreach Award in 2007. 

Falling in love with Jewish study, she took local classes in Talmud and Mishnah. In 2007, Rabbi Nicole began rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College (HUC).

During her time at HUC, Rabbi Nicole taught at the Cincinnati Reform Jewish High School, worked at Sabra Hebrew-Immersion Day Camp in Maryland, served as rabbinic intern at her home congregation in Nashville (approx. 500 families) and as a student rabbi of several smaller congregations, and completed two units (400 hours each) of Clinical Pastoral Education at hospitals in Cincinnati.

She also completed a 7-week internship at Temple Micah in Washington, D.C. as part of the Tisch Rabbinical Fellowship, a three-year fellowship awarded to only five students in every HUC class.  The Tisch Fellowship offers extra-curricular programming focused on developing rabbis who think constantly and creatively about what vibrant synagogue life could look like in the 21st century. Rabbi Nicole continues to attend Tisch Fellowship alumni retreats and programs. She was honored to receive three academic prizes during her years at HUC: two for achieving the highest academic standing in the class, and one prize for excellence in Midrash.

Since ordination, Rabbi Nicole has had articles and drashot published in the American CCAR Journal ("Reform Jewish Quarterly") and the Australian Jewish News, and will be contributing to Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman's upcoming volume in the popular book series "Prayers of Awe."  She recently completed study of her first tractate of Talmud (Ta'anit).  Her initiatives at NSTE have included the inaugural Mums' Retreat; The City Series for 20s and 30s; the Manna support group for members going through difficult transitions; the "Kaleidoscope" Contemplative Shabbat Service; "Get Real," Mitzvah Day, and Yom Kippur programs for teens; our annual Tots' Seder; Tea for Ten; Dessert-and-Discussion for Interfaith families; and more.

Rabbi Nicole serves as Treasurer of the Moetzah, the Council of Progressive Rabbis of Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.

Rabbi Nicole's non-work passions include hiking in the national parks, playing guitar, yoga, riding horses, and reading. Rabbi Nicole is married to David Roberts, whom she met while living in the International Dormitory (French Hall) at Vanderbilt University. David, also a former CPA (now personal trainer) continued to reside in Nashville, while Nicole was in school. The majority of Rabbi Nicole’s family lives near Washington, D.C.

Emeritus Rabbi Richard Lampert

After twenty six years as NSTE's Senior rabbi, Rabbi Lampert retired on 31 December, 2003.

Rabbi Lampert was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. After spending five years in a printing company, he studied at the University of Witwatersrand and the Leo Baeck Rabbinical College in London.

Before taking up the position in our congregation, Rabbi Lampert was the Rabbi of Temple Emanuel, Johannesburg for twelve years.  Rabbi Lampert arrived in Australia in 1977 with his wife, Diane, their two daughters, Sharon and Yael and his mother-in-law, Hilda Wohlgemuth who has since sadly passed away.

Under his leadership, the congregation grew from two hundred and seventy families to over seven hundred families. Rabbi Lampert is proud that the congregation is affiliated with the largest organisation of Jews in the world, the World Union for Progressive Judaism, which represents over two million Jews world-wide.

Rabbi Lampert and Diane are the proud grandparents of Zac, Jonah and Zoe.




Mark 'Zed' Zworestine - General Manager

In October 2014, Mark Zworestine joined NSTE as General Manager. In order to avoid confusion between our two “Marks”, he is known as Zed. In fact, his friends and family have been calling him that for many years now. Interestingly, Rabbi Nicole decided on another way to differentiate between the two Marks and Mark Ginsburg is now affectionately called 1.0 by Rabbi, and Zed is called 2.0. Collectively Rabbi refers to the two of them as the Markaim.

Zed first did some work for NSTE back in 2012. At that time he undertook a major spring clean of the accounting system and processes and redesigned the monthly management reporting formats to make them more meaningful and relevant. Since that time, and up until he joined in October 2014 as a permanent member of staff,  Zed made himself available on a pro bono basis to provide counsel and help to our board and staff.

Zed arrived in Australia in 1982. He originally hails from Zimbabwe. In 1973, he went to university in Cape Town and completed a Bachelor of Commerce and a postgraduate Certificate in the Theory of Accountancy, a prerequisite to becoming a Chartered Accountant. After completing university, he worked for an accounting firm that became Arthur Andersen in South Africa and qualified as a Chartered Accountant. Prior to migrating to Australia, he took a belated gap year and travelled through Europe, Israel and Egypt, arriving in Sydney in April 1982 with a suitcase, camera and guitar.

In 1984 he became an Australian Chartered Accountant and since that time, has had many years of experience both in the accounting profession (with Coopers & Lybrand for five years) as well as in the commercial world. He has been a Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary in private companies as well as ASX listed companies as well as CEO of a small ASX listed telecommunications company that he successfully restructured. Prior to joining NSTE, Zed was the General Manager Finance and Technology and Company Secretary of a large not for profit industry association.

Zed brings with him a wealth of strategic, operational, financial and governance experience and works closely with the Board on all matters of strategy, governance and long-term sustainability. He also does photography professionally (he says to maintain his sanity) and volunteers a great deal of his time to photograph NSTE events outside of working hours as well as doing pro bono photography for a number of other not for profit organisations and charities.

Zed is married to Bernice and has two children, Jaime and Dean who currently attend Masada College.

His background is Orthodox and he is a member of Kehillat Masada Synagogue in St Ives. He is also a member of NSTE.


Judy Campbell – Music Director

Judy has been Music Director at NSTE since June 1999, providing direction to the volunteer choir, youth choir, vocal quartet ZIMRA and a range of professional musicians who are involved in services, concerts and other projects from time to time. Prior to that, she sang in the NSTE volunteer choir for over 12 years. Over the past decade, she has directed the choir on 3 CD releases:

  • “A Chanukah Cantata” by Shelley Olson (2000)
  • “A Hallel for Our Times” also by Shelley Olson (2003)
  • “Celebration”, Jubilee CD release (2009)

In her secular music life, Judy is a professional vocalist, composer, arranger and producer. She has led and written for a number of bands and vocal groups over a long period of time, and has toured extensively in Australia and South Africa with her world jazz group MOSAIC, who have three CD releases to their name.

Judy studied arranging at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and later taught sight-singing courses there. She has collaborated with other composers as an arranger and lyricist, and sings in the acclaimed Sydney chamber choir Bel  a cappella.

In 2007, Judy launched Jewish Arts, a multi-artform initiative aimed at fostering Jewish continuity through active engagement with the arts. Now an incorporated association, Jewish Arts has presented and/or supported quite a number of events and continues to explore ways in which to realise its aims.

In 2012, Judy received the President's Award from the Union for Progressive Judaism "in recognition of her exemplary leadership, outstanding service, devotion and commitment to the promotion and development of Progressive Judaism."

The philosophy underlying all her work is one of promoting harmony and understanding between people through shared experience of the arts. To this end, Judy actively pursues musical and cross-artform collaborations across genres, different media, cultures and religions.

Barbara Holmes – Membership Coordinator

Barbara’s role is primarily to promote the value and benefits of NSTE membership to the Jewish community within Sydney's North Shore and beyond, and to encourage Jews who are looking for a spiritual home within a progressive Jewish community to become members of NSTE.

She also initiates a number of functions and activities for new members including the delivery of “Welcome Packages” for new congregants. Barbara undertakes this role on a part-time basis.

In her professional capacity as a business consultant, she is the Director of her own company Managing Work|Life Balance International which for the last 20 years has lead the way in promoting work/life balance within Australian and Asian top 100 businesses. Her professional management experience, coaching and people management skills are all put to good use in her role at NSTE.

Barbara has been a member of the North Shore Temple Emanuel for over 25 years. She has worked as a volunteer on numerous projects, including the early development of Chavurah Groups, catering for many, many functions and initiating some of the groups and workshops specifically for women. Most recently, she project managed the development and implementation of NSTE's new web site.

Originally from the UK, Barbara settled in Sydney 33 years ago. On becoming an Australian citizen, she switched her allegiances and is now a keen supporter of the Australian Cricket Team and a certified cricket tragic. Any other spare time is spent with close friends sampling many of the wonderful foods available to us here in Australia.

Pauline Lazarus – Program and Administration Manager

Pauline is currently the the Program and Administration Manager having worked at for over 10 years working at NSTE. She is responsible for the general running of functions and events at NSTE. In addition, she continues to serve as Personal Assistant to Rabbi Robuck and Rabbi Roberts

Pauline coordinates lifecycle events and the hire of VJs and the Max Joseph Hall.

She migrated to Australia from England at the end of 2000, along with her husband Nigel and her two sons, Josh and Reuben. Both boys have celebrated their bar mitzvahs at NSTE and are actively involved with Kesher Lanoar and Netzer. She is a regular member of the NSTE choir and was part of the ensemble for the Jubilee production of "Children of Eden."




Leanne Shelton - Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Leanne started working at NSTE in March 2015 and is in charge of the overall marketing and communications strategies. 

Her responsibilities include the weekly e-Hatikvah newsletter, Hatikvah Post, marketing brochures and flyers, website updates, as well as the Facebook page. 

To complement her degree in Creative Writing, Leanne has over 14 years’ journalistic experience and has spent the past five years working in the marketing communications sphere. She established her content marketing business, Write Time Marketing, in September 2014 and provides copywriting, editing, blogging, e-newsletter, and social media assistance to fellow small businesses and community organisations.

Leanne has a passion for volunteering and was recently the Community Day Manager for the 2016 Maccabi Junior Sports Carnival in Sydney. The role involved sourcing over 500 voluntary or community-orientated places for 12-16 year olds. She also took on the task in 2013, which resulted in a very successful event.

Over the years, Leanne has also dabbled in public relations, events, and online sales (and was even a supermarket check-out chick in a past life!). 

Outside of the office, Leanne is happily married to her supportive husband, Justin, and together they have a gorgeous toddler, Gabrielle - and another on the way!


Ilana Ackstein - Hebrew School Administrator

Ilana joined NSTE staff as the Hebrew & Religion School Administrator. Her responsibilities include the development and implementation of new programs for Jewish and Hebrew studies as well as its day-to-day administration.

She also coordinates school activities and assists in the delivery of quality Jewish education for all children in the North Shore area, members and non-members alike.

Ilana has degrees in Psychoanalysis and Marketing. She worked for 15 years in the clinical area seeing patients. Ilana also leads her own Beads company for 15 years and has substantial experience in leadership, people management and business administration.

Ilana arrived in Australia in 2009 from Brazil and almost immediately connected to NSTE, a community which welcomed her and her family in such a warm way.


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