North Shore Temple Emanuel
a Progressive Jewish Congregation
Following our AGM last Sunday night, it is my honour to be the new President of North Shore Temple Emanuel. I feel privileged to follow in the footsteps of so many remarkable people and continue this great work.
As many of you are aware, I have served on the NSTE Board since 2015, taking on the role of Vice President from October 2016. My responsibilities have included governance, assisting with strategic planning, Board guidance for the Community Wellbeing Program, member of the NSTE Programming Committee (NPC), member of the Transition Team and facilitator for Community Conversations, Education portfolio and Board member responsible for our NSTE Meah Hebrew & Religion School.
I am pleased to report that the new Executive is comprised of:
President: Gwen Harrison
Vice Presidents: Geoffrey Wolf and Edward Baral
Secretary/Treasurer: Barry Gottheiner
Mark Ginsburg will continue to support the Board in the capacity of Immediate Past President and retains his role as Chair of our Building Our Future project.
Ruth-Anne Cohn has moved into a Director position after 3 years in the role of Vice President. We are grateful to Ruth-Anne for continuing on the Board. Her contribution has been enormous and she continues to support us in the areas of human resources, recruitment and Board liaison for the Boomers groups.
I am also pleased to welcome two new Directors - Julia Selby and Jennifer Ruskin. Julia has been a member of NSTE for many years and is currently Chair of our Jews for Social Action (JSA). Jen, who is a lecturer in PACE (Professional and Community Engagement) at Macquarie University, as well as a Meah parent, brings a new set of capabilities to the Board.
For more information on Board members, click here
David Levy has stepped down after 5 years of service including in the role of Vice President in 2015/2016. He was the NSTE Board representative for the NSTE (Martin and Emma Hannes) Pre-School (now known as the Apples & Honey Pre-School) for 3 years and has been closely involved with all matters relating to our worship services. He continues his volunteer involvement as a chorister, lay leader in the capacity of shaliach tzibur, and head of the committee for introduction of the new UPJ machzor. We thank David for his mentoring and wise counsel and look forward to his continued involvement at NSTE.
This is an exciting time for NSTE, with so much in place to support the vision that Rabbi Nicole has established with our Board of Directors and your input to our Community Conversations. It is my intention to continue to strengthen what we do well and bring in the new initiatives that are critical to our future.
President, North Shore Temple Emanuel
North Shore Temple Emanuel recently held its 58th Annual General Meeting and was honoured to have Dave Sharma, Director and Principal at Kelly+Partners and former Australian Ambassador to Israel as guest speaker on the evening.
Mr Sharma served as Australia’s Ambassador to Israel from 2013 to 2017. This period coincided with some of the busiest and most productive years for the Australia-Israel relationship, with trade, investment and innovation ties strengthened significantly. Dave's leadership kept the Embassy secure and operational during several periods of significant security unrest and tension, including the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.
At the AGM, Mt Sharma delighted members with stories of his personal experiences of arriving in Israel with his young family including a newborn of just 5 weeks old and how his family quickly adapted to Israeli life. He also shared his opinions, and insights regarding the current state of play in the Middle East and recent events on the border with Gaza.
Mr Sharma observed that the symbiotic relationship between Israel and the diaspora was like no other that he had observed and impressed upon the audience the importance of being vocal supporters of Israel.
The members gathered were listening so intently that Mr Sharma jokingly concluded that he was a little unnerved as in Israel he had never presented to an audience that were so quiet and attentive.
The NSTE AGM also saw the emotional farewell of outgoing President Mark Ginsburg and the election of Gwen Harrison to the role. Gwen later observed, "It is my honour to be the new President of North Shore Temple Emanuel. I feel privileged to follow in the footsteps of so many remarkable people and continue this great work."
Members of North Shore Temple Emanuel (NSTE) made history recently, as the congregation celebrated its inaugural “Pride Shabbat” service on Friday 25 May.
The date was chosen by its proximity to Sydney’s Pride Festival which celebrates LGBTI art, cinema, and events, however, as pointed out in Senior Rabbi Nicole Roberts’ welcoming words, it was also opening night of Vivid, “when a rainbow of colours annually lights up the Sydney sky and cityscape. What better time for a celebration of diversity and inclusion!"
Rabbi Roberts continued, "A few years ago, Vivid first came to Chatswood. Tonight, Chatswood welcomes Pride Shabbat.”
Organised by members of NSTE’s Inclusion and Diversity Task Force, including NSTE staff members Dave ‘Dudu’ Gottlib and Sarona Perez, the evening began with Kabbalat Shabbat led by Rabbi Roberts and Cantor Ted Labow on guitar. Special guest speaker, Dayenu (Sydney's Jewish LGBTI group) President, Kim Gotlieb, delivered the d’rash, just before Rabbi Nicole invited all newcomers to the shul to ascend the bimah for Aleinu.
After the service, everyone joined in a delightful wine and cheese gathering, lingering awhile to chat and meet new people.
“Our closing song was Ani V’atah (“You and I”) which has lyrics that speak of changing the world, one by one,” says Rabbi Roberts. “One person at a time, one partnership at a time, one service at a time, we will draw people in from the margins of Jewish life and help them feel they are an integral part of our community.”
Embracing diversity was a prominent theme in Mr Gotlieb’s address, as well. He said “It is fitting on this inaugural Pride Shabbat that our Torah portion concludes with a beautiful ritual in which each of the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel brings an offering for the inauguration of the altar. While their gifts are identical, they are brought on different days and each one is individually described. For me, this calls on us to be very mindful of our individuality and uniqueness, while also realising that at our core…we are all identical in the eyes of God.”
NSTE’s first annual “Pride Shabbat” service is part of the work of the NSTE Inclusion and Diversity Task Force, which seeks ways to make our community more accessible and inclusive.
“It was really lovely to see and meet new smiling faces at shul,” says Immediate Past President, Mark Ginsburg. “Seeing everyone up on the bimah during Aleinu was heart-warming."
"As a Director of NSTE, it was my absolute honour to participate in NSTE’s First Pride Shabbat on 25 May 2018," adds Ruth-Anne Cohn. "This opportunity to worship and socialise together quickly transformed into a Shabbat evening filled with respect, support, warmth and joy. May this be only the first of many such opportunities."
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We are delighted to share that Eliza McCarroll will be returning to North Shore Temple Emanuel (NSTE) in the capacity of Rabbinic Intern in June 2018 for approximately five weeks. Eliza would have just completed her first year of rabbinic studies at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Jerusalem, Israel, and will serve as NSTE’s first Rabbinic Intern.
As Rabbinic Intern, Eliza will be afforded the opportunity to put into practice her rich learnings of the past year, while participating in a wide variety of NSTE activities and offerings. She will join in service leading and leyning, teaching adults and children, developing youth programs, supporting our b’nei mitzvah program, and contributing to other special projects.
Prior to entering rabbinical school, Eliza was a familiar face around NSTE, having worked as part of our Office Team, tutoring our b’nei mitzvah students, and playing a leading role in Netzer spanning many years. Likewise, Eliza’s family are long-standing members and active contributors to our congregation and movement, with her mother, Karen Wagner, having recently served on our Board of Directors and her brother, Joel McCarroll, having served Netzer at a local and federal level.
We are thrilled to welcome Eliza back to Sydney during her break, before she moves to America to continue her studies at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is a rare and exciting privilege for a congregation to help support and shape a student’s rabbinic journey, especially a student beloved by so many in our community, as Eliza is. Please join us in welcoming Eliza back to NSTE at this exciting time.
Rabbi Nicole Roberts Mark Ginsburg
Senior Rabbi President
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Read Rabbi Nicole’s response in J-Wire to a recent article by Professor Bill Rubinstein.
It's the season of FREEDOM in the Jewish calendar! With joy and satisfaction, our NSTE community celebrates the new freedom granted LGBTI couples in love. Contact us when you're ready to tie the knot! We are pleased to share with you the statement from the Progressive movement's rabbis released today:
"The rabbis of The Rabbinic Council of the Union for Progressive Judaism, Moetzet HaRabbanim, are pleased to learn that the Australian Government has heard the voice of the significant majority of the Australian people and has formally legalised marriage equality. We are equally satisfied that the legislation passed without amendments which could have introduced new opportunities for discrimination in Australia. We look forward to sanctifying the marriages of our community with equality."
The Council of Progressive Rabbis of Australia, along with the Council of Masorti Rabbis of Australia, rejoice that the plebiscite has endorsed marriage equality to be part of Australian law. We urge the Parliament to adopt legislation as soon as possible to implement the will of the Australian people for marriage equality, without undermining current anti-discrimination law.
The NSTE Board of Directors is delighted to announce the appointment of Lynne Michel to the position of Temple Administrator. Effective 20 November 2017, Lynne will assume the position on a permanent part-time basis, reporting to the President.
To this position, Lynne brings over 15 years' experience in a similar capacity, gained from her role as Office Administrator and Bookkeeper at Kehillat Masada Synagogue. In this role, Lynne was responsible for the administrative and bookkeeping functions, accounting and compliance management, liaison with the Synagogue and Board of Management, new member marketing initiatives, and community liaison. To her credit, Lynne implemented various accounting and computerised database systems and improved stakeholder engagement, thereby enhancing operational effectiveness.
Additionally, Lynne has volunteered as a member of the Board of Management at Masada College for several years, assuming the lead role as Jewish Board of Deputies College representative, Enrolments Committee Co-Chair, and community liaison. She has also been involved in the new school uniform initiative and management of several fundraising activities. Over the last few years, Lynne has been contracting privately and working in the travel business.
As Temple Administrator, Lynne will be responsible for governance, insurance and risk management, budgetary control, Board of Directors communication and reporting, project management of major fundraising programs and grant applications, engagement with members, external providers, local council and affiliated NSTE entities. Lynne will provide leadership and direction to the Office Team.
The Meah and Hebrew School will report to the NSTE Board of Directors Executive. The Apples and Honey Pre-School will continue report to their Executive.
Please join us in welcoming Lynne to the NSTE family. We are looking forward to working with such a seasoned professional.
After two and a half years on the NSTE Board, I am sad to announce that Peter Sheldon is stepping down from his position due to time pressures.
During his time on the Board, Peter has had a strong involvement in the Community Conversations initiative and leadership development opportunities within NSTE. In addition to his normal duties, Peter has also been the NSTE representative on the Apples & Honey Preschool Board of Directors.
Peter has shared with me that it was an honour for him to have been part of our Board and to participate in our Community Conversations, and meeting and getting to know many more members of our remarkable community. He leaves the role feeling enriched from the experience. We wish him all the best with his future endeavours and will, no doubt, still see Peter at various upcoming events and programs at NSTE.
It gives me great pleasure to announce that Geoffrey Wolf has joined the NSTE Board of Directors. Geoff and his family have enjoyed a lifelong association with NSTE, with his parents being founding members and Geoff meeting his wife, Jenny, in the early days of our youth groups. In later years, Geoff and Jenny married on our campus (incidentally it was the last wedding in the former Sanctuary, now occupied by the Preschool!), and they saw both their daughters attend the Preschool and experience their B’nei Mitzvah with us.
Geoff’s background is in the hospitality and hotel industry and he is currently involved in the retirement and aged care sector.
Upon his appointment, Geoff said “I am honoured to join the Board of Directors and make a contribution to the organisation that has provided so much to my family and our community.”
Please join me in welcoming Geoff as our newest addition to the Board. Through Geoff’s business acumen, in-depth understanding of NSTE, and his passion for the sustainable future of our Progressive Community, we truly have a remarkable addition to the NSTE Board.
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I support marriage equality because of, not in spite of, my religion.
I went to university in Nashville, Tennessee—a town in America’s religiously conservative south, known as “the buckle of the Bible belt”—where many of my gay friends struggled with fears of being cut off and disowned by their families, harrassed by their classmates, and ridiculed or abandoned by friends, if they let it be known that they were gay. At an age when many were finding our life partners, my gay friends were imagining a future lived in falsehood, deprived of true companionship, or children, and that’s if they contemplated a future at all—some of them contemplated suicide.
None of them “chose” this life they’d been given. Those who believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, rather than an inherent sexual orientation, are mistaken. This mistake leads to judgment, discrimination, prejudice, hatred, violence, and other abhorrent practices.
My faith teaches in Genesis that God deemed “it is not good for man to be alone,” which teaches us that Torah supports loving, committed relationship as something we are all entitled to enjoy.
Our Progressive movement redefined the Jewish concept of marriage decades ago when we abandoned traditional wedding language and ritual related to acquisition—the groom acquiring the bride for a price, like property—in favour of a more egalitarian practice. So for us, in modern times, the defining features of the institution of marriage are the commitment to establish a home together and to support and nurture one another physically, financially, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. I believe that same-sex couples can make and keep these commitments just as faithfully as heterosexual couples.
Any commandments that came later in Torah follow the more fundamental belief in Genesis that everyone is created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, meaning that our diversity reflects the great magnitude of God and that each individual is worthy of dignity. In later centuries, the Talmud affirmed the principle: gadol k’vod ha’briot she docheh lo ta’aseh—Human dignity supersedes any negative commandments (the “thou shalt nots”).
I am proud that my congregation’s leadership has issued statements in unanimous support of its rabbi conducting same sex commitment ceremonies and in support of marriage equality. Not all people of faith oppose marriage equality. I support it because of, not in spite of, my religious convictions.
RE: Progressive and Masorti Jewish View on the Upcoming Plebiscite in Australia
1 September 2017/10 Elul 5777
Judaism is guided by the belief that every human being is created "in the image of the divine," as it says in Genesis 1:27, “And God created humans in God’s own image; in the image of God, God created them; male and female God created them.”
Alongside this basic principle, we recognise the call of Torah (The Jewish Bible) to pursue justice in an equitable manner” (Deuteronomy 16:20, "Justice, justice shall you pursue"), as well as the obligation to show respect and dignity to all people, kinsman and stranger alike (Leviticus 19:18, 33-34).
Therefore, we believe that every individual regardless of age, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation has equal rights and should be treated accordingly. Regardless of circumstance or context, discrimination against any person, whether it arises from apathy, insensitivity, ignorance, fear, or hatred, is inconsistent with these fundamental beliefs. We oppose discrimination against all individuals, including the GLBTIQ community, for the stamp of the divine is present in each and every one of us.
We believe that two people who wish to join in lifelong union through a wedding ceremony should be able to do so without prejudice. Rabbi Ettlinger believes “prejudice causes hurt and pain and in this case even more so when people only want to celebrate their love and so marriage equality and voting “yes” is essentially for communal harmony and civil rights.” Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins added ““Religion’s mythic traditions should guide us to moral insight, and those insights in turn must be based in facts, evidence and commitment to equal rights in civic society."
On this basis, the rabbis of the Rabbinic Council of the Union for Progressive Judaism Moetza and its parent body the Union for Progressive Judaism (UPJ), along with the rabbis and lay leaders of Masorti Australasia support marriage equality and the rights and privileges therefore afforded.
We encourage our members to vote YES.
Signed on behalf of our members:
Rabbi Kim Ettlinger – Chair of the Moetza: Progressive Rabbinic Council of Australia, New Zealand and Asia – firstname.lastname@example.org; (03) 510 1488
Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins – Chair of the Masorti (Conservative) Council of Australia - email@example.com; (02) 9328 7833
17 August 2017
In response to the recent frightening and tragic events in Charlottesville, NSTE's rabbis and Board sent a letter of support and solidarity on behalf of our community over to Congregation Beth Israel this week.
Letter to Congregation Beth Israel
Mr Alan Zimmerman & Rabbi Gutherz
Congregation Beth Israel
301E, Jefferson St
Dear Mr Zimmerman and Rabbi Gutherz,
On behalf of the board, rabbis and congregants of North Shore Temple Emanuel (NSTE) in Sydney Australia, we wish to express our support to you and your community in Charlottesville.
Like all people of good conscience around the world, we were horrified by the images beamed from your city over the weekend and can only imagine the fear that you must have felt.
This was graphically brought to life for us in the article that you wrote for reformjudaism.org. For many in our community it brought back collective memories of a time that we had all hoped was behind the Jewish people. As you repeatedly wrote, we repeatedly shook our heads and exclaimed – “This is 2017 in the United States of America!”.
That said, we feel proud of how the CBI community demonstrated fortitude and courage in the face of such hate mongering and draw hope for a better tomorrow from the support that you received from members of the wider Charlottesville community.
Whilst the physical distance between our communities is great, we hope that you will draw strength from knowing that in spirit we stand beside you. Chazak, Chazak V’nitchazeik - Be strong, be strong, and we will strengthen one another.
Wishing you L’ Shana Tova – may the new year bring better times.
With Love and Best Wishes,
Mark Ginsburg Rabbi Nicole Roberts
President Senior Rabbi
29 June 2017
Rabbinic Statement on Conversion Bill and Egalitarian Prayer Space at the Kotel
We - Rabbi Nicole Roberts and Rabbi Fred Morgan - add our voices to the impassioned outcry of our world partners standing for Jewish pluralism, in the face of this week’s decision by the Israeli government to: (1) freeze implementation of its 2016 agreement to build an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, and (2) support a Conversion Bill that would grant the Chief Rabbinate official authority over conversions, potentially impacting eligibility for citizenship under the Law of Return.
We consider these decisions not only disappointing, but dangerous, and contrary to the ideals for which the State of Israel and Zionism have always stood. We pledge to work with our Israeli and international partners, who have each issued their own statements or resolutions this week expressing their dismay and outrage, including:
May justice and pluralism prevail in the land we love, call home, and pray for every Shabbat, and whose anthem we chant every Sunday morning with our Hebrew School children: li’hiot am chofshi b’artzeinu, eretz tzion virushalayim - “to be a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.”
Rabbi Nicole Roberts
Rabbi Fred Morgan
29 June 2017
FROM THE BOARD
The NSTE Board of Directors advises that following the completion of a thorough review of NSTE's operating revenues and expenditure, as was committed to at the recent 2017 Annual General Meeting, it has taken steps to mitigate what has been an ongoing operating loss over several years. These steps include making the role of General Manager redundant.
The Executive is working with Mark and the Office Team to transition towards a new model for day to day operations. Accordingly, it is with sadness that we will farewell Mark Zworestine (Zed) on 25 July 2017 when the General Manager role will cease to exist under a new operating structure currently being developed in consultation with our staff and key stakeholders, such as the Apples and Honey Preschool.
As a result of much of the work that Zed and his team have done over recent years, we are well positioned to make these changes. The General Manager role was a planned investment, created at a time when NSTE was in much need of strategic evolution and related shift in gears in process and productivity.
Zed has accomplished much since joining NSTE in October 2014 including:
Improving many aspects of our office infrastructure, building a cohesive office administration team, streamlining our processes, reducing the amount of effort needed to process our core accounting transactions, and successfully outsourcing our accounting, payroll and leave management functions
Successfully transitioning our Meah Hebrew and Religion School and maintaining a level of excellence that is highly regarded and respected by its students, families, and the Jewish Community. This included renovation of the classroom facility with the support of a $20,000 grant, introduction of the role of Education Director, implementation of a new curriculum and syllabus, and improving teacher satisfaction, capability and commitment.
"I will carry with me fantastic memories of my time at NSTE", said Zed. "It has been a privilege to work alongside my colleagues in the office as well as NSTE's board. My best wishes will always be with NSTE. This change in the operating structure is simply another step in the journey to achieve long-term sustainability".
Please join us in thanking Zed for his many contributions to our community. We look forward to celebrating Zed’s time with NSTE. Please stay tuned for more information in this regard.
30 July 2015
JOINT RABBINIC STATEMENT ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND SAME SEX COMMITMENT CEREMONY OFFICIATION
The Moetzah (Council of Progressive Rabbis of Australia, Asia, and New Zealand) recently reaffirmed its 2011 resolution in support of marriage equality. As members of the Moetzah, we—Rabbi Robuck and Rabbi Roberts—stand in solidarity with, and take pride in, the Moetzah’s position on this issue.
While Australian law does not currently permit Ministers of Religion to marry couples of the same sex, many of our rabbinic colleagues the world over—both within and beyond our Progressive movement—have chosen to affirm the sacredness of loving, committed relationships between Jewish couples, regardless of gender, through officiation of commitment ceremonies. We pledge to do the same. We applaud the North Shore Temple Emanuel Board of Directors' 2008 resolution "removing any prohibition on rabbis performing same sex commitment ceremonies," which followed extensive consultation with the congregation at that time.
We have arrived at our position on marriage equality and determined to officiate at same sex commitment ceremonies following careful consideration of Jewish sources, both ancient and contemporary; through discussion with each other and our colleagues; through consultation with our current Board of Directors whose unanimous support we enjoy; through our individual life experiences; and through the searching of our own souls. We invite you to do the same. Should you seek our participation or wish guidance in your study and reflective process, our doors are always open.
In the event that your personal view may differ from that reached by Rabbi Robuck, Rabbi Roberts, and our Board of Directors, be assured that it will be respected as one of many in our sacred community, a congregation in which every person is recognised as having been created b’tzelem Elohim—in the image of God.
Rabbi Gary J. Robuck
Rabbi Nicole K. Roberts