Rabbi Nicole's Eulogy to Dr Frank Wolf OAM z'l

Every Shabbat, every Friday night in our worship service, we sing a 16th century prayer about emissaries sent to us from heaven.  While some faith traditions call these “angels,” our tradition sees them a little differently.  We don’t understand them to be halo’ed creatures with wings—perfectly good, and partially divine.  In our tradition, they’re just a sort of messenger, who come to do a task that needs doing here in the human realm, where there is pain and brokenness and limitations that we cannot always overcome on our own.  These emissaries are known in our texts and liturgy as malachei hashareit—the ministering angels—because they come to facilitate something happening on earth—to ease the path for a person to succeed, or to progress a process that’s pregnant with possibility but just needs a little push or support.  These malachei hashareit pave our way toward a life of blessing, and every time we sing about them on Friday nights, I think of Frank. 

There are many, many people here today paying honour to Frank, from his closest family to his business colleagues, who’ve shut down the office at Abacus to be here—which I’m told he’d be furious about.  From his Temple family, to those he touched in the wider Jewish community through his years of service with JCA, with Masada, with the Emanuel School, Montefiore home, and more.  So many of us here today are where we are in life because of Frank’s guidance and mentorship; because he believed in us and had pride in us; because he paved the way for us, saw our potential, found or created opportunities for us; because he was generous with us and always had time for us when we called.  If Frank saw a way that he could help, he would, earning the loyalty of his colleagues and friends, the adoration of his family, the esteem of his community, and his place among the malachei hashareit, the ministering angels.

If he heard all this, of course, he wouldn’t be too happy with us.  Frank was exceedingly humble, and didn’t relish being the centre of attention.  This, even though he enjoyed countless achievements, starting with his entrepreneurial efforts as a child, buying and reselling books that he knew would “be worth something someday,” to help support the family after losing his father, when he was only 14 and Geoff was 11.  He and Geoff enjoyed a close relationship as children, both celebrating bar mitzvah here at NSTE, where their parents were founding members.  (While it’s not customary for the mourners to speak at the funeral in our tradition, Geoff will be sharing more memories and reflections on their youth tonight at the minyan.)  

Frank was always an excellent student who, at one stage, thought of pursuing an academic career and completed his Ph.D in accounting and finance in a miraculous 3 years.  He was highly driven, and when he set his mind to something there was just no stopping him.  He became a partner at Touche Ross, later held senior management roles in the insurance and financial advisory industries, and in 1996 became founding member of Abacus and its managing director a decade later.  He planned to retire on the 1st of July this year, his 65th birthday, but he loved his work and had a tremendous work ethic.  He was so proud when his son Jonathan decided to go into the same field, his interest no doubt nurtured along by those many weekends Frank would drag him and Rachel, not to sporting events like all the other kids in school, but to go and look at properties.  They also stopped at garage sales and bookshops, as no game was more fun to Frank than getting “a deal.”

Frank wasn’t one for rest and relaxation.  Television was a waste of time, and he hated the beach, with its cold water, sand, and schlepping – “it’s all too hard,” he’d say.  But he and Karen did enjoy travel, and theatre, Friday night dinners, and eating out on a Saturday night, during their wonderful marriage of 43 years, which started at the North Shore Synagogue in January 1975.  Karen has been a hero of the past 10 months especially, and we pray that the birth of your fifth grandchild, born just a week before Frank died, will bring you hope and comfort in the difficult days and weeks to come.  Frank adored his grandchildren, and they adored him back.  Even the day before he died, Frank’s face lit up when his only granddaughter smiled at him in the hospital room.  They are his legacy, and like his own children and his nieces, his pride and joy.

They will no doubt carry on Frank’s love of tradition, for Frank was so passionate about Jewish continuity, community, and education.  They will also carry on his name and the memory of Reva and John, his parents, who also died too soon.  Throughout his life, Frank’s parents never left his mind, and he was so troubled that he couldn’t get to shul last week for his father’s yahrzeit.  So on Saturday, I brought him a yahrzeit candle with a little battery-operated, switch-on, tea light on top that he could use in the hospital without breaking any rules.  I brought him a second tea light that day too, in the hopes that if he found himself still in hospital come this Friday night, he could light both lights and feel a connection to his tradition, his community, and his Temple family.  I thought for sure he would be somewhere he could light them—not that tonight we would be lighting a candle for him.

They say that the malachim—these divine emissaries—don’t actually die; they merely return to their Maker after their task on earth is complete.  There was surely more work to do here in our aching world, and Frank, we will never understand why you had to depart it so soon.  We know your destiny was not as you’d envisioned it, but you bore your reality with positivity, pragmatism, and determination, never letting your condition or its harsh treatments stand in the way of your work or your many communal engagements and commitments.  How we wish you could have stayed here with us longer, to see the many fruits of your generosity flourish.  

Instead, we simply pray that your passing has spared you a degree of pain and anguish and fear.  We pray, as we will every Friday night when we sing Shalom Aleichem to our malachei hashareit, that as you entered our lives in peace, and blessed us with peace, that likewise you’ll go forth from this world in peace, and look after us as best you can from the heavens that sent you.  Tzeit’cha l’shalom, malach hashareit.  May you take your leave in peace.    


NSTE is proud supporter of the UIA progressive appeal

NSTE is proud supporter of the jewish suicide prevention strategy


Book Launch - The Safe House Down Under

(For NSTE member, Anna Rosenbaum!)

Sunday 18 March at 2pm 
at the Sydney Jewish Museum, 148 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst

The Safe House Down Under is the story of a long forgotten chapter of Australia’s history preceding WWII, by Anna Rosenbaum.

Mark Alfred Dreyfus MP QC, lawyer and politician, will launch Anna's book, which deals with the impact on Australia of the 1938-1939 Czechoslovak crisis, the policies of the Australian government and the economic repercussions of the crisis.

To book: email:  or call 9360 7999


Employment Opportunity 

Director of Education, Part-time, 25 hours/week
North Shore Temple Emanuel (NSTE) is one of the largest Progressive congregations in Australia with 525 member families. Situated on Sydney’s North Shore, NSTE has served its community for over 55 years. This egalitarian congregation celebrates the spirit and contribution of its diverse community, from many countries, backgrounds, and different life stages. 
Reporting to the Board of Directors’ Executive, the Director of Education forms part of the NSTE Leadership Team, with a focus on education programs for Years K - 6.
The role involves developing, selecting and updating existing curriculum for Hebrew and Jewish learning, leading, managing and developing teachers, liaising with parents on all matters relating to students’ progress, identifying and marketing school growth opportunities, overseeing the school financials, ensuring school reports are produced, and representing the school with relevant external organisations.
The incumbent will possess a graduate degree in Education, with relevant senior level management experience, be proficient in Hebrew and possess a current WWCC and drivers’ license. Highly sought competencies include a passion for Jewish life and Hebrew learning, strong interpersonal, verbal and written skills, and the ability to lead and motivate a team.
Candidates must be available to work Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons during school term, with flexibility outside of these times. 
Interested applicants are invited to forward a cover letter and resume via email to:
Ruth-Anne Cohn, Vice President, North Shore Temple Emanuel by 2 March 2018


What's Happening at NSTE - February & March 2018

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Please support the 2018 UIA Progressive Appeal

The United Israel Appeal continues to do wonderful work for Israel. However the State of Israel treats Jews as either Orthodox or secular, and many Jews do not fit into these neat categories. This is where the Israeli Progressive Movement fills a very important need.

Imagine you can’t get legally married in Israel. Why? Because you don’t subscribe to Orthodox Judaism. Or, you’re a woman who wants to be treated equally; or new olim where the father is Jewish but your children can’t celebrate a bar/bat mitzvah because the government doesn’t view them as Jewish.

We need your help to address these issues. Please support the UIA as much as you are able … but we ask that you specifically direct your contribution to the UIA Progressive Appeal. In this way, you will ensure that you help Israel and your fellow Progressive Jews most in need.

The Progressive Appeal is the number-one way to support Israeli Progressive communities and to ensure that the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, the World Union for Progressive Judaism and the Israel Religious Action Centre can continue their important work to achieve a democratic, pluralistic Israel society.

Meet Professor Anthony Luder

“It all started one night in February 2013,” said Professor Anthony Luder, Ziv Medical Center’s director of paediatrics. “An IDF ambulance pulled up at the emergency department and staff were astonished to see inside a group of injured Syrian fighters.”

IDF patrols pick up the wounded at UN transfer points on the border on the Golan, or in places where the fence is absent or minimal. Staff at the hospital do not know where the patients come from, nor do they want to. “We’re doctors and they are our patients. All we want to do is to treat them,” said Professor Luder.

Professor Luder made Aliyah to Israel in 1983. He had led the UK Federation of Zionist Youth (FZY), and visited refuseniks and Zionist activists in the former USSR. 

He was born in London in 1953 to a medical family, and has been Director of Paediatrics at Ziv Medical Centre in Safed since 1992, and is a Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee at Bar Ilan University, with responsibility for clinical sciences.

He is active in his home community of Rosh Pina, a member of the Jewish Agency’s “Partnership Together” local steering committee, and a founding member and an enthusiastic supporter of Rosh Pina’s young pluralistic Jewish congregation. Under his leadership, the Rosh Pina community has convened a bilingual preschool that unites the Jewish and Arab communities.

Professor Luder will be the Distinguished Guest Speaker for the UIA Progressive Appeal
Melbourne: Monday 19 March at 7.30pm, Leo Baeck Centre for Progressive Judaism; 
Shabbat services on Friday 23 March and Saturday 24 March at Temple Beth Israel
Sydney: Monday 26 March at 7.30pm, Emanuel Synagogue 

We encourage your attendance at the UIA general campaign events. Please await receipt of our campaign brochure and pledge form that you will receive in the post before making your pledge, in order to ensure that your donation reaches the Progressive Israeli movement.


Livracha - Australian Jewish News 19 January 2018

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Davar Acher

Read Rabbi Nicole’s response in J-Wire to a recent article by Professor Bill Rubinstein.

Prof. Rubinstein’s article: “Religious Liberals on the Way Down?"
Rabbi Nicole’s response: “Davar Acher”


Australian Parliament says 'Yes' to Marriage Equality - 7 December 2017

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."


Statement on Marriage Equality Survey Result - 15 November 2017

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.


NSTE Announcement - 15 November 2017

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.

Mark Ginsburg


NSTE Board Announcement - 30 October 2017

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. 

Mark Ginsburg


Rabbi Nicole's article in australian jewish news - rosh hashanah supplement

'Hope on the Horizon?'

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Rabbi Nicole shows support to Marriage equality

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.


Union of Progressive Judaism Press Release

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 –; (03) 510 1488

Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins – Chair of the Masorti (Conservative) Council of Australia  -; (02) 9328 7833


17 August 2017

NSTE reaches out to Charlottesville shul

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
VA 22902

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  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


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.

  • Strengthening the operating and financial relationship with the Apples and Honey Preschool. Together with the change of the preschool to a long day care model, this has resulted in the preschool now paying a commercial rate for the use of NSTE's facilities and premises resulting in an increase in revenue to NSTE.
  • Identifying opportunities for membership growth and implementation of new processes to support member acquisition.
  • Building and strengthening of relationships with NSTE members, key stakeholders and partners.

"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.

Mark Ginsburg



30 July 2015


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