Temple playing to a new tune

JAZZ musician Mark Ginsberg was appointed president of North Shore Temple Emanuel (NSTE) at an extraordinary general meeting last month, following the departure of former president Sarah Fife.

Ginsberg, who was vice-president during Fife’s term, has been active on the NSTE board for the last five years – and was a congregant long before that.

“I feel honoured,” Ginsberg told The AJN of the appointment. “It has a good feeling about it. But I wasn’t expecting it.”

Ginsberg has been involved in the congregation in a number of capacities, from singing in the choir to implementing a new cloud-based membership system.

“I devoted my time to helping bring the administration systems into the 21st century,” recalled Ginsberg, who is qualified in IT. “So I have a very close-up view of the strategic and the operational side of the organisation.”

With the next AGM scheduled for May, Ginsberg said he will use his brief stint as president to build on existing projects.

“I don’t want to say I’m a caretaker, because I’m much more than that, but my focus is on executing the projects that we’ve got at hand,” he said.

“I want to find ways to better engage with the community, in all dimensions,” he said, citing the youth as a particularly challenging demographic.

But he is pleased with how the community is tracking at the moment, drawing attention to well-attended regular Shabbat meals, a newly-established model for the preschool, and opportunities for both Progressive and Masorti worship at the shul.

He lauded Fife’s contribution to the congregation over her 21 months as president.

“As a younger member of the community, she really brought some new insight to our organisation,” Ginsberg enthused.

“She brought a lot of passion, an incredible commitment, [was] engaged in so many spheres of Jewish life … she’s done an enormous amount for us.”

Writing to the congregants earlier this month, Fife cited personal reasons for tendering her resignation.

“These past 21 months have been filled with joys, challenges, and lessons learned and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve as board president,” she wrote.

Speaking to The AJN, she confirmed there was “no drama or ill will” surrounding her departure.


Mark Ginsberg has been appointed president of North Shore Temple Emanuel.

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