If you think you lead a busy life, here is what the Sukkat Shalom Synagogue’s new Rabbi Dr Tali Artman-Partock packs into her day.
Tali, who is 43 takes up her role in August and plans to start studying to be a psychoanalyst. She is also a writer and was a broadcaster and journalist before turning to academia. She has a BA in Psychology and Hebrew Literature and a Ph.D. in Rabbinic Literature. And she still manages to publish academic articles ranging from ‘Why there are no Jewish women in hell?’, ‘The status of intersex people in Judaism’, and ‘ Humour in rabbinic literature’.
Born in Israel she came to the UK in 2014 and became a lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University and also at Leo Baeck College.
“I live by that old saying,” she says, “that if you enjoy what you do, then you don’t work a day in your life!”
She has been a student rabbi at the South West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogue at Ilford in Essex for the past couple of years and is thrilled at the prospect of staying in the Redbridge area and following in the footsteps of Rabbi Larry Becker who has held the post at Sukkat Shalom or Tabernacle of Peace since 2008.
She loves the fact that shalom is prominent in the community’s title. “Not many shuls have the word Shalom in them and are really peaceful,” she adds with a smile.
“The Synagogue celebrates its 40th birthday this year. The age of 40 in Jewish mystical tradition represents transition and change or a new beginning. It is a young community with a huge potential for growth. So many young families are now seeking a good family life in the East London suburbs and one of my ambitions is to encourage families to become involved in community life here and re-establish the tradition of Jewish Youth clubs in collaboration with our neighbouring Reform and Liberal communities.
“Many people think of Judaism as fixated on halacha which of course is important. But there’s so much joy in Judaism that is often overlooked. Jewish life in the UK is something to fight for. It is important to preserve our culture. We have a diverse community and it is something to be proud of.”
Rabbi Tali’s posting even now comes as something of a surprise to her. “You know, if I were still living in Israel I wouldn’t have trained to be a Rabbi. It would have made little difference. But now in the UK with my husband and 2 children here, and another child back home in Israel, I know I have so much to give.”
And by the way, she insists she does sleep, usually drifting off before her head touches the pillow.