Growing up in London as the son of two Reform rabbis-his mother was the first woman ordained as a rabbi in the United Kingdom-Roni Tabick always lived a richly Jewish life, but it's been in the Conservative/Masorti Movement, and at The Rabbinical School of The Jewish Theological Seminary, where his understanding of and passion for Judaism truly have come to fruition.
An extended encounter with one of JTS's illustrious professors set Roni on the path that would bring him to New York many years later: "Rabbi Joel Roth has had the biggest impact on me, beginning long before I ever thought of attending JTS," Roni says. "When I was 18 and a student at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Rabbi Roth was the rosh (head of the) yeshiva. He was the first person to explain a coherent, nonfundamentalist approach to Jewish law that showed love and respect for the tradition. In this way he set me on the road to becoming a Masorti Jew."
"It was a long journey for me to realize that my spiritual home was the Masorti/Conservative Jewish world. Once that decision was made, the next step was obvious-JTS was the clear best choice, engaged in intellectual, academic, and loving pursuit of Torah."
Here at JTS, Roni holds a Gladstein Fellowship for Entrepreneurial Leadership, a hallmark program that offers support to rabbinical students and, more important, offers free rabbinic support to emerging congregations within the Conservative Movement. That's a natural fit for Roni, whose plans after his ordination in 2015 are to return to the United Kingdom to work in a pulpit in the growing Masorti community there. He says his favorite moment so far at JTS has been "sitting at the Gladstein Fellowship conference, surrounded by passionate exciting rabbis and rabbinical students, debating the best way to create a sustainable Jewish future."
That quality of passion and the pursuit of wisdom through study, discussion, and debate characterizes his studies in The Rabbinical School for Roni: "The conversations with my fellow students have been a real highlight for me. They are a highly diverse group from many different backgrounds, with a huge range of life experiences. My fellow students push me to justify my deeply held beliefs, challenging and supporting my developing relationships with the tradition and with God."