After five years of study at both the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles and Leo Baeck College in London, I am proud to report that I have been ordained as a Rabbi by Leo Baeck College.

The ceremony took place on Sunday the 7th of July 2013 at Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue in Northwood, London. My ordaining rabbi was Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh, Director of Jewish Studies at the College. My husband, Dave Middleton, and Rabbi Professor Dr Marc Saperstein (my dissertation advisor) guided me to the bimah.

Each of the three ordinands, Leah Jordan, Benji Stanley and myself, were ordained by rabbis with whom we feel a strong personal connection, which made for a lovely and intimate ceremony. Dr Laliv Clenman, teacher of Talmud and Rabbinic Texts at the College, gave us a stellar Ordination Address which was thoughtful, wise but also incredibly funny.

{Rabbis Mark Levin, Leah Jordan, Laura Janner-Klausner, Benji Stanley, Esther Hugenholtz & Charles Middleburgh}

Both the Movement for Reform Judaism and Liberal Judaism - the two main supporters of Leo Baeck College - have issued press releases concerning our Ordination. You can find MRJ's press release here and LJ's press release here. Leo Baeck College's own press release can be found here.

I have blogged about my personal experiences and feelings concerning my Ordination at 'And Esther Wrote', my parallel 'personal' blog. Feel free to read about my thoughts and see more photos. You can read my Ordination Address here.
I have also activated a professional Facebook 'Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz' page. And you can find me on Twitter as 'Rabbi Hugenholtz'. 

I would like to thank all of you who has supported me along this journey from the bottom of my heart: this includes family and friends but also my teachers and staff at both Ziegler and Leo Baeck College as well as my friends and congregants at Sinai Synagogue in Leeds. 

As for my future plans: at currently 35 weeks pregnant, my husband and I will prepare for the birth of our son in mid-August. After three months of maternity leave, we will move to Leeds, Northern England where I will join Sinai Synagogue as Assistant Rabbi.

I am very grateful and happy to have come to this point in my life and look forward to the rest of my rabbinate!


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