Rabbi Beth Nichols enjoys the dual roles of leading from the bimah and engaging in Jewish education with all members of Temple Israel’s congregation. She masterfully develops innovative curriculum, has built strong interpersonal relationships, and creates a welcoming environment for all those who enter our synagogue.
Rabbi Nichols grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts. Throughout her childhood she was active at the local Reform temple where she attended classes, taught in the Religious School, and served as a Youth Group board member. Strong support from her home congregation and its professional staff inspired her to take her passion further and pursue the rabbinate upon entering college. Rabbi Nichols graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College with a B.A. in Religion and Psychology in 2001. She serves as a strong role model for the students in our Religious School, which she oversees.
Ordained at the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in May 2007, Rabbi Nichols completed two Master of Arts degrees: one in Hebrew Letters and the other in Jewish Education. She was awarded prizes in Liturgy, Jewish Education, and Rabbinic Literature.
Rabbi Nichols prides her rabbinic training on its balance of academics and internships. Her career has been profoundly shaped by her mentors and congregants at Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, CA, Temple Beth Sholom in Santa Ana, CA, and Congregation Beth Shalom in Yuba City, CA. She completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at UCLA Hospital.
The perspectives that Rabbi Nichols brings to her work benefit our community in significant ways. Her interest in providing a welcome environment for interfaith couples underscores the inclusive policies of Temple Israel. In providing an interesting curriculum for students beyond Bar/Bat Mitzvah training, while demonstrating flexibility and warmth towards religious school students and their families, she has been instrumental in keeping our youth involved in Temple life. She provides the type of inspirational influence that guided her own path.