How do you combine working with senior citizens and shooting hoops? Become a rabbi. The connection might not be immediate for some, but to Nicole Guzik it’s quite apparent. She is a bundle of enthusiasm in pursuit of ways to best serve the Jewish people.
A dynamic, third-year rabbinical student, originally from Orange County, California, she uses her many talents to connect with people of all ages, whether it’s playing basketball with college kids or listening attentively to the mesmerizing stories of the elderly. Growing up a member of Congregation Eilat in Orange County, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in the rabbinate. Her rabbi at the time was Brad Artson, who now is the vice president and dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. “I’m not the only one from his congregation who has come to study at JTS. There are several of us here who were lucky enough to have him as our rabbi. He made such a profound impression on us.” As an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, she majored in Jewish Studies.
Like her mentor, Nicole wants to carry that same kind of passion wherever her rabbinical career takes her. So far she has done extensive outreach work with the Jewish Campus Service Core at Indiana University. “JCSC helps cultivate Jewish identity on campuses across the country. It’s great to be part of that.” And she is doing her part as well on the JTS campus. A Jewish Life director at Goldsmith, she loves it and says, “It’s like being a Jewish mom.” And if that’s not enough hats to wear, along with a heavy course load, she travels once a month to Los Angeles for her internship at Sinai Temple. “I’m busy and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”