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Inside Leadership
Fingers giving the peace sign in front of an Israeli flag
Lighted faces of teenagers holding candles in the dark
Fingers giving the peace sign in front of an Israeli flag

It is no secret that racism exists, and despite the tremendous progress made in recent decades, racism will probably always find pockets of support. This week, we were painfully reminded of how much it exists in the United States by the events in Charlottesville, VA. As if a mob of torch- and weapon-wielding white supremacists shouting “Jews will not replace us” wasn’t enough, the president of the United States was unwilling to specifically condemn the likes of the KKK and neo-Nazis.

To state the obvious, racism is an ugly and evil ideology that tears at the very fabric of society...

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Headshots of Danielle Gold and Jesse Irizarry

With so many major Jewish institutions clustered in Manhattan itself, it follows that much Jewish social and cultural programming also takes place in the centralized stretch of island.

These days, though, young Jews live all over the five boroughs, not just in Manhattan. Danielle Gold noticed that.

At an event for young Jews in their 20s at 30s event at New York City’s Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, Danielle met Jesse Irizarry and a friend of his, realizing for the first time that there were, in fact, “Jews under the age of 65,” as she puts...

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Disembodied bodies of varying races standing against a wall in casual poses wearing casual clothing such as jeans and flannel shirts

At the 2013 URJ Biennial, Rabbi Rick Jacobs gave an historic speech that called upon the Reform Jewish community to reach out, embrace, and integrate into Jewish life the full spectrum of pluralistic Jews, particularly those who are chronically excluded. He encapsulated this idea in the phrase “audacious hospitality,” and within two years hired me, a thirtysomething Jewish woman of color who picked up and moved to New York City to fulfill a dream to bring this vision to life.

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Lighted faces of teenagers holding candles in the dark

Our world is imperfect. As Jews, we know this. 

The Torah teaches that God created a world capable of chaos and of order. While this can sometimes create moments of despair, it is also the basis for all hope, all light in the darkness.  

The violence and hatred witnessed over the weekend in Charlottesville, VA, weighs heavily on our minds and in our hearts. As Americans, many of us awoke today feeling ashamed, scared, and outraged. It is okay to feel these things. The fight for justice cannot come only from the head; it must come also from the heart.  

It is in...

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Two young women wearing prayer shawls stand at a bimah and lead a crowd of teens in worship

Empowerment. Networking opportunities. Leadership development. These were the skills and experiences I anticipated I would gain while serving as president of NFTY. The reality exceeded my expectations, giving me so much more than I had anticipated.

I have spent the past 18 months visioning for the future of a movement. I’ve attended conferences, built professional relationships, trained emerging leaders, and traveled around the world. These experiences have transformed me into the leader I am today.

I’m just now starting to notice, though...

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About Inside Leadership

Inside Leadership, the blog at URJ.org, is a source for Reform Jewish leaders to get the latest news and though-provoking articles about Jewish communal life.