Chris Harrison

Chris Harrison

Inside Leadership
Closeup of a man typing on a laptop

Dear Rabbi,

I hope this letter finds you well, and shavua tov/Shabbat shalom, depending on when you read this.

I wanted to write this letter – publicly and openly – as a form of gratitude and appreciation. A lot of events, circumstances, and people led to my becoming a Jew, but you stand out in particular. You were the first rabbi with whom I ever discussed the idea of conversion, and I felt comfortable doing so because of your personality and approach to Judaism.

As a full-time student beginning to search for his place within Judaism, I looked forward to watching...

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Hiker standing at the top of a mountain facing a sunset

One Friday evening in the summer of 2009, a month after my first-ever Shabbat dinner at my friend Malachi’s home, I accompanied him and his partner to a small local Jewish congregation not far from where I lived.

This would not only mark my first time celebrating Shabbat inside of a synagogue, but it would also be the first time I attended an aufruf (a couple’s pre-wedding celebration), the first time I heard a joke in a true Brooklyn accent from an elderly Jewish man,(I forget most of it, but the punch line was that a mushroom says, “C’mon I’m a fun-guy!”), and the first time I...

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Closeup of a hand holding a magnifying glass over a collage of many faces

Parashat B’midbar is an interesting Torah portion because it includes what some might consider one of the drier parts of the Torah, a census – and yet there is a lot to be gleaned from it. It gives us insight into taking stock, assigning responsibility, and the roles that we play in our communities.

When we think of taking a census, we typically think of taking a count of everyone, but God tells Moses to take a census of every Israelite male above the age of 20 who is physically able to bear arms and assign them specific duties. This makes sense; after all, they’re traveling in the...

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Rainbow Pride flag against a blue sky

It’s June, and Pride Month is officially upon us: a time dedicated to honoring, celebrating, and learning about the diverse beauty and resilience of LGBTQIA+ history. As someone who is both Jewish and bisexual, I think a lot about how Judaism intersects with Pride, especially the way our Jewish institutions strive to cater to the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The Reform Jewish Movement has taken countless strides to make our spaces audaciously hospitable to the LGBTQIA+ community, and we also know that Judaism is part of a Divine process and in a constant state of, well, reform...

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Hand lighting Shabbat candles in silver candleholders next to a challah

It’s June 2009. I’m approaching my friend Malachi’s home for Shabbat dinner, and I have no idea what to expect. I’m wearing a green dress shirt, which is odd, because I rarely wear green, but it goes well with the dark green satin yarmulke that the fine folks at a nearby synagogue gave me when I told them my Friday evening plans.

Malachi invited me over because he knows I’m Jewish. Well… Jewish-ish. Some of my ancestors were German-Jewish immigrants, and I was curious about reconnecting to that part of my lineage. He himself is a Reform convert; he converted with his family after...

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