Chris Harrison

Chris Harrison

Inside Leadership
A young black man wearing a prayer shawl and a head covering while reading from a Jewish prayer book

Whenever I enter Jewish spaces, whether it’s my first time or my fiftieth, I make a conscious effort to bring one or all of the following: my kippah (head covering), my Sh’ma bracelet, and my Magen David (Star of David) necklace.

I wear these items because I love being Jewish, and physical reminders of my Judaism help me feel more at home while attending Shabbat services, festivals, etc. – but I also bring them because, as a black person entering majority white Jewish spaces, I feel like I have to.

When I attend Jewish events without these totems, my past experiences nag at...

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White paper airplanes flying in formation behind a red paper airplane

At some point in our educational, professional, and even our personal lives, we may feel we are undeserving of our level of success or belonging with our peers or colleagues, often due to a hyperinflation of own shortcomings. Such a scenario is sometimes called “impostor syndrome,” and it can often be debilitating to our work as leaders. 

According to Kelifern Pomeranz, Psy.D., CST, “Impostor syndrome often occurs among high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success. They often attribute their accomplishments to luck rather than to ability. The underlying...

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Young woman wearing headphones and listening to Wholly Jewish podcast

Judaism is far from monolithic. Ever since our inception as a people, we as Jews have encompassed so many different ethnicities, cultures, perspectives, and gender and sexual identities. Through all of our beautiful differences, however, we remain united as one people. Our multifaceted identities do not negate our Jewishness; rather they strengthen, exemplify and enrich it.

Commitment to embracing our differences inspired us to create Wholly Jewish, the newest podcast offering from the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). In this podcast series, we’ll explore what we all have in common...

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Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.

This week marks Shabbat Tzedek: the Shabbat closest to Martin Luther King Jr. Day in which we remember his life and work, celebrate the victories of the civil rights movement, and reflect on what still needs to be done in the pursuit of racial justice.

However, on MLK Jr. Day, we often are presented with a sanitized, nonconfrontational version of Dr. King that is a far cry from the radical activist who was reviled during his time for his powerful justice work. Whether these misconceptions are promoted by those who are genuinely unfamiliar with Dr. King’s true history or by those...

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Woman praying with her eyes closed, hands held near her face

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You, Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14

As Reform Jews, we may recognize this beautiful and important verse not only from the Tanach, but also from our siddur (prayer book), Mishkan T’filah. Some of us might remember chanting these words in Hebrew during Shabbat services. This quote has had a long-lasting and important role in my life, going back more than a decade before I chose to convert to Judaism.

I grew up in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the first independent...

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