Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Inside Leadership
Rabbi Rick Jacobs speaking at a podium before a rally with a sign that reads NO HATE NO FEAR

Editor's note: The text that follows was presented before attendees at the NYC Solidarity March and Rally on Jan. 5, 2020, before Rabbi Jacobs and his rabbinic colleagues offered Psalm 121 and 130.

Throughout Jewish history, in every place where we Jews have lived we have turned to Psalms or Tehillim to express the deepest yearnings of our hearts.

Before you today are rabbis from across the spectrum of Jewish belief and practice. We don’t all believe, practice, and think alike but today we stand as one. My colleagues and I stand united in our love for all of our people from...

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Group of teens lighting Shabbat candles

When I travel, I hear many people my age ask, “Why don’t our young people join synagogues? Or give to their federations? Why don’t they stand up for Israel? Why don’t they go to Hillel?”

In short, they’re asking, why can’t they be more like us?

Indeed, the war between the boomers and the millennials has become popular fodder. But, I don’t see it as a war at all.

The job of the next generation is not to be just like us. And we in Jewish leadership would be wise to stop struggling to only fit them into old constructs within our Jewish community; rather, we must...

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs on stage at the URJ Biennial

Editor's note: Rabbi Rick Jacobs presented this address before a live audience at the 2019 Union for Reform Judaism Biennial, the largest Jewish gathering in North America. Watch the video of his address below, or visit URJ.org to read the full text.

Did you ever wonder what happened to the 10 Lost Tribes of ancient Israel? In 721 B.C.E., they disappeared. Poof. Gone. 

Imagine if we could find them today? Our Jewish community could increase to as many as 85 million worldwide. 

But demographers tell us that our numbers are not likely to grow in the next 50 years;...

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs addresses the URJ Biennial plenary on stage behind a podium

Editor's note: The text that follows was presented before a live audience at the 2019 URJ Biennial on Thursday, Dec. 12.

Did you ever wonder what happened to the 10 Lost Tribes of ancient Israel? In 721 B.C.E., they disappeared. Poof. Gone.

Imagine if we could find them today? Our Jewish community could increase to as many as 85 million worldwide. We’d need all of Chicago for our Biennial!

But demographers tell us that our numbers are not likely to grow in the next 50 years; that, in fact, our numbers shrinking. And some Jewish leaders don’t care.

They think...

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Rabbi Allan "Smitty" Smith on the bimah at Biennial

Earlier this week, with the death of Rabbi Allan Smith, – “Smitty” to all who knew and loved him – the Reform Jewish world lost a true giant.

After beginning his work for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ, formerly the UAHC) on the kitchen staff at a URJ camp, he quickly displayed a host of talents that led him to a career of more than three decades as the architect and builder of the URJ’s extensive youth programs, transforming the lives of generations of young people. He also served for many years as the beloved rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Honesdale, PA.

As the...

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