Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Inside Leadership
Protester holding a sign that says: Love thy Neighbor

Reports indicate that this weekend, ICE will snatch untold numbers of people from their homes, their workplaces, and their houses of worship. They will be held in detention, and eventually, face deportation. Families will be torn apart, children will be left without parents, and households will be stripped of their breadwinners. We cannot be silent in the face of these injustices.

The mass raids planned by the Trump administration are heartbreaking, heartless, immoral and simply bad public policy. They are also yet another element of the administration’s inhumane immigration...

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Memorial candle

For more than four decades, Rabbis Elyse Frishman and Dan Freelander’s lives and those of their family have been inextricably linked to the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). It is with profound sadness that our entire URJ family mourns with the Frishmans and Freelanders on the tragic and untimely death of their daughter, Devra Freelander, on Monday, July 1.

Devra was an award-winning video and sculpture artist whose flourishing career took her to artists’ residencies and earned her fellowships around the world. Her exhibitions and public installations have appeared in galleries and...

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Selfie of Rick Jacobs with Camp Coleman teens headed to Israel

For many people, summer is a time of new adventures. At the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), it’s a busy and joyful season as thousands of young people fill our camps and travel programs, creating friendships and building and strengthening Jewish identities that last a lifetime.

I recently witnessed some of that magic.

Arriving at the gate for my flight to Tel Aviv, I was delighted to find 45 teen travelers from URJ Camp Coleman – their anticipation palpable – heading to their life-changing NFTY-in-Israel program. In fact, many of our URJ Camps offer this opportunity for...

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Row of Israeli flags on flagpoles, blowing in the breeze

This week, even as Israel celebrates its Independence Day, Yom HaAtzmaut, with barbecues and beach parties, we are alarmed about the newest round of violence in the south, and pray for a lasting peaceful solution for all. Here in North America, the day offers an opportunity to recommit ourselves to joining with our Israeli Reform Jewish community to fight for and build the Israel we desire – a Jewish homeland in which all Jews can worship in ways that are meaningful to them and where all Israeli citizens – Jews, Arabs, Muslims, and Christians – enjoy rights and protections as equals within...

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Three Israeli wedding couples under the chuppahs at Washington Hebrew Congregation on March 26, 2019

This past week, I spent a significant amount of time thinking about love.

My week began at the annual AIPAC Policy Conference, where I joined with many of my rabbinic and cantorial colleagues and members of all ages from our Reform Jewish community alongside 18,000 other activists who also love Israel deeply. That love was on display each time we cheered, for the Israeli scientists who launched the Beresheet lunar lander on its way to the moon, for the inspiring music of Koolulam, and for the range of Israeli, American, Canadian, and international political leaders at all levels of...

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