Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Inside Leadership
Collage of Rabbi Rick Jacobs and other Reform leaders on Capitol Hill with members of the 116th Congress

I’m writing from the “Quiet Car” on a train back to New York after a long, wonderful day on Capitol Hill. I was in Washington, D.C., to celebrate with some old friends, and some new friends, as they were sworn in as members of the 116th Congress.

No matter your political leanings, it would have been difficult not to be inspired by the energy and new sense of possibility that was palpable all across the capital as the new Congress was installed. The diversity of the new class is remarkable and bodes well for our future; the record number of women in the freshman class was a story...

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Closeup of a person wearing a Star of David necklace against a blue sweater

A new CNN-Pew poll reveals a chilling truth that alas, we already know: anti-Semitism is alive and well, both in Europe and in the U.S. According to the findings, “more than a quarter of Europeans polled believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance. Nearly one in four said Jews have too much influence in conflict and wars across the world.”

Similarly, nearly half the 557 respondents in a survey of Dutch Jews said they were afraid of identifying publicly as Jews by wearing kippot.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Erdogan, who is tightening suppression of...

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Pathway in green grass painted with 2019 2020 and 2021

Seven years ago, just as I began my tenure as president of the Union for Reform Judaism, I stood before our Movement at the Biennial and shared the following:

“We are poised at one of the most critical and dramatic crossroads in all of Jewish history. If we stay put and leave things as they are, we will have failed the test of Jewish leadership. But we’re not going to stay put. We are the Reform Movement, and we’re going to get moving. We’re going to move forward with strength and creativity.”

Or, as our founder Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise put it more succinctly in 1854, “...

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Overhead shot of a person accessing the URJ's 2017 annual report on a tablet device

On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, I am pleased to present the URJ’s 2017 Annual Report. This is the first time ever (but certainly not the last) that we have produced an on-line and interactive annual report. This multi-media platform allows us to share with you the dynamism of our URJ, as we chronicle the last year of the Reform Movement, not only in words, but in video and photos as well.

The report is organized under three banner headlines: “Building Communities,” “Cultivating Leaders,” and “Living Jewish Values.” Indeed, these are the banners under which our talented...

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Tile floor with a pair of jean-clad legs and sneaker-clad feet taking a step forward in the direction of an arrow that is a few inches off the floor

If you looked around you at Rosh HaShanah services – and do so again tomorrow, Yom Kippur, my bet is few young adults were – or will be – present. True, some live far away or couldn’t miss school or work, while others simply don’t connect with the religious ritual of the High Holidays.

Does anyone besides me worry that when we’re gone these pews will be empty? I know I’m not alone. In fact, I’m amazed by how much time contemporary Jewish leaders spend worrying about the next generation. But worrying isn’t a strategy.

Instead, think about what you heard in synagogue during...

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