Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Inside Leadership
Rabbi Rick Jacobs at Kotel

A week ago, we celebrated the extraordinary miracle of the modern state of Israel, 70 years young. But, now that the celebration is over, we must return to the hard work of resolving what appears to be intractable: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

I’m not naïve; we clearly are not close to a two-state solution. But, this is clear: There can be no legitimate Jewish state that is not a democracy. A one-state solution that would deny Palestinians any claim to sovereignty would result in the abandonment of either the Jewish or the democratic essence of modern Israel. I couldn’t...

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs at the Kotel (Western Wall)

This is Israel’s annual season of solemnity and celebration, an extraordinary time when the nation moves from sadness to joy, from remembrance to hope. Beginning last week with Yom HaShoah, the day that commemorates those who died in the Holocaust, and continuing this week as Israel mourns its own war dead and immediately celebrates the creation of the state the next day, on Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtazmaut, this is a period of ups and downs, highs and lows. It is the very crescendo of human emotions that, in fact, makes us human, connecting us to past and future generations.


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Teens and young adults with Reform Movement gun violence prevention signs

And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, And the leopard shall lie down with the kid; And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. -- Isaiah 11:6

With this year’s Passover sederim behind us, over the next few months we will celebrate the confirmations and high school graduations of teens, along with the college graduations of some of our movement’s young adults. We have known many, if not most, of these students since their pre-school and elementary school days, and we are vested in them and the roles they play in our communities....

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Diverse people and ideas flowing into cogs that sit in the palm of a woman's hand

As Passover approaches, I’m reminded of the many types of diversity we find in the Haggadah and at our seder tables – the four children and their range of intellectual capacities; the bitter maror compared to the sweet charoset; the dry matzah, a symbol of our escape in sharp contrast to the salty wetness of our tears in bondage. It is in this diversity that we find strength and creativity and it is just such strength and creativity that have brought our young people together to show us the way in their extraordinary leadership endeavors around gun violence prevention.


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Aerial view of hundreds of teens holding yellow signs that read JEWS DEMAND ACTION

In the immediate aftermath of the devastating shooting in Parkland, FL, last month that killed 17 individuals – including Reform Jewish students and a teacher –  NFTY North American President Zach Herrmann wrote “After Parkland, How We’re Mobilizing to Prevent Gun Violence,” in which he explained how the shooting spurred the NFTY community into action. Announcing the Reform Movement’s new task force on gun violence prevention efforts, Herrmann wrote, “Now is the time. No longer will we stand idly by.”  

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