Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Inside Leadership
Rabbis Tom Gutherz and Rachel Schmelkin of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville stand in a synagogue sanctuary together with Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” During the last week, the leaders and community at Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville have met Dr. King’s high bar of moral leadership.

I had the privilege to worship and spend time with this extraordinary congregation less than a week after the Shabbat that shook this community – and most of our world – to its core. I brought the love, support, and admiration of the entire Reform...

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The word READY with question mark written in chalk on asphalt with a pair of mans shoes standing nearby as if at a starting line

As you plan your budget and schedule for the remainder of 2017 and beyond, keep in mind the great URJ offerings that can help you strengthen your congregation. To stay up-to-date with the resources and events that are always being added, make sure you receive and read the twice-monthly Inside Leadership newsletter for the latest updates.

URJ Biennial

Join 5,000 Reform Jews (lay leaders, clergy, synagogue professionals, and synagogue members) at the largest Jewish gathering in North America, this December in Boston, MA, to worship, learn, sing, and determine the future of our...

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Men and women together at an egalitarian section of the Kotel (Western Wall)

I recently attended a Knesset caucus on America-Israel relations during which I addressed the body about two issues of vital concern to North America’s liberal Jewish community: the Kotel (the Western Wall) and Israel’s conversion bill.

The Reform Movement in North America includes more than two million people. With the addition of the Conservative Movement, there are more than three million people on our continent who love the State of Israel. Every day, they stand up for the State of Israel and fight against those who delegitimize her. Wherever there are opponents of the Jewish...

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Pope Francis and Rabbi Rick Jacobs

The New York Times reported last week on a sweeping new survey of the political attitudes of American clergy. Among the survey’s least surprising findings: Reform rabbis are the most liberal cohort.  (Conservative Rabbis are not far behind.)

Since the election last November, we have heard time and again how synagogue attendance is up. People are searching for a place to be with others, in a safe space and a welcoming space –and indeed, perhaps in a cable-news-free space as well.

But in a time of uncertainty, as this moment represents, it’s important that our synagogue...

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URJ board mission participants in front of Israeli flags on flag polls

Several weeks ago, I spent Purim in the Israeli city of Ra'anana, just a bit north of Tel Aviv. Our congregation there has been a victim of anti-Reform attacks and slander repeatedly, yet you would never have known it. It was so moving – and fun – to be with children, parents, and grandparents who actively choose to be involved with this Reform community – and who are committed to being Jewish in a way that is different than most others in Israel. I am fortunate to work closely with our Israeli Reform Movement leaders, but rarely do I have the chance – as I and many of our URJ board...

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