Leadership & Governance

As a leader, so the generation; as the generation, so the leader. - Talmud Yerushalmi, Arachim 17a

The URJ is governed by a North American Board of up to 150 members-at-large plus Executive Board members, Ex-Officio members, and Honorary members that works in close partnership with the URJ Chair, the URJ President, the Senior Leadership, and other members of the professional staff. The North American Board also includes representatives of HUC-JIR, CCAR, and recognized movement partners, professional organizations, and affiliates. The North American Board, whose members are elected by the General Assembly, will meet no fewer than two times per year and the Executive Board, whose members are elected by the North American Board, will meet at such time and place and in such manner as the URJ Chair will designate. 

The General Assembly is the legislative body of the URJ and its highest authority, composed of representatives from each congregation comprising the URJ.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

President, URJ
Rabbi Rick Jacobs (he/him) is president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the most powerful force in North American Jewish life.

Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie

President Emeritus
Installed as president in June 1996, Rabbi Yoffie (he/him) led the Reform Movement in exciting new directions, moving congregational life toward greater attention to Torah study and adult literacy.

Julie Levi Lerner

Executive Vice President
Julie Levi Lerner (she/her) is a strategic, dynamic, and galvanizing leader who has a proven track record guiding complex organizations to grow while keeping focused on the things that matter most.

Ruben Arquilevich

Vice President, URJ Camps, NFTY, and Immersives
Ruben Arquilevich (he/him) leads a team of stellar Camp and Youth professionals through North America and Israel who together mobilize over 20,000 youth, teens, parents, young adults and faculty to create a more just, compassionate, inclusive and sustainable world.

Seth Cohen

Vice President, Business Strategy & Management
Seth Cohen (he/him) works closely with the finance and operations teams, as well as program and lay leaders, to bring to life the important work of the URJ.

Melissa S. Johnson

General Counsel and Vice President, People, Culture, and Risk Management
Missy Johnson (she/her) is responsible for developing and executing strategy in support of the priorities of the organization, specifically in the areas of ethics accountability, risk management, legal compliance, talent development, performance management, employee engagement, succession planning and compensation.

Rabbi Esther L. Lederman

Vice President, Leaders in Action
Rabbi Esther L. Lederman (she/her) serves as Vice President of Leaders in Action at the URJ. Prior to that role, she was the URJ’s Director of Congregational Innovation & Leadership.

Yonatan Meir

Chief Information Officer
Yonatan Meir (he/him) is accountable for defining and delivering the IT strategy and capability across the URJ and leveraging technology solutions that position the URJ for growth

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner

Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Senior Vice President, Union for Reform Judaism
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner (he/him) serves as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and has led the Religious Action Center since 2015. Rabbi Pesner also serves as Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism, a position to which he was appointed in 2011.

Cathy Rolland

Vice President, Congregational Services & Community Vibrancy
Cathy M Rolland RJE (she/her) is the URJ's Vice President of North American Congregational Services and Community Vibrancy, leading a team that provides value-added offerings and experiences for URJ-affiliated congregations and communities.

Yolanda Savage-Narva

Vice President, Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI)
Yolanda Savage-Narva (she/her) is the vice president of Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) for the Union for Reform Judaism. For more than 20 years, Yolanda collaborated with Tribal governments to strengthen public health systems, promoted pedestrian safety and advocacy and coining the phrase, “Walking is a civil right,” and advancing health equity in states and territories.

Riva Silverman

Vice President of External Relations
Riva Silverman (she/her) joined the URJ as the Vice President for Philanthropy. She has worked in the non-profit and philanthropy sectors for nearly 30 years and has held senior leadership positions at the New Israel Fund, American Jewish World Service and, most recently, HIAS.

Rabbi Josh Weinberg

Vice President, Israel and Reform Zionism and Executive Director, ARZA
Rabbi Josh Weinberg (he/him) serves as the Vice President of the URJ for Israel and Reform Zionism and is the Executive Director of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America

Commissions, Committees, and Task Forces

Lay and professional leaders of the Reform Movement lend their talent and expertise to joint commissions, on which the Union is joined by the CCAR, HUC-JIR, and other Reform organizations. Through their deliberations, the commissions help determine the Movement's position on critical issues affecting every Reform Jew, such as social justice and political concerns and the role of the non-Jew in synagogue life. There are also several standing committees of the board (i.e. Budget, Investment, Operations). In addition, task forces are formed as needed to work during a given period of time around a specific charge. Their work results in recommendations to the board.

Board of Trustees

The board is comprised of lay leaders who belong to URJ congregations across the U.S. and Canada as well as representatives of the HUC-JIR, CCAR, and several affiliate organizations.

View the Roster

Executive Board

The members of the Executive Board are elected by the Board of Trustees.

View the Roster

Constitution and Bylaws

The constitution adopted at the 39th Council of the Union, March 3-6, 1946, and all subsequent amendments.