Archive by Author
Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Two-Fold High Holiday Prep: Our Congregations and Ourselves



As congregational leaders, you may find that the month of Elul and the High Holidays fly by in a whirl of logistical details – arranging for tickets, ensuring enough chairs, assigning aliyot, planning the community’s break-the-fast – necessary to ensure meaningful worship for members and visitors alike. That is indeed holy work. In your role, […]

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Honoring Congregations that are Leading the Way on Disabilities Inclusion



The Reform Movement is exceptionally proud of Rabbi Lynne Landsberg, senior advisor on disabilities issues at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, who was recently presented with the Thornburgh Family Award in recognition of her years of service on behalf of people with disabilities. As the inaugural recipient of this award, Rabbi Landsberg was […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

4 Surprising Ways Camp Connects Us All



Sports, games, art and science projects. Swimming, hiking, climbing. Laughing, learning, sharing. It’s these activities, and more, that transform summer camp into one of the strongest links in the Reform Movement’s chain of connections. In fact, summertime for the URJ is like one huge game of connect-the-dots. Connecting current campers with alumni. Connecting clergy with […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Israel: Front and Center



As we all wait for word about the future of the critical talks between Iran and the P5+1 in Vienna, I want to share a few thoughts about my recent time in Israel, meeting with politicians, fellow Reform Movement leaders, and some of the talented individuals staffing our Israel programs this summer. It was a […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Leadership Development: Experience the Continuum and Commitment at Biennial 2015



In my experience, synagogue leaders are among the most committed and devoted lifelong learners. With that in mind, I’m especially pleased that a large segment of the Biennial 2015 programming will offer congregational leaders the real-world skills and cutting-edge tools necessary to effect tangible and lasting change in their communities. In fact, the first two-and-a-half […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Shavuot: Celebration and Obligation



In just a few days, we will conclude this year’s counting of the Omer with the celebration of Shavuot, the first of our tradition’s three annual pilgrimage festivals, and the one that has come to be associated with the giving of Torah atop Mt.Sinai, as well as with confirmation and post b’nai mitzvah study. The […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Reform Jewish Leaders: Strong, Creative, and Inspiring Agents of Change



I have been fortunate to spend time in recent weeks with an array of Reform leaders, including nearly 100 congregational presidents at our annual Schiedt Seminar and many of the newest and soon-to-be HUC ordinees and graduates – clergy, educators, and Jewish professionals who are eager and exceedingly well qualified to help reshape the Reform […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Unconditionally Loving Israel and Jewish Values



This speech was given tonight at the JStreet Conference in Washington, D.C. We gather at a pivotal moment in the history of Israel. It is precisely at such a time that the North American Jewish community is in desperate need of an open, honest and serious conversation about the Jewish state. I believe that this […]

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Rabbi Jacobs Reports from NFTY Convention



I dare any of those who are uneasy about the North American Jewish future to maintain their pessimism after spending, as I have just done, 72 hours with the teen leaders of our Movement at the 2015 NFTY Convention and Youth Summit in Atlanta. I attend a lot of conferences, and I have never walked […]

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Signs of Hope for the Future: A Promising Meeting in Israel



I’m writing from an airplane (for a change!), heading home after an unexpected 36 hours in Israel, including an important meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I was not planning on being in Israel this week. Natan Sharansky called just before Shabbat with a summons to come to Israel to find a way to make real […]

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An Update on “Stop the Sirens”



As you know, the conflict in Gaza has intensified. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Israeli soldiers killed in action, with our brothers and sisters in Israeli, and with all who are in danger. When the conflict began, the Reform Movement made a decision to join Stop the Sirens, a community-wide […]

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Celebrating NFTY’s Diamond Jubilee



Taking the words of the prophet Joel as the refrain of her 1981 classic song “And The Youth Shall See Visions,” Debbie Friedman captured the role of young people in our Movement: And the old shall dream dreams, and the youth shall see visions, And our hopes shall rise up to the sky. For 75 […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Why I Support J Street Joining the Conference of Presidents (Hint: It’s Not about J Street)



This week the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations will meet to consider the application for membership from J Street. J Street, which calls itself “the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans,” has successfully completed all the administrative requirements for membership. The Conference – which exists to bring together the entire Jewish, pro-Israel community […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

What Is Audacious Hospitality?



The Jewish people is here today because those who came before us were audacious. By that I mean courageous, fearless, and bold. Genesis teaches us to practice audacious hospitality. On a blisteringly hot day, Abraham runs after three desert wanderers, insisting they come inside for nourishment. What makes his act so memorable is not waiting […]

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