By Rabbi Rick Jacobs
President, Union for Reform Judaism
…I’m delighted to share the next installment of stories from my first trip to Israel as the URJ’s president….
…It was my meetings with young people, though, that filled me with so much hope for our future. I spoke to the first-year class of rabbinic, cantorial, and education students at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem, where I also saw the next generation of Israeli-born Reform rabbis ready to face the challenges and opportunities before them.
In Tel Aviv, I met with a group of young activists in their 20s and 30s from Tikkun Olam, a MASA program for post-collegiates who work in schools and non-profits that support disadvantaged youth, both Jewish and Arab. Study of Hebrew and Jewish texts frames the participants’ work.
That same day, I met with a group of young people from Washington Hebrew Congregationwho were participants on a URJ Kesher Birthright Israel trip. Having just returned from Israel’s Independence Hall, they were infused with the idealistic spirit that created our remarkable Jewish state. I made them my newest advisers, asking them what Reform Judaism as a movement should be doing to help them sustain their love for Israel, enrich their Jewish souls, and nurture their commitment to justice and meaningful engagement with the world. I expect to hear from them—and from all of you—as we continue our journey together.