Israel Features & Resources

New Head of Reform Movement To Meet With Israeli Prime Minister

Rabbi Rick Jacobs to Meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres; Speak at Peres Conference; Attend JAFI Assembly; Visit Reform Youth Programs & Congregations


Annette Powers
Mobile: 917-225-4857

Yuli Goren
Mobile: 0547791117

June 19, 2012, New York -- Rabbi Rick Jacobs , the newly installed President of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) will be in Israel from June 19 – July 3, 2012 , for a series of events and meetings. He will be available for press interviews throughout his visit.

While in Israel, Rabbi Jacobs will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and a host of other influential leaders. He will also spend time with members from the Israel Movement for Reform & Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), the umbrella organization of all the Reform communities and institutions in Israel.

Rabbi Jacobs will speak on a panel at The Israeli Presidential Conference (Peres Conference) on June 20 at 4:30 PM entitled, “The Challenge of Being Jewish in the Diaspora.” Visit the conference website for more information including live broadcasts. Rabbi Jacobs will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu on Tuesday morning, June 26 .

Rabbi Jacobs will also attend the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Assembly and will visit the Reform Movement’s Tikkun Olam program for college graduates in Jaffa, a Kesher Birthright Israel group and NFTY in Israel staff. He will also visit several Reform congregations.

About Rabbi Jacobs

Rabbi Rick Jacobs is the fourth president of the Union for Reform Judaism. Previously he served as a visionary spiritual leader at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY, where, during his 20-year tenure, he reshaped communal worship, transformed the congregation into a community of learners, and strengthened WRT’s commitment to inclusion. Prior to his service at WRT, Rabbi Jacobs served the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, where he founded the first synagogue-based homeless shelter in New York City.

Ordained in 1982 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York, Rabbi Jacobs received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity, also from HUC-JIR, in 2007. Deeply committed to Israel, Rabbi Jacobs is a senior rabbinic fellow at Jerusalem's Shalom Hartman Institute, where he has studied for two decades. A product of the Reform Movement, he has held numerous leadership posts within its institutions, as well as in Jewish communal organizations, including AJWS, UJA-Federation of New York, and Synagogue 3000.

Devoted to global social justice, Rabbi Jacobs visited Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake. He also has observed the plight of refugees in the Chad-Darfur border area, and has participated in an annual conference of Muslim and Christian leaders to build understanding between the West and the Muslim world.

Rabbi Jacobs lives in Scarsdale, NY with his wife, Susan K. Freedman, and their three children.

About the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is a dynamic network of congregations, institutions, lay leaders, clergy and professionals across North America that impacts the lives of millions of individuals every day. Our progressive, inclusive approach unites thousands of years of Jewish tradition and values with modern Jewish experience to strengthen Judaism today and for future generations. Through programs, information and networking opportunities provided by the URJ, our nearly 900 member congregations enhance their capacity to build and expand community, deepen Jewish learning, energize worship, pursue social justice and develop inspired leadership.

About the Israel Movement for Reform & Progressive Judaism (IMPJ)

The Israel Movement for Reform & Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) is the umbrella organization of all the Reform communities and institutions in Israel. We seek to integrate Jewish tradition with the realities of modern life, and believe in the right of each individual to shape their own Jewish way of life through a process of study and reflection. The Reform movement emphasizes the commandments concerning relations between humans, religious tolerance, and full equality between women and men in the synagogue and in all walks of life.