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Rabbi Rick Jacobs on stage at the URJ Biennial

Editor's note: Rabbi Rick Jacobs presented this address before a live audience at the 2019 Union for Reform Judaism Biennial, the largest Jewish gathering in North America. Watch the video of his address below, or visit URJ.org to read the full text.

Did you ever wonder what happened to the 10 Lost Tribes of ancient Israel? In 721 B.C.E., they disappeared. Poof. Gone. 

Imagine if we could find them today? Our Jewish community could increase to as many as 85 million worldwide. 

But demographers tell us that our numbers are not...

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Pile of rugelach

For the past few years, a couple of times a year, I gather on a pre-arranged Friday morning to bake in my kitchen in Jerusalem with two special friends: Rabbi Hara Person and Noga Tarnopolsky. Hara is the chief executive of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the professional organization of the North American rabbinate, and Noga is a well-respected journalist who currently writes about Israel and the Middle East for the Los Angeles Times.

Once we baked a variety of challot (plural of challah). Last year we made babka. And just a few...

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Happy couple holding hands in front of the silhouette of the US Capitol building

A few years ago, a friend joked with me that serving on the board of NFTY – The Reform Jewish Youth Movement as a high schooler was the “best career move” I ever made. While I laughed off his joke at the time, the truth is, he was right – albeit with an addendum: Being introduced to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) while serving on NFTY’s board was the best thing that could have happened for my career.

I spent my high school years going to camp, serving on NFTY regional board, and meeting Reform...

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Protesters marching; one carrying a sign that says women's rights are human rights

In the spring of 2019, an alarming surge in anti-abortion legislation was present in state legislatures across the U.S. Nine states enacted gestational age bans on abortion, many as early as six weeks – before most individuals even know they are pregnant. Fortunately, all bans have been blocked by federal judges from taking effect for the time being.

Four states adopted...

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Hand holding a smartphone with a large DONATE button

We live in difficult times, and as a progressive Reform Jew who cares deeply about injustice and human rights, I sit in frustration and horror at the atrocities unfolding daily. I wonder, like so many others, what can I do?

My Judaism tells me I need to do something. It propels me, especially as a person of privilege, such that I must act.

In recent years, I’ve become particularly concerned about continued crises in immigration, gun violence, and reproductive rights. Beyond signing petitions and showing up to marches, I began to feel a pull to do more. As a fundraiser, I...

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