The Holocaust is an important topic not only in Jewish history, but in the history of humankind. The topic is disturbing, and it is appropriate to feel uncomfortable and upset by the stories, the facts, and especially the images.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, released the following statement after learning of the death of Elie Wiesel.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), sent the following letter to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump today in response to statements attributed to his campaign about foreign policy regarding a two-state solution.
New York, NY; July 7, 2016 -- Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ), wrote an open letter yesterday to the campaign of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in response to comments made to CNN by campaign adviser David Friedman about a two-state solution in the Middle East.
Mr. Friedman's comments about the campaign's views on Israel mark a significant departure from the policies of the governments of both the United States and Israel, as well as the traditional positions of both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Mr. Friedman's detailed reply to Rabbi Jacobs' letter raises additional questions and concerns. The URJ has posted Mr. Friedman's letter in its entirety below. Rabbi Jacobs has written annotations to the letter which are shown attributed to Union for Reform Judaism.
In response to the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the deaths of the five police officers in Dallas, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
The following letter was sent yesterday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the negotiating team supporting implementation of the agreement to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel (Western Wall in Jerusalem) - Yizhar Hess, Masorti Movement; Anat Hoffman, Women of the Wall; Rabbi Rick Jacobs, Union for Reform Judaism; Batya Kallus, Women of the Wall; Rabbi Gilad Kariv, Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism; Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, The Rabbinic Assembly; and Rabbi Steve Wernick, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
The letter from the American and Israeli leaders states that “Given the impasse at the Kotel, the pending mikvaot legislation, and the ongoing hateful rhetoric and actions of the Haredi members of the government, the Reform and Conservative Movements intend, in the very near future, to bring a petition to the Supreme Court demanding the reapportionment of the northern plaza prayer space from a men’s and women’s section to three sections: men, women, and mixed.”
It goes on to say “We appreciate the commitment you expressed to implementing the Kotel agreement, yet we expect you to close the gap between your statements and the actions of your government. We look forward to the day when headlines feature not hateful, demeaning stories of ultra-Orthodox intransigence but rather how PM Netanyahu courageously led the Israeli government to affirm the multiple ways Jews express their Jewish commitment at our people’s holiest site.”
The letter concludes with a quotation from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to the 2015 JFNA General Assembly: “I want to guarantee one thing to each and every one of you: As Prime Minister of Israel, I will always ensure that all Jews can feel at home in Israel – Reform Jews, Conservative Jews, Orthodox Jews – all Jews.”
New York, NY; July 14, 2016 -- ReformJudaism.org, the flagship website of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), has launched the English translations of every Torah portion to benefit the site’s two million annual visitors. The launch of these English translations of the Torah, Judaism’s most sacred text, is a significant achievement on behalf of users who want to read a modern translation.
Late last night, the Israeli Knesset passed a law instigated by ultra-Orthodox leadership to overturn a recent Supreme Court decision banning discrimination against non-Orthodox converts from state-funded mikvaot (ritual baths), which are integral to the conversion process. The Supreme Court case was brought by the Israel Religious Action Center, on behalf of both the Reform and Conservative movements. This new legislation is expressly meant as an attack on the role of the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements in religious practice in Israel.
The Wholly Jewish podcast from ReformJudaism.org explores what we all have in common as we live and balance complex and nuanced identities. It’s these varied identities that, when braided together, make us wholly ourselves – and “Wholly Jewish.”