A New URJ President and the Reform Commitment to Engaging Interfaith Families

We want to congratulate Rabbi Rick Jacobs on being chosen as the next president of the Union for Reform Judaism.

When the retirement of the current president, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, was announced, I wrote about my mixed feelings. While I applauded many of Rabbi Yoffie’s initiatives, the Reform movement’s record on engaging interfaith families during his leadership was disappointing due to reductions in staff dedicated to helping Reform synagogues attract and welcome interfaith couples and families.

I’ve read everything I can find about Rabbi Jacobs since the announcement this afternoon and haven’t seen any mention of his involvement with the Reform movement’s past outreach efforts or his personal practices with respect to people in interfaith relationships. At this point I can only hope that Rabbi Jacobs will be receptive to my respectful suggestion when Rabbi Yoffie’s retirement was announced: that the number of intermarried couples that would be in a Jewish framework would be far, far greater if the Reform movement gave engaging them the priority it deserves.

We certainly wish him well as he prepares to take on this very significant responsibility.

This post originally appeared on www.interfaithfamily.com and is reprinted with permission.