Transformative leader

Transformative leader

We are past presidents and leaders of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. We are ardent Zionists, deeply committed to a Jewish democratic State of Israel in secure and recognized borders. Some of us identify ourselves with J Street, others with AIPAC, and others with neither.

However, one should not doubt the firm commitment of each of us to the welfare of the Jewish state and Jewish people. In that respect, we are typical of the broad spectrum of pro-Israel involvements that characterize the Reform movement.

We enthusiastically support the choice of Rabbi Richard Jacobs to succeed Rabbi Eric Yoffie as president of the Union for Reform Judaism and are deeply dismayed at the unwarranted attacks that have been leveled against him (“Reform’s new leader on pro-Israel tightrope,” April 14).

Like Rabbis Eric Yoffie and Alexander Schindler before him, Rabbi Jacobs has made the welfare, security, and democratic character of Israel a prime focus of his rabbinate. He is an ohev Yisrael (a lover of Israel) of the first order.

What we need today are Jewish leaders in Israel and North America who will not hesitate to struggle with the difficult questions of peacemaking and human rights, while firmly committed to the security of Israel. Rick Jacobs is such a leader. He speaks his mind independently and with unswerving integrity.

Rabbi Jacobs has had an incredibly successful career as a congregational rabbi, national leader and innovator. At this challenging moment in Jewish history, we look forward to his transformational leadership. We fully support him and congratulate the leadership of the Union for Reform Judaism who selected him.

Rabbi Steven A. Fox, CCAR chief executive; Rabbi Jonathan Stein, CCAR president; former CCAR presidents Rabbis Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, Peter Knobel, Harry Danziger, Janet Marder, Martin Weiner, Charles A. Kroloff, Richard N. Levy, Simeon J. Maslin, Sheldon Zimmerman, Walter Jacob, Samuel E. Karff, Herman E. Schaalman; Rabbi Donald Berlin, past chair, CCAR/URJ/HUC Joint Commission on Rabbinical Placement; Rabbi Deborah Prinz, CCAR director of program and member services; Rabbi Hara Person, CCAR publisher and director of press; Rabbi Lennard R. Thal, CCAR interim director of rabbinic placement

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