A Reform rabbi explains her decision to begin uniting interfaith couples under the chuppah.
Rabbi Marci Bellows
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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There has been a great deal of press lately about interfaith marriages within the Jewish community, including an article by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism in which he proclaimed that young people “must hear from their Jewish leaders that interfaith couples can be and are supported in their effort to raise deeply committed Jewish families.”
Hundreds of us – Jews of all ages, nationalities, sexual orientations, and backgrounds – moved in unison. Our right arms reached backwards towards the past, then we each moved both hand, reaching forward toward the future, grasping at it, and bringing it close to our hearts. Choreographer Liz Lerman led the group in a symbolic dance that expressed many of the feelings of the group as we celebrated the installation of incoming URJ President, Rabbi Rick Jacobs.
In switch to ‘networked’ approach, new head fires 30 employees and announces plans for specialists and consultants.
The umbrella group serving Reform movement congregations is making organizational changes including firing and hiring in order to bring its structure in line with the priorities of its new leader, Rabbi Rick Jacobs.
Rabbi Jacobs assumed the position at the movement’s 2011 Biennial meeting in December, when he also announced a new emphasis on both outreach to those unaffiliated with a synagogue and connection with teens. Within a year of a child’s bar or bat mitzvah, 50 percent of Reform families withdraw from synagogue life, Rabbi Jacobs said then.
Faced with a member dropout problem and internal dissent from prominent leaders, the Union of Reform Judaism is undergoing another round of restructuring, its second since 2008.
The country’s largest Jewish denomination, the URJ is both hiring and firing staff in order to bring its structure more in line with the priorities of its new leader, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, who assumed the position at the movement’s 2011 Biennial meeting.