Rick Jacobs

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Rick Jacobs

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the next president of the Union for Reform Judaism, has for 20 years been the dynamic, visionary spiritual leader at Westchester Reform Temple (WRT) in Scarsdale, New York.

During his time as senior rabbi of WRT, Rabbi Jacobs has left an indelible mark on the congregation by dramatically reshaping the communal worship and strengthening the community’s commitment to making the congregation vibrant and inclusive. Through a partnership with the WRT leadership, he transformed the congregation into a community of lifelong learners as part of the first cohort of Experiment in Congregational Education. This program of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion guides congregations to revitalization by bringing Jewish learning to every aspect of congregational life. Also, under his leadership, WRT recently completed a new “green” sanctuary, making it one of only a handful of Jewish houses of worship in the nation to carry this designation.

Rabbi Jacobs was ordained in 1982 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York, where he was the recipient of numerous excellence awards. In 2007, he received his Doctorate of Divinity. Rabbi Jacobs is also a senior rabbinic fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Jacobs is also a former member of the board of trustees and the executive committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). As a member of its governance task force, he was instrumental in restructuring and reorganizing the CCAR into a more effective and mission-driven organization. He also served on the boards of a number of Jewish organizations, including the American Jewish World Service, UJA-Federation of New York and the New Israel Fund. He has been a board member of Synagogue 2000 since its 1996 inception, and has continued until recently in that role with its successor organization, Synagogue 3000. There he has worked to lead the transformation of North American congregational life.
Rabbi Jacobs, formerly a dancer and choreographer with the Avodah Dance Ensemble, lives in Scarsdale with his wife, Susan K. Freedman, and their three children.