Our community is nervous. The delegitimization campaign against Israel has traveled beyond the borders of Arab states and the Third World to Western European societies, and it's even finding a beachhead in North America. Even within the Jewish community there are increasing numbers whose discomfort with Israel’s policies has morphed into alienation.
An angry exchange over the Zionist credentials of the incoming president of the Reform movement has intensified and exploded onto the public stage. The conflict pits the movement’s leadership against a group of dissidents who say they represent a growing number of Reform Jews upset by the movement’s “leftward shift.”
In the current issue of The Jewish Journal, there is an advertisement taken out by “Reform Jews who want the Reform Movement to stand with Israel.” This advertisement asserts that Rabbi Richard Jacobs, the President-designate of the Union for Reform Judaism, “does not represent the pro-Israel policies cherished by Reform Jews.” We vehemently disagree with this distorted caricature of Rabbi Jacobs and his attitudes toward Israel.
For the man tapped to lead American Jewry’s largest religious denomination, keeping the movement’s 900-plus synagogues welcoming to the unaffiliated, inspiring for members and a home for disaffected traditional Jews may require a high-wire balancing act. As a former dancer and choreographer, Rabbi Richard Jacobs may be just the guy.