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May 16, 2014 1:05 pm

Reform Jews Accuse Movement’s Head of ‘Divisive’ Leadership Over J Street Issue

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An advertisement in which 41 Reform Jews accuse Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) President Rabbi Rick Jacobs of "divisive" leadership for his threat to pull URJ out of the Conference of Presidents over the rejection of J Street. Credit: Jews Against Divisive Leadership.

JNS.org More than 40 Reform Jews accused the head of the movement’s umbrella organization of “divisive” leadership over his threat to pull out of the Conference of President’s of American Jewish Organizations after the Conference rejected J Street’s membership application.

Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) President Rabbi Rick Jacobs, a former member of J Street’s Rabbinic Cabinet, stated following the Conference’s April 30 vote, “We may choose to advocate for a significant overhaul of the Conference of Presidents’ processes. We may choose to simply leave the Conference of Presidents. But this much is certain: We will no longer acquiesce to simply maintaining the facade that the Conference of Presidents represents or reflects the views of all of American Jewry.”

An advertisement signed by 41 Reform Jews that appears in this week’s edition of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles says, “We warned you Rabbi Rick Jacobs would be a divisive leader. We told you that he would use his position to bolster the anti-Israel J Street. … But we did not know quite how divisive Rabbi Jacobs would be. We did not expect that when he failed to persuade the Conference of Presidents to accept J Street as a major Jewish organization—which it is not—he would threaten to take URJ out of the Conference and ask others to leave, too, over differences about Israel foreign policy.”

“The URJ needs to hear from you: Tell Rabbi Jacobs to return to what he was hired to do,” says the ad, which was paid for by a group called Jewish Against Divisive Leadership.

URJ was among the 17 Conference of Presidents member groups that voted in favor of J Street’s application. Twenty-two Conference members voted against J Street, which had needed 34 affirmative votes to join the 50-member Conference.

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  • Michael Rahimi

    What a ridiculous Ad. I have known Rick Jacobs for over 15 years (I am a congregant at Westchester Reform Temple). Not only is he my Rabbi, but one of the most moral people I know. He is a consensus builder, not devisive. He has a great love of Israel and the Jewish People.

    I have also lived in Israel for almost a decade (in the 1950’s/60’s), visit regularly and have a large family living there. I love the country very much, but can also be critical of some of it’s actions. What drove the wedge was the action of The President’s Council, not Rabbi Jacobs, we can disagree with each other, but must stand together not cut ourselves up into factions.

  • Bill Stern

    At least there are some reform Jews that are rebelling Bravo finally someone is fighting back against Jstreet

  • Mike P

    Reform Jews average 1.3 children, marry out at rates of 70 percent, and only 10 percent of children of intermarriages raise children as Jews. So Reform Judaism is declining at a rate of over 60 percent every 30 years. It will decline by 83 percent in 60 years, other than for those of its members who are not halachically Jewish.

    So Reform Judaism is sort of like the walking dead. They simply want to exit stage-left (so to speak) in comfort, going silently into the night. Don’t hassle them about standing up for Israel. The 40 signatories to this letter are honorable, however, they are few in number.

  • Inna Kreer

    It is terrifying that 17 Conference of Presidents member groups (50%)voted in favor of J Street’s application.
    J Street people know very well what they are doing. Together with other supporters of BDS they will
    be allowed to march in the Celebrate Israel Parade on June 1, despite of all of the objections. History repeats itself. The major enemy of Israel is not Iran or Palestinians, but these self-hating Jews.

  • Dov

    Let the Reform group leave, we can do without them…

    • Inna Kreer

      They will not leave, that’s the case. They are bought and paid for.

  • .

    Bernhard Rosenberg –

    I LOST MY JOB AT RUTGERS BECAUSE AN ANTI-SEMITIC PERSON BROUGHT A RIDICULOUS CHARGE AGAINST ME ( I believe a Muslim) THEY REFUSE TO GIVE OUT THE NAME, BUT ONLY A MUSLIM DROPPED OUT OF MY CLASS. SAME THING HAPPENED AT MIDDLESEX BUT THAT MUSLIM WAS NOT BELIEVED. I YELL AND SCREAM BUT WHO CARES. I AM VERY ANGRY ABOUT RUTGERS WHICH IS FULL OF ANTI-SEMITSM
    Subject: Fwd: I HAVE BEEN SAYING THIS FOR YEARS. IT IS MORE THAN HALF OF THE WORLD THAT IS ANTI-SEMITIC. .

    PLEASE SHARE I have been called every name in the book, I continue to fight.

    Bernhard Rosenberg

    We Jews are our worst enemy. IF WE ELECT HILARY AS PRESIDENT IT WILL PROVE JEWS HATE JEWS ALSO. I WAS PRESIDENT OF JEWS FOR ROMNEY . LOOK WHAT THE LIBERALS DID TO US BY ELECTING OBAMA TWICE. WE MUST KEEP ISRAEL STRONG. I lost most of my family in the holocaust including two siblings and grandparents, aunts and uncles. MY parents of blessed memory were in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. I will fight. Never again can another holocaust be allowed to occur. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

    • Andrew

      Why didn’t you take them to court if your firing was illegal?

      • JOHN TRAIN

        @ ANDREW

        As Christian I see this game played over and over at Irvine, at UCLA, at Berkeley, etc.

        The University will deploy massive resources and Rabbi Rosenberg will be smeared and numerous witnesses will be created to defame him.

    • Joseph Australia

      The Soviet Union, who wanted to destroy the West without fighting, financed the Left wing causes in Academia and elsewhere in Western countries.

      When it fell, they sought funding from the oil rich Islamist’s, whose also sole reason for existence was the destruction of Western civilization, and especially the USA and Israel.

      The Left in Western Academia, who rile against pro Israelis are the main apologists for the Islamist’s is only because they unfairly mostly have tenure. Strip away their tenure, and these so called Professors, who still believe that the 1930s Marx and Stalin’s teachings must be emulated in modern society today. These so called ‘Professors’ do not even have employable skills like cleaning toilets! They remain at the Universities, but are beholden to the petro dollars.

      It is simply mind blowing that J Street (Or Jihad Street to the uninitiated) with its dubious sources of antisemitic funding is so feted like the lost cousin.

      Would the reform movement sleep well if they found out that some of this funding comes from Iran?

  • rulierose

    I love it! the Left eating its own. about time Reform Jews noticed that there was something rotten in the state of liberal Judaism.

    an open invitation to all my Reform brothers and sisters: not only is there room for you at a conservative or Orthodox shul, we’d also love to have you in the Republican Party. you might find you like it here.

    • judorebbe

      Great comment. Yasher koach, and thank you.

  • Mickey Oberman

    Is the rabbi employed by J Street?

    He is doing exactly what they would do – drive a wedge between Jews.

  • Emanuel

    Good for them, J Street is a sham tool of the left and I am glad to see some reform Jews reject them for the fraud they are. The question becomes, to what extent are reform and conservative Judaism used by the leftist agenda generally to degrade American values under everyone’s nose in plain sight?

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