This summer has been a busy and historic one for the URJ. It’s been nearly two months since Rabbi Rick Jacobs was installed at president of the Union for Reform Judaism, taking the reins from Rabbi Eric Yoffie, who now serves as our president emeritus. For those of you who couldn’t be at the presidential installation, take a look at the videos we’ve recently posted from that inspiring service, also embedded below.

In a recent email to congregational leaders, URJ Chairman of the Board Steve Sacks suggested temple boards set aside time at their next meeting to watch the video together. We’ve even prepared some discussion questions to help you consider the installation in the context of your own congregations. A few of the suggested questions are below, but they’re not just for board members. We’d love to hear your answers to some of these questions in the comment section of this post.

  • Referring to what the Rev. Moore said, how have we spent more time glancing back to the past and not looking toward the future? How can we change that?
  • Why do you think Rabbi Jacobs included movement or dance as part of the installation? How can we re-imagine our services?
  • Does this installation look different than you might have expected? How? What do you think this says about the new leadership of the URJ?
  • The new NFTY Board President Evan Traylor read three Torah portions at the installation and NFTY Board Members were invited to march during the Torah service at installation. How can we involve more teens in our services?
  • How can we join Rabbi Jacobs and the URJ in building a brighter Jewish future?
  • In Rabbi Jacobs’ sermon, he says, “This Shabbat afternoon service reflects the openness and passion of our uniquely Reform spirituality.” How can our services reflect the openness and passion of our community’s unique Reform spirituality?
  • In his sermon, Rabbi Jacobs also says, “The sacred mission of our Movement transcends the walls of the synagogue, and we must get that message out to all who want to join us on our journey of hope and healing in the world.” How can we transcend the walls of our synagogue and reach out and invite others to join us?
  • And finally, in Rabbi Jacobs’ installation sermon, Rabbi Jacobs says, “Guarding Israel’s security is our sacred responsibility. So too is the need to ensure that the values we hold dear – equality, tolerance, pluralism, democracy – are understood and protected in Israel.” What is our congregation doing to stand up for Israel while also ensuring that Israel protects and supports all expressions of Judaism?

Take some time to think these questions over… and then let us know what’s on your mind!