Welcome From Our Leadership

Rabbi Rick Jacobs


Daryl Messinger

Chair, North American Board

We are delighted to present the Union for Reform Judaism’s 2018 annual report. Like last year’s report, it is an interactive, online snapshot of our continued work to create welcoming communities, train leaders for Reform Jewish life, help build and sustain a pluralistic, democratic Israel, and champion Jewish values, including tikkun olam and audacious hospitality.


The Reform Movement, the largest, most diverse movement in North American Jewish life, builds communities locally and globally, providing a spiritual home for all those who wish to join us as we learn, worship, march, and celebrate together.


As you click through these pages, you will see highlights of our many accomplishments in 2018. Some are born of opportunity and some of tragedy. Sadly the latter – particularly the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh that took 11 lives – has changed our thinking about community in significant ways. No matter their origin, however, all our endeavors are informed by our mandate to seek justice and create a compassionate, whole world – for ourselves and future generations.


Whether you are a family with young children, a young adult setting out to find your way in the world, or a longtime congregational leader, the URJ is here to create, sustain, and enrich your communal Jewish home.


We live online – through our websites, webinars, podcasts, and more – and are deeply embedded in synagogues across North America. From our camps to our congregations and from our justice and advocacy work to our inventive outreach and youth movement, we are reaching out, mobilizing, and building capacity to maintain and strengthen our vibrant, rich community that speaks eloquently and powerfully to Jewish life today.


2018 was an important year for the URJ. Throughout and in essential and meaningful ways, our generous donors, nearly 850 member congregations, program participants, and online visitors helped us move closer to creating the world we wish to see.


It was a year of deepening relationships with people seeking to explore or enrich their own connections to Judaism, nurturing partnerships in all facets of congregational life, and supporting and strengthening ties between the North American and Israeli Reform Jewish communities.


Nonetheless, many challenges and obstacles remain before our vision can be completely fulfilled. To do that, we encourage you to find a Jewish home within our communities, where your whole, true self will be accepted and appreciated and where you’ll find abundant opportunities for spiritual growth, shelter, guidance, learning, knowledge, and joy.


Within these pages, may you find a welcoming place for your Jewish life and your Jewish soul, and by engaging in this sacred work together, may we create a world that strengthens us all.




Rick and Daryl