We celebrated our 30th anniversary 2015! In honor of this milestone, we profiled 30 remarkable leaders who have partnered with AJWS to build a better world. These are but a few of the thousands who have raised their voices worldwide with our support, changing the lives of millions for the better.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs
Leading a Jewish movement with faith in global justice
Rabbi Rick Jacobs’ activism springs from his heart and his soul—and so it’s no surprise that he wears a token of this activism each time he prays. Every day, the leader of the Union for Reform Judaism wraps himself in a prayer shawl, or tallit, crafted from fabric he purchased just outside Darfur in 2005 on an AJWS mission to witness the devastation from the genocide then raging there.
Soon after that transformative journey with four other Jewish leaders led by Ruth Messinger, Rabbi Jacobs joined the AJWS board of trustees, enriching our work with his sharp mind, generous spirit and ceaseless commitment to pursuing justice.
In 2010, when a massive earthquake struck Haiti, he again went to the frontlines of our relief efforts, joining a delegation of American Jewish leaders who traveled with AJWS to Haiti to assess our response.
As the former longtime rabbi of Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York, and today as head of the Reform movement—the largest Jewish religious movement in North America—Rabbi Jacobs has constantly led his communities to work for social justice, both in the U.S. and around the world. His dedication is now having a ripple effect on the American Jewish landscape, shaping a generation of Jews who instinctively equate their Jewish identity with their responsibility to build a better world.
Of AJWS, he said:
“The Jewish world is blessed by the continued prophetic leadership of AJWS in making the world more just. From Darfur to Haiti to Burma to Washington—and beyond—AJWS is a powerful force for good, leaving a trail of goodwill and respect wherever they work. I can’t imagine a bright Jewish future without AJWS.”