We are so excited to have Rabbi Rick Jacobs at Solel on Friday evening, February 2 — starting at 6:30 for a wine and cheese reception. Everyone is invited. In last month’s Pathfinder, we gave you information on Rick’s background. This month, we have some additional perspectives. We had the privilege of interviewing Rick in mid-January and learned some interesting things.
Q: We assume your role as President of the Union for Reform Judaism keeps you on the road quite a bit. How frequently do you spend Shabbat at home?
A: One of the things l take very seriously and love most about my role is the opportunity to interact with congregations and congregational leaders across North America. To that point, I am probably celebrating Shabbat in a congregation other than my own three out of every four Shabbatot. That means I celebrate Shabbat at home about once a month.
Q: You’ve met some interesting people in your role. Who would you say was the most memorable?
A: Is this at trick question? I have met many world leaders and dignitaries. But, probably my most memorable visit was with the Pope last Spring. I was so honored to be invited into the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City when I was there for a conference on the migrant crisis. The Pope was so gracious. We discussed our mutual mentor, Rabbi Marshall Meyer, the refugee crisis, and we blessed each other at the end. It is a meeting I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Q: What parashat reading resonates most with you?
A: That’s not really a fair question to ask a rabbi!However, I must say that Lech Lecha — go forth! (Genesis 12:1) is a reading I go back to quite frequently. A traditional Jewish commentator suggests that “Lech Lecha” means “go forth to find your authentic self, to learn who you are meant to be.” Learning who you are meant to be is the same thing as finding your calling.
A: Well, I’m not exactly expecting balmy weather. I am honored to help the congregation mark its 60th. And I am looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. See you soon.