December 2, 2022 -
In recent days, Rabbi Rick Jacobs was installed as President of the Union for Reform Judaism, our national organization of Reform movement synaogues. In commenting on the Torah portion Shelach Lecha, he said:
Like Caleb and Joshua, I acknowledge the obstacles facing the Jewish community. And like them I do not doubt that we can and will overcome them. We have a phenomenal opportunity to revitalize Jewish life. Rarely has Jewish history known an era of so much creativity or innovation. And no previous generation has possessed our resources and potential. I too say we can and we will prevail. I firmly believe that the best is yet to come.
In our parasha two distinct paths are offered: the optimism of Caleb and Joshua, who proclaimed “Yachol nuchal—Of course we can,” and the pessimism of the other scouts, who concluded, “Lo nuchal—no way can we possibly do this.” (Numbers 13:30-1)
I would add the path of hope. As Harvard professor Jerome Groopman has taught us, “Hope differs from optimism. Hope does not arise from being told to ‘think positively,’ or from hearing an overly rosy forecast. Hope…is rooted in unalloyed reality….Hope is the elevating feeling we experience when we see—in the mind’s eye—a path to a better future. Hope acknowledges the significant obstacles and deep pitfalls along that path. True hope has no room for delusion.”
I ask you today to join me in adopting a stance of hope for a better Jewish future. Will you?
The full text of Rabbi Jacobs remarks is found here:
Let us know your thoughts!