CCAR Statements

Central Conference of American Rabbis Deplores Assassination Attempt of Former President Donald J. Trump 

July 15, 2024

The Central Conference of American Rabbis deplores the attempt to assassinate Former President Donald J. Trump at a political rally. We grieve the death of Corey Comperatore, who was murdered in the incident, and we pray for the healing of the wounded. We are grateful that Former President Trump survived the assassination attempt and that he appears not to have been seriously injured. We pray for his רפואה שלימה (r’fuah sh’leimah), his complete recovery, and for the complete recovery of all those injured. 

We grieve, too, that our American society is plagued by increasing gun violence and increasing political violence. While we do not yet know what motivated the shooter, we state unequivocally: Violence has no place in the American democratic process.

Judaism’s teaching on the matter is simple and well known to virtually all Americans: “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). 

We commend President Biden’s order of an independent review of the security at the former president’s campaign rally in Pennsylvania. We must ensure that all who are engaged in the work of public service or who are running for office are safe. We call upon all people to join us in condemning political violence.  

Rabbi Erica Asch, President  
Rabbi Hara E. Person, Chief Executive 
Central Conference of American Rabbis 

Central Conference of American Rabbis Dismayed by President Biden’s Border Restrictions

June 5, 2024

The Central Conference of American Rabbis is dismayed by President Biden’s Executive Order, closing America’s southern border under a wide range of conditions and suspending the rights of refugees and asylum seekers yearning for America’s protection from life-threatening oppression in their countries of origin.

This Executive Order comes only a week after the centennial of the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924, which prohibited already-restricted immigration from Asia and, for the first time in American history, imposed quotas on immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe. That law was explicitly motivated by eugenics, a movement that claimed the supposed innate inferiority of Asians and Southern and Eastern Europeans. The Office of the Historian of the United States explains: “In all of its parts, the most basic purpose of the 1924 Immigration Act was to preserve the ideal of U.S. homogeneity.”[1]

The 1924 Immigration Act meant millions of European Jews were denied entry to the U.S. Similar laws prohibited the entry of Jews to Canada. These laws had disastrous consequences for European Jews who tried to flee before and during the Holocaust. America prides itself on being “the land of the free,” a refuge for human beings facing persecution at the hands of repressive regimes around the world. President Biden’s Executive Order, like the 1924 law that preceded it, closes the door to people who are desperately in need of asylum. It comes at a time of increasing claims that echo earlier false rhetoric about immigrants—that they are disruptive to purported American homogeneity and a threat to our country. Even though President Biden does not share that claim, we are concerned about this Order, especially during a time of heightened tensions.

No commandment is more often repeated in Torah than “remember the stranger, for you were strangers in Mitzrayim (Egypt).” Jews have been strangers in America too, and therefore, Reform rabbis raise our collective voice in support and concern for refugees and asylum seekers attempting to enter the United States at its southern border.

In the strongest terms, the CCAR calls on President Biden to rescind this ill-conceived Executive Order. We further call on Congress to reform American immigration law more broadly—to increase avenues for legal immigration to this country, to provide an immediate path to citizenship for DACA beneficiaries, and to craft a humane solution to the daily terror faced by millions of longtime non-citizen residents of the United States who fear deportation because they lack the legal documentation that permits them to remain with their families in this country.

Rabbi Erica Asch, President
Rabbi Hara E. Person, Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis


[1]  https://history.state.gov/milestones/1921-1936/immigration-act

Reform Movement Joint Statement: Conference of Presidents Members Rebut Statement on Majority Leader Schumer Meeting

March 20, 2024

We are deeply disturbed by the condemnatory statement issued yesterday by the Conference of Presidents (COP) following a meeting with Majority Leader Schumer. Though the critical COP statement was made in the name of the CEO and President, it claims to speak for COP “membership” when in fact it clearly fails to reflect the diversity of views within the COP. 

Each of us has slightly different takes on Senator Schumer’s speech: many of us welcomed his forceful condemnation of Hamas, his passionate call for the hostages’ release, his expression of pain for the humanitarian crisis gripping innocent Gazans, and his vivid critique of PM Netanyahu’s rejection of eventual demilitarized Palestinian statehood and sovereignty. Others have taken a different view. 

Nonetheless, following Sen. Schumer’s meeting yesterday with COP members, COP leaders chose to independently issue their unduly harsh missive, which was divisive and unfair. Their statement does not reflect the views of several member entities who support much of the important content of Sen. Schumer’s speech, or even those who disagreed with some of what he said but understood that this speech was a constructive critique made by one of the U.S. Congress’ most passionate champions of a strong and safe Israel. 

Since October 7, our community has been challenged in unprecedented ways. Each of us has sought to respond, leading by our commitment to a Jewish, democratic, pluralistic state of Israel. We and others have called for measures that ensure that Israel is strong and secure, that the hostages are released immediately, that humanitarian aid reaches Palestinians in Gaza, and that a future in which an Israeli and Palestinian state exist side by side in peace is not foreclosed. 

At this critical moment, we urge the COP to clarify the processes it follows in deciding when and how to speak with the goal of more effectively reflecting the diversity of legitimate views that our organizations hold.  The COP can play an essential role in that regard and in doing so it can foster debate that is, as our tradition teaches, “for the sake of heaven.” 

Organizations: 

Union for Reform Judaism
Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman (she/her)
Chair

Rabbi Rick Jacobs (he/him)
President

Ameinu
Kenneth Bob (he/him)
President

Americans for Peace Now
Hadar Susskind (he/him) 
President and CEO

Jim Klutznick (he/him)
Chair of the Board

Association of Reform Zionists of America  
Daryl Messinger (she/her)
Chair 

Rabbi Josh Weinberg (he/him)
Director 

Central Conference of American Rabbis 
Rabbi Erica Asch (she/her) 
President

Rabbi Hara E. Person (she/her) 
Chief Executive

Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Amy Spitalnick (she/her)
CEO

Leslie Dannin Rosenthal(she/her)
Board Chair

Jewish Labor Committee 
Stuart Appelbaum (he/him)
President 

Arieh Lebowitz (he/him)
Executive Director

Women of Reform Judaism  
Sara Charney (she/her)  
President 

Rabbi Liz P. G. Hirsch (she/her)  
Executive Director 

Individuals: 

Mark Hetfield (he/him)
President and CEO, HIAS

Jeff Blattner (he/him) 
Chair, HIAS

Central Conference of American Rabbis Condemns Alabama Supreme Court Ruling on the Status of Embryos

February 26, 2024

The Central Conference of American Rabbis is appalled by a recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos should be considered as children, and therefore, that destroying an embryo frozen for in vitro fertilization in a laboratory constitutes actionable death of a minor child. This ruling further attenuates reproductive freedom in a state where people must already travel great distances to access the full range of reproductive care. Alabama and neighboring states already enforce a total abortion ban or severely restrict abortion rights. This ruling means that residents of Alabama must now travel to access in vitro fertilization (IVF) in addition to reproductive healthcare.

As a result of this Supreme Court ruling, the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, the state’s largest hospital, has suspended all IVF procedures.  Additionally, two other centers have suspended IVF procedures, which is critical medical care for some individuals and couples who face challenges to their fertility. 

In his concurring opinion, Alabama Chief Justice Tom Parker makes explicit that the Court’s ruling is a religious, not a legal, act. He quotes Christian theologians, including John Calvin and St. Thomas Aquinas extensively, and concludes: “Even before birth, all human beings have the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his [sic] glory.”[1] This ruling is therefore a violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits the establishment of a state religion.

Our Talmudic sages understood that an embryo had the potential to grow into a person and also held the potential of not developing. They declared that “the embryo is considered to be mere water until the fortieth day [after conception].”[2] Judaism does not grant the status of personhood to an embryo or fetus at any stage of pregnancy.[3] Moreover, p’ru ur’vu, the mitzvah to be fruitful and multiply, is among the highest blessings in our tradition. Therefore, Jewish authorities across the ideological spectrum strongly support the availability of reproductive endocrinology to assist individuals and couples struggling with infertility.

Reform rabbis do not ask that Jewish law be enshrined in the laws of the United States or any state. We demand, however, that individuals in this free country be permitted to make their own choice about engaging the use of in vitro fertilization and other reproductive technologies. The government should not limit their choices in this matter. Indeed, many Reform rabbis and members of our communities have welcomed children into their families through the use of in vitro fertilization. The Central Conference of American Rabbis condemns the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling in the strongest terms. We call upon our members to support those who are impacted by this ruling, to let our elected officials know of our strong objection to the court’s decision and to work to pass legislation that affirms that frozen embryos are not people. We further call on the United States Supreme Court to overturn this decision forthwith.

Rabbi Erica Asch, President
Rabbi Hara E. Person, Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis


[1] Le Page v. Center for Reproductive Medicine, P.C., Supreme Court of Alabama, February 16, 2024, https://law.justia.com/cases/alabama/supreme-court/2024/sc-2022-0579.html.

[2] Babylonian Talmud, Y’vamot 69b.

[3] Exodus 21:22–23, Mishnah Ohalot 7.6.

Reform Movement Israel Statement: The Moment We Are In, The Future We Pray For

January 30, 2024

A Statement from Reform Movement Institutions

With an eye toward the future we envision, we offer these steps we hope Israelis and Palestinians will take at this moment of intense challenge and deep pain. We do so because of the bond and love we feel for our Israeli siblings.

Our commitment to a strong, vibrant, Jewish and democratic state of Israel, secure within its borders, is unyielding. The October 7th attacks and subsequent war have made unequivocally clear the existential threats facing Israel. On October 7th, more than 1200 Israelis were brutally murdered and tortured including those victimized by sexual violence, and communities were destroyed. Since then, a quarter of a million people have been displaced due to Hamas and Hezbollah violence and more than 135 hostages taken from Israel remain in Gaza. The Jewish people and the nation are again in mourning, now for the loss of over 200 soldiers fighting to defend Israel—including 25 killed in just one day last week. We pray for healing of wounded soldiers and for comfort for the bereaved. Israel is also contending with attacks from the Houthis and other Iranian proxies. Our hearts are with the Israeli people, now and always, as we pray for the day when the joyful sounds of peace prevail over the terrifying sounds of war.

Israel’s leaders have no greater responsibility than protecting the Israeli people. Hamas’s October 7th attacks were utterly heinous. Israel’s goal of eradicating Hamas’s military capabilities is just given Hamas’s ongoing commitment to Israel’s destruction. Hamas must be held accountable and the more than 135 remaining hostages must be released immediately. In keeping with the mitzvah of Pidyon Shvu’im (Redemption of Captives), Israel’s government must do all it can to ensure the hostages’ swift and safe deliverance from Hamas’s nefarious hands. We also encourage and applaud the Biden administration’s efforts in this regard.

Hamas showed no regard for the humanity of those butchered, brutalized, and kidnapped on October 7th. As Jews, we reject such dehumanization of the “other” including Palestinians. Whatever the military necessities of Israel’s massive bombing in Gaza—both to reach Hamas’s military infrastructure, so deeply embedded by Hamas into the centers of Palestinian civilian life, as well as to eliminate Hamas’s capabilities to repeat October 7th—we nonetheless agonize over the many thousands of Palestinian civilians, including large numbers of women and children, who have died and been wounded in this conflict, whether by Israeli bombs or Hamas’s misfired missiles. We agonize, too, over the nearly 2 million displaced people who are unable to obtain life essentials of food, water, shelter, medicine, and electricity.

The peaceful future we dream of includes an end to the West Bank occupation. As our respective organizations have affirmed in resolutions, formal statements, and policy analyses going back decades, ongoing West Bank occupation without a willingness to seek its end through a peaceful resolution of the conflict will condemn future generations to endless strife. Reestablishing settlements in Gaza will have a similarly detrimental impact. Denying the Palestinians’ right to self-determination is an impediment to peace.

In this darkest of times, we remain committed to a resolution of the conflict that will ensure Israel’s security and allow for Palestinian self-determination and self-governance, understanding that the creation of a Palestinian state will pose serious short-term security threats to Israel that will need to be addressed in any peace accords. Further, the widespread distrust of the Palestinians and their leadership in both Gaza and the West Bank, as well as deep Palestinian mistrust of Israel’s leadership, will require significant efforts by the Israelis, Palestinians, regional neighbors, and the international community to make such a resolution a viable reality. A successful and peaceful Palestinian entity remains vital to ensuring Israel’s long-term security. For these reasons, we are deeply dismayed by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent comments dismissing the possibility of a future peaceful Palestinian state.

There is much the Palestinian Authority needs to do in the short run to help prevent the escalation of violence both in the West Bank and more broadly, including joining the international community in actively engaging in efforts to ensure the hostages’ release, restoring cooperation with the Israeli security forces to curtail terrorist activities emanating from the West Bank, and taking concrete steps to halt incitement to violence and incentives for acts of terrorism. Far more extensive reforms and concrete manifestations of its commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict, including steps in a peace process that will ensure Israel’s security, will be required.

Israel’s future security relies on non-military steps Israel can and must take including:

  • Recognizing that Israel’s security and well-being are enhanced by a future that includes a peaceful Palestinian state.
  • In keeping with the existing Abraham accords, continuing to pave the way toward normalized relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia and to the creation of a regional coalition to rebuild Gaza.
  • Protecting the longstanding and vital U.S.-Israel alliance that has served the interests of both nations for more than 75 years.
  • Stopping incitement to violence, racism, and use of dehumanizing language against Palestinians by government ministers and others.
  • Forcefully addressing settler violence against Palestinians.
  • Preventing the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, including through the delivery of tax revenue currently being delayed by Israel.
  • Strengthening the development of Palestinian leaders and institutions committed to pursuing peace, as evidenced by supporting those advocating reforms of the Palestinian Authority’s governance, education, leadership, transparency, and accountability.
  • Understanding the terribly complex current battlefield in Gaza, continuing to do everything possible to prevent the loss of life among innocent Gazans not directly involved in the hostilities.
  • Delivering swift and regular humanitarian aid to Gazans struggling against illness and hunger, with safeguards monitored by the international community to ensure that such aid is not diverted to Hamas.
  • Rejecting any suggestions of forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza; such relocation would be in clear violation of international law.
  • Committing to ending the occupation, based on a negotiated, diplomatic solution acceptable to Israel and Palestinians alike. Such a solution will fulfill the Palestinian right to self-determination, without which Israel will never be safe and secure.
  • Halting the construction of West Bank settlements and rejecting any Jewish resettlement in Gaza.
  • Opposing any efforts toward unilateral annexation by Israel of areas of the West Bank.

We share these steps understanding that responsibility for building a future in which children can grow in peace requires commitments and leadership from Israelis and Palestinians. We speak inspired by the teaching, “Kol yisrael arevim zeh ba’zeh,” “All of Israel and the Jewish people are responsible, one for the other” (Shevuot 39a). We are committed to the safety and vitality of the Jewish people, the swift return home of all the hostages held in Gaza, and a secure and just state of Israel—now and forever.

Union for Reform Judaism 
Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman (she/her), Chair
Rabbi Rick Jacobs (he/him), President

Central Conference of American Rabbis 
Rabbi Erica Asch (she/her), President
Rabbi Hara E. Person (she/her), Chief Executive

American Conference of Cantors 
Cantor Seth Warner (he/him), President
Rachel Roth (she/her), Chief Operating Officer

ARZA Canada 
Lee Weisser (she/her), President 

Association of Reform Zionists of America  
Daryl Messinger (she/her), Chair 
Rabbi Josh Weinberg (he/him), Director 

Men of Reform Judaism  
Rob Himmelstein (he/him), President 
Steven Portnoy (he/him), Executive Director 

Reform Jewish Community of Canada  
Len Bates (he/him), President

Reform Rabbis of Canada  
Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg (he/him), Chair  

Women of Reform Judaism  
Sara Charney (she/her), President 
Rabbi Liz P. G. Hirsch (she/her), Executive Director

North American Reform Jewish Movement Renews Call for Release of Hostages Held by Hamas 

January 11, 2024 

As we mark the 100th day of the war initiated by Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack on communities in southern Israel, the North American Reform Movement raises our collective Reform Jewish voice to demand the liberation of the more than one hundred thirty hostages held in captivity by Hamas since October 7.  

The hostages were abducted in flagrant violation of international law. Reports from the hostages released in late November and early December have revealed how those in captivity suffer deplorable conditions, including sexual and physical violence, psychological torture, and near-starvation. Hamas has not allowed any international aid organization access to the hostages to check on their health or provide necessary medicines or medical assistance, in clear contravention to international law. We demand that this failure be rectified immediately. 

We join our Israeli partners and colleagues in lifting up the teaching by Rambam:

וְאֵין לְךָ מִצְוָה גְּדוֹלָה כְּפִדְיוֹן שְׁבוּיִים

“You have no greater mitzvah (religious obligation) than to free captives.” At this devastating milestone, we renew our demand for the swift release of all those who are still held captive in Gaza. 

We call on the international community to join the governments of Israel and the United States in their efforts to secure the hostages’ release. We will continue raising our voices until every hostage is safely returned home and reunited with their loved ones.  

Bring them home now! 

Union for Reform Judaism 
Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman (she/her), Chair 
Rabbi Rick Jacobs (he/him), President 

Central Conference of American Rabbis 
Rabbi Erica Asch (she/her), President 
Rabbi Hara E. Person (she/her), Chief Executive 

American Conference of Cantors 
Cantor Seth Warner (he/him), President 
Rachel Roth (she/her), Chief Operating Officer 

Women of Reform Judaism
Sara Charney (she/her), President
Rabbi Liz P. G. Hirsch (she/her), Executive

Director Men of Reform Judaism
Rob Himmelstein (he/him), President
Steven Portnoy (he/him), Executive Director

Association of Reform Zionists of America
Daryl Messinger (she/her), Chair
Rabbi Josh Weinberg (he/him), Director

Central Conference of American Rabbis Mourns the Death of Rabbi David Ellenson, PhD, z”l

December 7, 2023

The Central Conference of American Rabbis mourns the death of our beloved rabbi, teacher, and friend, David Ellenson, former President and Chancellor Emeritus of our Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. David was a mensch of the highest order who imparted wisdom and kindness in addition to sharing his voluminous knowledge and scholarship. He was also a devoted and generous member of the CCAR.

Raised in a warm Orthodox home, David found his own adult religious community in Reform Judaism, a story he often told without any hint of negativity toward his Orthodox upbringing. He embraced the teachings and the leaders of all movements of Judaism throughout his long career as a congregational rabbi, a professor and teacher of future rabbis, and a leading scholar of Jewish Thought. 

David’s death on the eve of Chanukah reminds us of the light he brought into the lives of CCAR rabbis, HUC-JIR, the Reform Movement and the Jewish people. David was at heart a teacher, and he taught not only academics, but showed us a model of how to live with integrity and kindness. At this difficult time, we recall that David also brought us light in our times of darkness. In the aftermath of the tragic death of his beloved successor, Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., z”l, David gave himself unstintingly to our College-Institute, coming out of retirement to serve as Acting President and comforting a Reform Jewish world in mourning. David brought the light of optimism and hope into our lives as a teacher, rabbi, mentor and friend. He has truly raised up many disciples. 

All CCAR rabbis mourn with David’s wife, Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson, Executive Director emerita of the Women’s Rabbinic Network; with all of his children, Ruthie Ellenson (Lorne Manly), CCAR member Rabbi Micah Ellenson (Sara), HUC-JIR rabbinic student Hannah Ellenson (Becca Israel), Nomi Ellenson May (Spencer May), Hebrew College rabbinic student Rafi Ellenson, and David’s grandchildren. The memory of Rabbi David Ellenson, PhD, is a blessing and his light will continue to shine in this world through his work and the lives that he touched. 

Rabbi Erica Asch, President
Rabbi Hara Person, Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis

Reform Movement Applauds Partial Hostage Release Deal; Urges Continued Advocacy for Hostages

November 22, 2023

Every day since October 7, 2023, we have prayed for the release of the 240 hostages kidnapped into Gaza from Israel. We are grateful and relieved that a deal to release some of the hostages has been agreed to, along with increased humanitarian aid for innocent civilians in Gaza, and we pray the first 50 hostages will be released imminently. We will continue praying and working for the return of all those still held captive.

We extend our sincerest thanks to all those who played a role in bringing about this agreement, including President Biden and Secretary Blinken, the mediators in Qatar, and PM Netanyahu and the members of his Cabinet who voted to approve the deal.

While we celebrate today’s news, the continued holding of innocent civilians – Israelis and other nationalities alike – is an active, insidious war crime. We strongly urge those who secured this initial agreement to continue to advocate for the swift release of all those who remain in captivity.

As Americans prepare to gather for Thanksgiving tomorrow, we give thanks that some former hostages might be able to spend the coming Shabbat with their loved ones. May that reality soon come true for the remaining hostages. Ken yehi ratzon – let it be so.

Union for Reform Judaism
Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman (she/her), Chair
Rabbi Rick Jacobs (he/him), President

Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Erica Asch (she/her), President
Rabbi Hara E. Person (she/her), Chief Executive

American Conference of Cantors
Cantor Seth Warner (he/him), President
Rachel Roth (she/her), Chief Operating Officer

Women of Reform Judaism
Sara Charney (she/her), President
Rabbi Liz P. G. Hirsch (she/her), Executive Director

Men of Reform Judaism
Rob Himmelstein (he/him), President
Steven Portnoy (he/him), Executive Director

Central Conference of American Rabbis Statement of Support for Israeli Reform Rabbis

October 30, 2023

The Central Conference of American Rabbis stands in solidarity with its members who serve in Israel. These rabbis are members of MARAM, the association of Reform Rabbis in Israel, our partner organization. Moreover, we stand in awe of our Israeli colleagues’ selfless service at this most tragic time in the history of the Jewish State. Reform rabbis in North America and around the world pledge support to our MARAM colleagues throughout the current crisis and beyond.

Even as our Israeli colleagues experience the personal trauma of the murder, injury, and abduction of their own family members, friends, and members of the communities they serve, even as they and their family members are called into service of the Israel Defense Forces, our Israeli colleagues are tending selflessly to the needs of their communities and the general public as well. MARAM members are standing with countless families at the graveside of a murdered loved one, praying with families of those who have been abducted, and caring for parents, spouses, children, and siblings of those who are serving Israel in harm’s way. These rabbis are providing the comfort and strength sorely needed at this terrible time.

In the wake of the brutal attack of October 7, some of our MARAM colleagues are serving communities that have been evacuated from their homes and dispersed throughout the nation; rabbis are traveling around the country to bury, console, and comfort their far flung congregants. Israeli Reform rabbis are lifting the voice of Torah to call for the swift return of captives. At the same time, they are spearheading efforts to provide traumatized evacuees with sorely needed material and spiritual support. And they are teaching their colleagues oversees by their example as they demonstrate what it means to show the fortitude and service in the face of crisis. Perhaps most important of all, our Israeli colleagues continue to lead their communities in Shabbat prayer, providing peace and hope to their communities and beyond.

As every rabbi knows, אם אין קמח אין תורה, “Where there is no bread, there is no Torah.”[i] Few MARAM colleagues are employed full-time by their communities. Many earn a significant share of their פרנסה, their livelihood, from simchas, officiating joyous occasions such as weddings and aliyot to the Torah. Understandably, few such celebrations are taking place in Israel now, and many of our MARAM colleagues have seem their income diminish significantly.

Since October 7, the CCAR has undertaken the responsibility of caring for our Israeli colleagues in a number of ways. We have sent emails of care and consolation, the CCAR board has made phone calls and texts, and our leadership has been in ongoing touch with MARAM leadership. We have offered crisis counseling with trained experts to our MARAM colleagues. We have designated emergency funding to several individual rabbis in dire financial circumstances.

The CCAR regularly gives its members the opportunity to donate to Rav L’Rav, our “Rabbi to Rabbi” program that provides supplemental support to MARAM, its members, and the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism. These funds have just been shared with MARAM and IMPJ, offering some small subvention. Now, at the CCAR’s urging, MARAM launched a supplemental campaign to provide CCAR rabbis outside of Israel the opportunity to come to the aid of our colleagues at this time of need through becoming a Friend of MARAM. We are proud to say that 100% of the CCAR board has contributed to this important initiative. We urge all CCAR members outside Israel to participate generously.

We stand in awe of our MARAM colleagues, and send them our love, care, and utmost support. We will continue, as colleagues and friends, to try to ease the burden they are each carrying in these very difficult days.

Rabbi Erica Asch, President
Rabbi Hara E. Person, Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis


[i] Pirkei Avot 3.17.

Central Conference of American Rabbis Statement of Concern and Support for Jewish Students on North American College Campuses

October 30, 2023

The Central Conference of American Rabbis is profoundly concerned about the welfare of Jewish students on North American college and university campuses. Even in the immediate aftermath of Hamas’s brutal October 7 attack on Israeli civilians living near Gaza, anti-Israel demonstrations erupted on many campuses. Protests have increased as Israel has taken obligatory military action to assure that Hamas can never brutalize Israelis again. Too often, demonstrations have threatened the safety of Jewish students and have exposed protestors’ antisemitism.

Reform rabbis recognize that not all campuses or Jewish students are in crisis. The CCAR lauds those college and university leaders who have forthrightly condemned Hamas terror and any expression of antisemitism. We are appreciative of those who have taken concrete actions to support Jewish students in the last few weeks. Other officials have been deaf to the pleas of their Jewish students, faculty, staff members, and alumni, leaving the impression of indifference to terror and antisemitism.

The CCAR applauds its members who serve on college campuses and all who work to enhance Jewish life on campus. That work is always sacred and vital, but it is too often overlooked and devalued. Now, more than ever, our young adults on college campuses need the leadership, teaching, counseling, and support that campus rabbis are uniquely positioned to provide.

Reform rabbis, however and wherever we serve, are actively engaged in reaching out to college students in our orbits, checking in on their well-being and seeking to provide support, even from a distance. We pledge to continue to do so, and to continue to support our colleagues serving on campus. This crisis will be long and will only become more intense. Our college students and campus rabbis need our support now and in the coming weeks and years.

The CCAR calls on college and university leaders to declare unequivocally: Terrorism is never justified. Antisemitism will not be tolerated.

Rabbi Erica Asch, President
Rabbi Hara E. Person, Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis