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Leadership & Governance
As a leader, so the generation; as the generation, so the leader. - Talmud Yerushalmi, Arachim 17a

The URJ is governed by a 253-member North American board of trustees that works in close partnership with the URJ Chair, the URJ President, the Senior Leadership Team and other members of the professional staff. The board is comprised of lay leaders who belong to URJ congregations across the U.S. and Canada as well as representatives of the HUC-JIR, CCAR, and several affiliate organizations.  Both the board of trustees and the smaller Oversight Committee, whose members are elected by the board of trustees, meet twice a year.  The Oversight Committee convenes for additional meetings during the year.

The General Assembly, the URJ’s largest governing body, consists of delegates from URJ congregations and meets once every two years at the Biennial Convention to guide the future direction of the Reform Movement.

URj.org Leadership Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Rabbi Rick Jacobs


Rabbi Rick Jacobs was installed on June 9th, 2012 as the president of the URJ.


URj.org Leadership Daryl Messinger

Daryl Messinger

Chair, North American Board of Trustees

Daryl Messinger has served on the URJ Board for 15 years and in Reform Movement affiliated organizations in a wide variety of roles. 

URj.org Leadership Rabbi Eric Yoffie

Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie

​President Emeritus

Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie served as president of the URJ from June 1996, when he succeeded Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler, z''l.

URj.org Leadership Mark J Pelavin block

Mark J. Pelavin

Chief Program Officer

As a member of the URJ's Executive Team, Mark J. Pelavin plays a key role in developing and refining the URJ's priorities and structures as Reform Judaism moves into a new era.

URj.org Leadership Amy Asin block

Amy Asin

​Vice President/Director of Strengthening Congregations

As Vice President/Director of Strengthening Congregations at the URJ, Amy Asin leads the Union's Strengthening Congregations work.

URj.org Leadership Rabbi Jonah Pesner block

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner

Senior Vice President, URJ
& Director, Religious Action Center

Named one of the most influential rabbis in America by Newsweek magazine, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner is an inspirational leader, creative entrepreneur and tireless advocate for social justice.

URj.org Leadership April Baskin block

April N. Baskin

Vice President of Audacious Hospitality

Dedicated to building a stronger, more inclusive Jewish community committed to social justice, April N. Baskin has spent 10 years advocating for Jewish diversity inclusion locally and nationally.

URj.org Leadership Emily Sachs block

Emily Sachs

Chief Financial Officer

Emily Sachs brings to her work extensive experience in the nonprofit sector as a management consultant and as the Chief Financial/Administrative Officer for two social services agencies.

URj.org Leadership Miriam Chilton block

Miriam Chilton

Vice President / Youth

Miriam Chilton, who came to the URJ after 20 years in the corporate world, has wide-ranging responsibility for youth programming, including 14 overnight camps across North America, travel and educational programs in Israel and NFTY (the Reform youth movement).

URj.org Leadership Barbara Saidel

Barbara Saidel

Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operating Officer (COO), Saidel focuses on the URJ’s underlying business strategies in order to deliver programs and services in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. 

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Commissions, Committees, and Task Forces

Lay and professional leaders of the Reform Movement lend their talent and expertise to joint commissions, on which the Union is joined by the CCAR, HUC-JIR, and other Reform organizations. Through their deliberations, the commissions help determine the Movement's position on critical issues affecting every Reform Jew, such as social justice and political concerns and the role of the non-Jew in synagogue life.  There are also several standing committees of the board (i.e. Budget, Investment, Operations).  In addition, task forces are formed as needed to work during a given period of time around a specific charge.   Their work results in recommendations to the board.

The board is comprised of lay leaders who belong to URJ congregations across the U.S. and Canada as well as representatives of the HUC-JIR, CCAR, and several affiliate organizations.

The members of the Oversight Committee are elected by the Board of Trustees.

The constitution adopted at the 39th Council of the Union, March 3-6, 1946, and all subsequent amendments.