Julie Guilfoyle
Mental Health Therapist, Writer and Victim Advocate

A Call for the Resignation of Rabbi Rick Jacobs Amid Reform Movement Discontent

sign that says ethics honesty and integrity
sign that says ethics honesty and integrity

Since I stepped into this role of being a voice for those who have been harmed in the Reform community, I have spoken to many people. Their stories and the way they were harmed are all very different, but one theme remains consistent: The Reform Movement’s response was inadequate, caused more harm, and failed to display the changes promised in its public apologies. 

These conversations have included concerns about fiscal mismanagement and lack of transparency to continuing to fail to follow state-mandated laws to report child abuse during the Reform Movement’s “Ethics” Investigations.  It is clear that the leadership of the Reform Movement is failing to meet its obligations, follow through on promised changes, and to live up to the values of a healthy, progressive Jewish movement.  

While I am not the author of this petition calling for Rabbi Rick Jacobs to step down, I was honored to be the first to sign it. Due to the failures of the leadership of both CCAR and the URJ to follow through on their recent promises, I agree with this statement and the mission to press for change. I am committed to continue to be a voice for those demanding change. It is clear that the current leadership is stagnant and lacks the skills or motivation to do what it takes to create and maintain a safe,  transparent, inclusive movement for the Jewish people. The petition includes a long list of recent articles supporting the claim of discontent in the Reform Movement.  It has been over three years since your 2021 promises and there is still no transparency or clear evidence of substantial change. Your time is up!

The word promises broken in half

Dear Colleagues and Friends, 

After the first day of the Re-Charging Reform Judaism Conference this past May, I felt reinvigorated to act on a sentiment I’ve had since 2020: our movement is floundering, and those in leadership are out of touch with reality and allowing it to happen.

I’ve spent the last month, but really the last two years, speaking with many Reform Jews across the spectrum and gathering information to put together the open letter below outlining what Reform Jews deserve from their institutions and the ways our current leadership has fallen short. 

I believe it is time for accountability at the top and for Rabbi Rick Jacobs to step down from his position and allow others to step in and rebuild the movement for the generations to come.

The impact of this effort is unknown, but I know I can no longer stand idly by and do nothing.

If you agree with any or all of this letter, I invite you to add your name—publicly or anonymously— as well as your unique thoughts and share the letter with anyone who might feel the same way.

My only aim is to provide a platform for dissenting voices who wish to see our movement in a position of strength, courage, and inspiring vision. At the moment, I wish to remain anonymous because this effort is not about me; it’s about you and everyone who calls themselves a Reform Jew. 

I will monitor this email address, and the messages sent here will never be shared with anyone else without the sender’s expressed permission. If you have any questions, concerns, or insights, please feel free to reach out.

Thank you again for your deep commitment to the future of the Reform Movement in any and all ways that you show up!

The author of the petition can be reached at

About the Author
Julie has been working as a therapist with abuse and trauma victims for more than 25 years. She began her career working in the areas of child behavior, child abuse, and abuse investigations. She worked as a forensic interviewer and served as an expert witness in abuse and trauma. She trained CPS workers on forensic interviewing, investigation, and interviewing ethics. She brings a unique view to women's issues, victimization, trauma, and ethics. She has recently developed an interest in Jewish ethics. Her background in abuse issues, advocacy, ethics, and investigations work drives her pursuit for justice, fairness, and transparency in the world of Jewish ethics.
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