Rabbi Jacob Staub, Ph.D. | Reconstructing Judaism

Rabbi Jacob Staub, Ph.D.

RRC: Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Spirituality; Director, Jewish Spiritual Direction Program; Director, eVolve: Groundbreaking Conversations; Sadie Gottesman and Arlene Gottesman Reff Professor of Gender and Judaism;

Rabbi Jacob Staub, Ph.D., graduated from RRC in 1977. Staub has served on the RRC faculty since 1983; he served as the College’s vice president for academic affairs and academic dean from 1989 to 2004. He was instrumental in developing RRC’s Spiritual Direction Program and has taught Jewish spiritual direction across North America, including at Spiritual Directors International and the Spirituality Institute of Metivta. He co-directs Bekhol Levavkha: A Training Program for Jewish Spiritual Directors at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. He has served as a faculty member and board member at Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture and Spirituality.

His prior teaching experience includes appointments as assistant professor of religion at Lafayette College and as a Mellon Fellow in Jewish Philosophy at Washington University. He has served as rabbi of Bristol Jewish Center in Bristol, PA, and of Congregation Beth Shalom in Arlington, TX. Staub has served as chair of the Academy for Jewish Philosophy, of which has been a fellow. He has been vice president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and served on its board until recently. Jacob also has chaired the RRA’s Gevulot Committee and its Committee on Intermarriage.

Staub earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Master of Arts and doctorate in religion from Temple University, where he specialized in medieval Jewish philosophy. He trained as a spiritual director at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. He completed certification in Mindfulness Leadership Training with Sylvia Boorstein and teaches meditation and contemplative practice at RRC.

Staub served as editor of The Reconstructionist from 1983 to 1989. He is the author of The Creation of the World According to Gersonides (1982) and “A Guide to Jewish Practice: Shabbat” (2013), and the editor of a Zeek issue on Reconstructionism: Denominationalism That Works?” (2010). He is co-editor with Jeffrey L. Schein of Creative Jewish Education: A Reconstructionist Perspective (1985) and co-author with Rebecca T. Alpert of Exploring Judaism, A Reconstructionist Approach (1985, revised edition 2000).

Among the awards he has received are RRC’s Gladstone Award for Fine Teaching (1997), the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation’s President’s Award (1989), the RRA’s Yedei Emunah Award (2001, 2013) and RRC’s Keter Shem Tov (2004).

Evolve: Sowing the Seeds of Constructive Evolution

Reconstructing Judaism has just rolled out Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations with the intention of hosting difficult, groundbreaking conversations that are nevertheless mutually respectful and supportive. We invite you to visit Evolve and to join the conversations!

News

How to Pray

How do you pray, anyway? Rabbi Jacob Staub explores this seemingly simple question.

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Embracing Our Sorrows

As the mournful day of Tisha B’Av arrives, Rabbi Jacob Staub reflects on the value of embracing our sorrows. 

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Embracing our Sorrows

As the fast day of Tisha B’Av approaches, Rabbi Jacob Staub asks: why do we harp on sorrowful events that occurred so many centuries ago? The answer lies in the nature of grief.

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How Can Reconstructionists Pray?

How does a non-supernatural notion of God fit together with the practice of prayer? Rabbi Jacob Staub explores their intersection. 

Article

If God Is Good, Why Do Pain and Suffering Exist?

The question is an old and venerable one: If God is good, and God is all-knowing, and God is all-powerful, then why is there so much pain and suffering in the world? Rabbi Jacob Staub explores this longstanding question. 

Article

The Hebrew Word For Patience

Rabbi Jacob Staub reflects on the spirituality of anger, patience, and healing. 

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Rabbi Jacob Staub discusses Parashat Miketz

Rabbi Jacob Staub discusses Parashat Miketz with Shmuel Rosner of the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles.

Video

Shavuot Theology

How are we to understand the traditional claim that the Torah is divinely revealed? And what exactly is the Torah that was revealed? Rabbi Jacob Staub examines Reconstructionist theology through the lens of the holiday of Shavuot. This article is excerpted from the Guide to Jewish Practice. 

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What Makes a Reconstructionist Congregation Different?

In this talk, Rabbi Jacob Staub describes what makes Reconstructionist communities unique. Recorded in November 2014 at Congregation Kehillat Israel in Pacific Palisades, California. A full transcript is included. 

Spoken Audio

Spirituality and Mental Health

Rabbi Jacob Staub, Ph.D., explains why spirituality can be such an important aspect of mental health. 

News

Building a Personal Relationship with a Nonpersonal God

Staub recounts his spiritual biography and offers ideas about how to build a personal relationship with God. 

Article

Is God to Blame When Bad Things Happen?

When you stop believing that God is the cause of everything that happens to us, you don’t necessarily stop believing in the presence of the divine that infuses all things.

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Where is God in This?

Rabbi Jacob Staub brings Hasidic thought to bear on a contemporary spiritual question.

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Coming Out

Reflecting on his own coming out, Rabbi Jacob Staub examines the varieties of tolerance, inclusion, and being considered “normal.” 

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