Jacob Staub

Professor Emeritus of Jewish Philosophy and Spirituality; Founding Director, Jewish Spiritual Direction Program; Director, Evolve: Groundbreaking Conversations

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. He is the Sadie Gottesman and Arlene Gottesman Reff Professor of Gender and Judaism.

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).

What Is True In This Moment

This d’var Torah was written during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, as Passover 2020 approached. While the specific circumstances have changed since its

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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!

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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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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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