Rabbi Maurice Harris | Reconstructing Judaism

Rabbi Maurice Harris

Associate Director of Affiliate Support and Israel Affairs Specialist, Reconstructing Judaism

Ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2003, Rabbi Maurice Harris served as Associate Rabbi and Head of School at Temple Beth Israel in Eugene, Oregon, from 2003 – 2011. He has also worked as a Judaic studies faculty member at the University of Oregon, teaching courses such as “Israelis and Palestinians” and “American Jewish Cultures.” Just prior to joining the staff at RRC, Maurice worked as the Rabbi/Senior Educator at InterfaithFamily, a Boston-based national Jewish non-profit that provides resources and advocacy for interfaith families in the Jewish community. He is the author of two books, Moses: A Stranger Among Us  and Leviticus: You Have No Idea  (Cascade Books, 2012 and 2013), and has a third one on the way.

Maurice is now working as Associate Director of Affiliate Support and Israel Affairs Specialist at Reconstructing Judaism. He is married to Melissa Crabbe, and they have two children, Clarice Harris and Hunter Harris.

Israel Mission Trip, March 2018: A Travelogue

When we began our Israel journey together in Tel Aviv on March 7th, we were 25 people representing 11 Reconstructionist communities who travelled there on the promise to go places and meet people that even veteran Israel travelers hadn’t visited or met. And on that promise, the Reconstructing Judaism Israel Mission Trip delivered.

News

Israel at 70: State of Hope, Conflict, and Possibilities

Reflections on Israel as it turns 70

Article

Moses' Encounters with God

Rabbi Maurice Harris examines the Torah’s treatment of Moses’ up-close encounters with God.

Spoken Audio

A Little Text Study for Board Meetings

Monthly, single-page Jewish text handouts intended for short, 10-minute Reconstructionist Torah study at the beginning of board meetings.

Document

Desperate Immigrants: An Ancient Jewish Story

Abraham and Sarah’s desperate journey to Egypt as refugees reminds us that remembering the heart of the stranger is at the core of Jewish experience.

Article

When You Say God, What Do You Mean?

When we say “God” what do we mean? Ideas of God have changed dramatically over Jewish history. These Powerpoint slides explore some of that evolution. These slides accompanied Rabbi Maurice Harris’s talk from the Global Day of Jewish Learning, 2010.

Document

Twelve Years A Slave: A Passover Resource

This printable resource pairs selected quotes from Solomon Northup’s autobiographical memoir, “12 Years a Slave,” with quotes from the Exodus and other Jewish texts.

Document

A  Passover Blessing for People of Many Backgrounds Who Journey with Us

This is a short Passover reading that expresses appreciation for people of backgrounds and identities other than Judaism. It would work well in a community seder, as well as home seders. 

Article

The Midwives of Exodus: An Interfaith Text Study

An easily-accessible text study about the ethnic ambiguity that the Torah presents us with regarding the midwives who refused to obey Pharaoh's orders. 

Document

Text Study on the Creation Story: The Nature of the First Human

In the first two chapters of the Torah, we find two different accounts of the creation of humanity. In this text study, Rabbi Maurice Harris explores the tension between these two stories, and presents a teaching from Midrash Bereishit Rabbah that presents food for thought about gender, essentialism, and the nature of humanity. 

Document

Jews and Fellow Travelers: Appreciating the Gifts of Non-Jewish Partners

Rabbi Harris’s article focuses on the benefits that non-Jews, mostly with Jewish partners, bring to the community. Harris leads us away from the “framework of cost” to open up the conversation on intermarriage.

Article