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The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Jill Jacobs

b. 1975

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Jill Jacobs until we are able to commission a full entry.

Photo of Rabbi Jill Jacobs, courtesy of Rabbi Jacobs.

Jill Jacobs, the executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, has pushed for Jews to take an active role in social justice, from supporting health care and environmental reform to condemning torture and human rights violations. Jacobs earned a BA in comparative literature from Columbia University in 1997. In 2003 she received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary and an MS in urban affairs from Hunter College. From 2003 to 2005 she worked as director of outreach and education for the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, which combats racism and anti-Semitism. She then began working as rabbi in residence for Jewish Funds for Justice, writing extensively on Jewish responses to poverty, living wage, and health care issues in articles and books, including There Shall Be No Needy in 2009 and Where Justice Dwells in 2011. In 2011 she also became executive director of T’ruah, mobilizing Jewish leaders for Palestinian rights, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, and other human rights issues. In 2014 she was one of several rabbis arrested for protesting against police brutality in the deaths of black men, including Eric Garner. She has been honored multiple times as one of the Forward 50 and Newsweek’s 50 influential rabbis and on the Jerusalem Post’s 2013 list of “Women to Watch.”  From 2019 to 2021, Jacobs wrote multiple pieces encouraging American Jews to disengage from antisemitic political figures in the U.S. and extremist organizations in Israel. 

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jill Jacobs." (Viewed on December 11, 2023) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/jacobs-jill>.

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