Rabbi Richard Hirsch is the first Reform rabbi to receive the honor of lighting a torch during Israel's official Independence Day ceremony. HUC-JIR is proud that Rabbi Hirsch, founder of the Reform Movement in Israel, has been chosen for this national honor. Rabbi Hirsch served as Executive Director of the World Union for Progressive Judaism from 1973 until 1999. Upon his retirement, he was elected Honorary Life President of the WUPJ. He was the Founding Director of the Reform movement's Religious Action Center in Washington DC, which he served from 1962-1973. In 1973, he moved to Israel to assume his position at the WUPJ. Rabbi Hirsch served as the Co-Chair of the FSU & Eastern Europe Committee. He has been a member of the Jewish Agency's Board of Governors since 1972. Now he serves as the President of the Zionist General Council. For more information, please click here. To read about his accomplishments at the World Union for Progressive Judaism, please click here.