President and CEO, Hiddush - Freedom Of Religion for Israel
Rabbi Uri Regev is an internationally renowned leader and advocate of religious liberty and the liberal movements of Judaism in his native Israel and around the world.
Currently, Rabbi Regev serves as the President and CEO of a new educational and advocacy Israel-Diaspora partnership, “Hiddush - Freedom Of Religion for Israel” and of its Israeli counterpart, “Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality.”
For seven years, until recently he served as president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, a global umbrella organization of the Progressive, Reform, Liberal and Reconstructionist movements, serving more than 1,200 congregations and communities in 42 countries on six continents. As head of the World Union, Rabbi Regev worked to strengthen modern, pluralistic Jewish life and democracy in the Jewish state and throughout the world. He also guided the organization in its tikkun olam (repairing the world) initiatives through social advocacy programs on both the local level and in partnership with prominent international non-governmental organizations such as the United Nations.
Prior to assuming leadership of the World Union in 2002, Rabbi Regev served as founding chair, and later as executive director and legal counsel, of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the advocacy group established by the Reform movement in Israel. In that capacity he led the IRAC’s legal team to historic victories in the Israeli Supreme Court in cases involving the “Who is a Jew?” issue, equitable funding for Reform and Conservative institutions and the fight for representation in the religious councils. He has also defended the rights of Sabbath-observant Jews and argued cases involving many other central issues of religious pluralism and human equality for all Israeli citizens.
Rabbi Regev has also served on the boards of many other major Jewish organizations, including the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency, Rabbis for Human Rights, the Overseers of the Jerusalem School of the Hebrew Union College, the Institute for Progressive Halacha, the Center for the Research of Democracy at the University of Haifa, the Re’ut School and Institute for Pluralistic Training, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Israel Amuta of the San Francisco Jewish Federation and B'Tselem, the organization monitoring human rights in the occupied territories, of which he is a founding member.
A cum laude graduate of Tel Aviv University Law School and the Hebrew Union College-Institute of Religion in Jerusalem, where he was ordained in 1986, Rabbi Regev served in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) as an assistant legal advisor in the Gaza Strip and Sinai and as military prosecutor for the Israeli Navy. He retired from military service with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Garri. Their son, Yonatan, and daughter-in-law, Lara, are studying for the rabbinate at HUC-JIR and their daughter, Liron, graduated the Culinary Institute of America and is working as a pastry chef in Tel Aviv.