CINCINNATI – Rabbi Robert Barr, a Democrat, announced his candidacy today for the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio’s First Congressional District. If elected, he would be the first Rabbi ever to serve in Congress. Rabbi Barr, the rabbi at Congregation Beth Adam and OurJewishCommunity.org, was ordained in 1981.
“As a rabbi for over three decades, I’ve served in the community and know it well,” Rabbi Robert Barr said. “My work is helping people get through tough times. Whenever I see problems, I bring people together to find solutions that work. And we need that now. Times of crisis and hardship are the times to come together. My run for Congress is based on the same commitment to service, problem solving and community that drove me to become a rabbi 37 years ago.”
“I never thought Congress could be so broken,” Barr added. “We need leaders who have a strong sense of what’s right – and who can bring people together to get things done. Politics has been used to divide our nation but we can use it to unite, heal and restore our country.”
Ohio’s First Congressional District, which is Cincinnati-based, is currently represented by Republican Steve Chabot.
Rabbi Robert Barr is the founding rabbi of Congregation Beth Adam and of OurJewishCommunity.org, one of the largest online Jewish congregations. He studied at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati and was ordained as a rabbi in 1981.
For a high-res picture of Rabbi Barr, click here.
Rabbi Barr learned about the importance of leaving the world better than he found it from his family. Rabbi Barr’s grandparents were fortunate that the United States was open to immigrants when they fled Europe at the turn of the 20th Century. His father served in World War II as a Navy dentist in the South Pacific, and his mother was an active volunteer in their community.
Until the sixth grade, Rabbi Barr struggled with a reading disability — which changed when committed teachers intervened and transformed his life. Now, he is a frequent speaker on ethics, and presents regularly to university students, medical residents, and the Cincinnati Bar Association. In addition, he has lectured on the Bible, theology, religion, and culture as part of OLLI, the continuing education program at the University of Cincinnati.
Rabbi Barr served on the Ohio Advisory Board of People for the American Way, and as a delegate to the Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati, where his work included interfaith projects. He has served on the boards of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and Jewish Family Services; and has held leadership roles with Leadership Cincinnati and the Jewish Community Relations Council. In addition, Rabbi Barr served as president of the Greater Cincinnati Board of Rabbis and is chair of the Cincinnati Congregational Rabbis Group.
Rabbi Barr doesn’t seek a career in politics. In fact, one of his first actions in Congress will be to immediately push to end gerrymandering and enact meaningful campaign finance reform. He also wants to ensure every Ohio family gets a chance at success – and that requires a government focused on making health care more affordable, improving schools, and ensuring every community has clean air and water.
Rabbi Barr and his wife Terri met while he was a student at HUC-JIR. Today, Terri is a university professor. They have two adult children and have been proud owners of Airedale Terriers.
Learn more about Robert Barr on his website and Facebook page.