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Immanuel Jakobovits

(1921 – 1999)

Immanuel Jakobovits was a rabbi. Jakobovits was born in Koenigsberg, Russia, the son of Julius Jakobovits, rabbi of the local Orthodox congregation and later dayyan in Berlin and London. He studied for the rabbinate at Jews’ College and at the Etẓ Hayyim Yeshivah, London. After serving as minister to a number of London synagogues, in 1949, he became chief rabbi of Dublin and the Jewish communities in the Irish Republic.

Jakobovits was rabbi of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue, New York, from 1958 until 1966, when he was appointed chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth, serving until his retirement in 1991. Jakobovits was appointed honorary director of the Center for Jewish Medical Ethics at Ben-Gurion University, Israel, in 1977 and a fellow of University College, London, in 1984. Knighted in 1981, Jakobovits became a peer in 1988.

His Jewish Medical Ethics, published in 1959 with a fourth edition in 1977, is regarded as a standard work in the field. His other publications include Jewish Law Faces Modern Problems (1965), Journal of a Rabbi (1966), The Timely and the Timeless (1977), and If Only My People…Zionism in My Life (1984).

In 1991, he was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.

Jakobovits died of on October 31, 1999, and was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

Photo: Evers, Joost / Anefo, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL via Wikimedia Commons.