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Jacob K. Shankman

SHANKMAN, JACOB K. (1904–1986), U.S. Reform rabbi. Born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, Shankman, a boy prodigy, entered Harvard University at the age of 14 and graduated by 1923. He received his M.A. in 1925 at the age of 21. He was ordained at Hebrew Union College in 1930. He was then appointed to the Third Street Temple, Troy, New York, and in 1937 to Temple Israel, New Rochelle, where he was awarded life tenure and remained as rabbi until 1974 and then as rabbi emeritus. During 1943–46 he served as a chaplain with the U.S. Navy. Under his leadership the temple flourished and drew many Jews, moved to Westchester County, and became the preeminent Reform Congregation of the county. A new building was erected in the early 1960s. Not content with local leadership alone, Shankman served on the Hebrew Union College board of governors (1952–59) and was president of its alumni association (1958–59). Apart from rabbinic and civic bodies in the New York area, Shankman's principal public activity was with the World Union for Progressive Judaism. He was its American director from 1957 to 1964; chairman of the World Executive Committee from 1959; and president of the organization in 1964–1970

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