Tributes To Rabbi Louis Jacobs

by Justin Cohen - Wednesday 5th of July 2006

Rabbi Louis Jacobs, the distinguished rabbinic scholar who was the inspiration for the Masorti movement, died last Shabbat at the age of 84, prompting glowing tributes from across the community.
Rabbi Jacobs, an author of more than 50 books, was one of the world’s leading authorities on all major aspects of Jewish studies including Mishnah, Talmud and philosophy.
He was buried at Cheshunt cemetery on Sunday at a ceremony attended by more than 200 people including the Chief Rabbi and Rabbi Abraham Levy, Spiritual Head of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation.In 1964, he founded the independent New London Synagogue after being told he could not take up the role of Principal of Jews’ College and would be barred from reoccupying the pulpit of New West end Synagogue over a book in which he had questioned the method of transmission of the Torah. He questioned whether the Torah had been dictated in its entirety by God at Mount Sinai and suggested it had been divinely transmitted through the generations. New North London Synagogue’s Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, who conducted the eulogy, said: “Rabbi Dr Jacobs was a a prodigy, and a Gaon, a genius. With an immeasurable knowledge, a legendary memory, a capacity for explaining the complex simply and an inexhaustible creativity in writing and speaking, he was the outstanding scholar and teacher of generations of students, congregants and colleagues. "His books, covering almost every sphere of rabbinic scholarship, will make him the teacher of many more.”He added: “With an utter commitment to truth, he was unbending in his integrity and no amount of communal politics or condemnation could deter him from his quest.”Sir Jonathan Sacks said: “Rabbi Dr Louis Jacobs was a fine scholar, a prolific author and a man of great personal integrity“Our deep condolences go to his family and many friends who are bereaved by his passing.”