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Death of Jacobs

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-07-03

Louis Jacobs

Louis Jacobs

Louis Jacobs, the rabbi who founded the Masorti movement in the UK has died, just weeks before his 85th birthday.

Born in Manchester, Louis Jacobs shook up the Jewish establishment by suggesting that aspects of orthodox Judaism needed to come to terms with the modern age.

Despite his orthodox upbringing and commitment to the community, in 1961, Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie refused to grant him permission to be head of Jews' College due to Jacobs' published views.

From then on, it became a major issue of the day and one which sparked the establishment of the Masorti movement and even recently, some aspects of the orthodox community shunned Rabbi Jacobs for his stance. 

"Louis taught me Talmud at Leo Baeck College. He was the greatest Jewish scholar whom I have had the privilege of knowing and learning from," said Rabbi Tony Bayfield, head of the Reform movement. "I will remember him, of course, for the profundity of his scholarship but also for his honesty, integrity, personal kindness and sense of humour."