British Jewry's 'greatest ever' Jew: Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs

Source:  British Jewry's 'greatest ever' Jew: Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs    Tag:  dr rosalind franklin
A poll initiated by the Jewish Chronicle (no link because it is accessible by subscription only) on the occasion of the 350th Anniversary of the Readmission of the Jews to England , asked readers to nominate and vote on the "Greatest British Jew of all time".

Results were:


1 Rabbi Dr Louis Jacobs,
leader of the Masorti community

2 Sir Moses Montefiore, 19th-century
philanthropist and Jewish communal leader who campaigned tirelessly for Jews at
home and abroad

3 Rabbi Hugo Gryn, Holocaust survivor and broadcaster
who until his death in 1996 was rabbi at the Reform community’s West London
Synagogue near Marble Arch

4 Ernst Chain, biochemist who was awarded the
Nobel prize for his work in developing penicillin

5 Rosalind Franklin,
20th-century physicist who researched DNA and the double helix

Benjamin Disraeli, 19th-century Prime Minister regarded as Jewish even though
his father had him baptised"

(List is courtesy of 'The Times', which ran a good article on the contest and its results)

In an Editorial, the 'JC' comments on the fact that it is interesting that Rabbi Jacobs - a very Jewish Jew, and one whose contribution to Anglo-Jewry has been purely religious, scholarly and intellectual - was the winner.

Rabbi Jacobs is without doubt the most versatile scholar ever produced by British Jewry, having published extensively on almost every field of Jewish learning. Despite his pariah status in Britain's Orthodox community (in that, although not in his theology, he was an early Slifkin), in the famous Lubavitch lawsuit over the Sixth Rebbe's library (did it belong to the Chasidim or to the family?), Louis Jacobs was the expert witness called by Chabad to testify about Hasidic doctrine.

It should give pause for thought that despite the fact that Britain's synagogue membership is still overwhelmingly Orthodox (whatever that means in the UK), no Orthodox figure appears on the list, apart from Moses Montefiore. His place on the list is almost certainly due to his communal leadership rather than his private practices. Altogether, the list is perhaps surprisingly literate - perhaps another indicator of change in Anglo-Jewry?

Anyway - congratulations to Louis Jacobs!

  • Some things never change, however - the official website of the anniversary of the 'Resettlement' is, frankly, pathetic. How about including - just a suggestion - some INFORMATION ON THE RESETTLEMENT ?