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Minkin, Jacob Samuel


MINKIN, JACOB SAMUEL (1885–1962), U.S. Conservative rabbi and author. Minkin was born in Russian Poland and received his education in Prague. He immigrated to the United States in 1904, earned a B.A. from Columbia University in 1908, and was ordained at the *Jewish Theological Seminary in 1910, where he earned his D.H.L. in 1935. Minkin's first pulpit was with Congregation Anshe Shalom in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (1910–17), where he organized Jewish education classes and an evening school teaching English to Jewish immigrants. The program was so successful that the city's Board of Education adopted the school and appointed Minkin superintendent of Hamilton night schools. In 1919, he was appointed rabbi of Temple Beth El in Rochester, New York, a newly established Reform congregation that Minkin led into the Conservative movement. In 1922, he began writing a syndicated column, News of the Jewish World, which appeared in more than 50 newspapers for eight years. In 1929, he became rabbi of Inwood Hebrew Congregation in New York City (1929–33), before leaving the congregational rabbinate to devote more time to scholarly research and writing. He took a part-time position as Jewish chaplain of Fordham Hospital in New York, where he remained for 25 years. Minkin wrote biographies of outstanding Jewish men of the ancient and medieval worlds, a study of the contribution of Jewish thought to modern philosophy, and one of the first books in English on the history and founders of the Ḥasidic movement. His works include The Romance of Hassidism (1935); Herod: A Biography (1936); Abarbanel and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain (1938); The World of Moses Maimonides (1957); posthumously, The Shaping of the Modern Mind: The Life and Thought of the Great Jewish Philosophers (1963); and Gabriel da Costa (1969).


P.S. Nadell, Conservative Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1988).

[Bezalel Gordon (2nd ed)]

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