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Rothschild, Jacob M.


ROTHSCHILD, JACOB M. (1911–1973), U.S. rabbi and civil rights organizer. Rothschild was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and earned his B.A. from the University of Cincinnati in 1932. He was ordained in 1936 at *Hebrew Union College, which also awarded him an honorary D.D. in 1960. His first pulpits were with Temple Emanuel of Davenport, Iowa (1936–67) and Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1937–42). In 1942, he entered the United States Army as a chaplain, spending more than a year in the Pacific theatre and seeing infantry combat with the American Division on Guadalcanal. In 1946, he became rabbi of Hebrew Benevolent Congregation (The Temple) in Atlanta, Georgia, where he served until his death.

Rothschild was a courageous voice, championing civil rights during a turbulent era in the South. He and his family received threats of violence, and a bomb exploded at the Temple in 1958. He remained steadfast and was instrumental in convincing the city of Atlanta to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., when he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Rothschild was also an interfaith activist who served on the executive board of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, established an Institute for the Christian Clergy, and was a founding member of the Atlanta Community Relations Commission, in addition to serving as vice president of the Greater Atlanta Council on Human Relations (1962–26). In the Jewish community, Rothschild served terms as president of both the Atlanta Rabbinical Association and the Atlanta Federation for Jewish Social Services (1954–57). In the Reform movement, he served on the executive board of the *Central Conference of American Rabbis (1953–55) and as chairman of the ccar's Commission on Justice and Peace (1954–56). Subsequently, he was named to the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion (1962–64) and to the Board of Trustees of the *Union of American Hebrew Congregations (1966–8). A member of the Advisory Committee of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and of the Advisory Board of the Southeast Region of the Anti-Defamation League, he was honored twice by the adl, receiving the Citation of Merit Award in 1964 and the Abe Goldstein Human Relations Award in 1968, the same year he was the recipient of Clergyman of the Year Award by the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

[Bezalel Gordon (2nd ed.)]

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