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Rudin, Jacob Philip


RUDIN, JACOB PHILIP (1902–1982), U.S. Reform rabbi. Rudin was born in Malden, Massachusetts, and received his B.A. from of Harvard College in 1924. In 1928, he was ordained at the *Jewish Institute of Religion, which awarded him an honorary D.D. in 1981. After ordination, he served as assistant rabbi under Stephen S. *Wise at the Free Synagogue in New York as well as an assistant to the president of the Jewish Institute of Religion (1928–30). In 1930, he became rabbi of Temple Beth-El in Great Neck, New York, where he was to remain for the rest of his life (emeritus from 1971). He enlisted in the United States Navy Chaplains' Corps and saw duty in the Pacific and in the Aleutians during World War ii. A brilliant orator, his preaching attracted large audiences; under his guidance, Temple Beth-El grew to more than a thousand members.

As one of the leading rabbis on Long Island, Rudin played a prominent role in the affairs of the Jewish community of the region, creating an interfaith group of local clergy and serving as president of the New York Metropolitan Association of Reform Rabbis and a member of the executive board of the New York Board of Rabbis. He quickly emerged as a leader on the national scene as well: in the Reform movement, he was a member of the board of governors of huc-jir, as well as president of its alumni association and a member of the executive board of the *Union of American Hebrew Congregations. He also served on the executive board of the *Central Conference of American Rabbis before being elected president of the ccar in 1957. As president – much as he had done previously, when warning against Nazism as early as 1933 and attacking McCarthyism in the 1950s – he took a strong stand against segregation and in favor of the process of school integration that was beginning in the South. He was also instrumental in keeping the New York City campus of huc-jir open and functioning, in spite of pressures to move it to Cincinnati.

In 1967, he became president of the Synagogue Council of America, in which capacity Rudin – an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War – was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to an observer team for the Vietnamese elections. He also represented American Jewry at the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968.

An editor of the Jewish Institute Quarterly, Rudin wrote So You Like Puzzles (1934), A Children's Haggadah (1936), and a collection of his sermons, Very Truly Yours (1971, edited by Jack *Stern).

[Bezalel Gordon (2nd ed.)]

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