VOORSANGER, JACOB (1852–1908), U.S. Reform rabbi. Voorsanger, born in Amsterdam, Holland, received his rabbinical education there and in 1872 settled in the United States. After holding several pulpits, he became associated with Emanu-El Congregation in San Francisco in 1886, first as assistant to Rabbi Elkan *Cohn, and, upon the latter's death in 1889, as rabbi. Well versed in Jewish literature, an energetic worker, and an able preacher and writer, Voorsanger became the foremost rabbi on the West Coast. He knew 13 languages and taught at the University of California Berkeley. He was classically Reform in his religious orientation and actively opposed Zionism. Among the rabbis he influenced were boys in his own congregation, Judah L. Magnes, Martin A. Meyer, who was his successor, and his son Elkan Voorsanger. In 1895 he founded the weekly Emanu-El, which achieved prominence on the West Coast. He published Chronicles of Emanu-El (1900) and also compiled a Sabbath evening service. Voorsanger's Sermons and Addresses, ed. by O.I. Wise, was issued in 1913. He was not open to the immigration of Eastern European Jews and proposed a quota on the number of immigrants, especially to San Francisco.
[Sefton D. Temkin /
Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]