As some of you may already know, this is my last month working for the organization. Let me start therefore by emphasizing how wonderful an experience the last 19 months have been for me, exploring the legacy of Rabbi Dr Louis Jacobs. I would like to thank each and every one of you who followed this blog, and can only hope you took as much pleasure reading my updates as I did writing them. Now time to make the last one worthwhile!
We’ve worked extensively on the website these past few weeks. I originally found that the different headings and categories were not necessarily helpful for someone navigating louisjacobs.org searching for resources. The constant addition of new material obviously intensified this problem. But we’ve finally dealt with this issue, and the result is very satisfactory. I’ve made a clearer separation between general articles and specifically homilies, creating a new section for the latter, which Louis Jacobs wrote very regularly. I also created new categories to place material specifically relating to his involvement as a communal rabbi at the New West End and the New London Synagogue, and another containing the material detailing Jacobs’s involvement as expert witness in the fascinating three-week trial between Agudas Chasidei Chabad and Barry S. Gourary in the United States (including the transcript which Simon and Ivor re-enacted last week!).
I also took the opportunity to expand the section on the Jacobs Affair, distinguishing between primary sources relating to the Affair, media coverage, defamatory press (including a most entertaining, vitriolic piece published by Neturei Karta!), and its aftermath (the famous Garnethill scandal, the various attempts at establishing a joint beth din on conversion, but also some more obscure incidents involving the Jacobs family). Worth noting as well, of course, is Louis Jacobs’s very own PhD dissertation on The Business Life of Jews in Babylon, accessible to the public for the very first time!
I’ll mention as well the Academic Reviews section which contains detailed, in-depth analyses of Louis Jacobs’s thought, including several pieces written towards the completion of degrees (graduate or undergraduate). Again, you’ll realize how vast the resources present on this website are, and our hope is that students or academics will take advantage of it in the future to make creative contributions to contemporary scholarship by delving into Louis Jacobs’s remarkable legacy. If you have written one such scholarly piece, please feel free to send it to us to be uploaded on the site!
Finally, we’ve placed all the Annual Memorial Lectures in one same page. They were previously scattered in different places on the website, which made them difficult to locate. These are all fascinating lectures by prominent scholars, very much worth exploring. And of course, don’t miss the upcoming 11th edition, for which we will be privileged to welcome the distinguished JTS Professor Benjamin Sommer. Definitely not something to be missed!
As I write these lines, the number of pieces I’ve placed on our website has reached over 700. The scope of this Project is immense, but I’m glad to say I made a significant contribution towards its eventual completion. I will proudly carry the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the past few months in my own intellectual baggage, and leave today not only with a much finer understanding of Anglo-Jewish history, but most of all, an enhanced sense of gratitude and admiration to those I have met who toil hard ‘to magnify the Torah and make it glorious’ (lehagdil torah ulehadirah) and still follow today Jacobs’s invitation to continue the quest.
To all my readers, I hope you have a wonderful summer, and stay in touch!