Memorial for Rabbi Jacobs
10 January 2020


I was very saddened to learn about the passing of Rabbi Dr Irving Jacobs, former Principal of Jews College and Rabbi of the Neve Shalom Synagogue in Wembley.

For me, Rabbi Dr Jacobs stood out as an extraordinary educator and master of Midrash. His encyclopaedic knowledge, grasp of Talmudic literature and capacity to inspire his students, made him a legendary teacher of our time.

Blessed with a rare blend of brilliance and humility, Rabbi Dr Jacobs was a person of deep principle, who led by personal example. I shall always be grateful for the inspiration he gave me and many others.

I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family.

Yehi zichro baruch – May his memory be for an eternal blessing.

Tributes paid to former Jews College principal, Rabbi Irving Jacobs
Jewish News, 9 December 2020

Remembering Rabbi Dr Irving Jacobs
Jewish News, 11 December 2020

Hesped for Rabbi Dr Irving Jacobs by Spencer Lewis
LSJS website, 8 January 2021

Tributes to Rabbi Jacobs from 2014

I have known Rabbi Jacobs for 50 years. He is undoubtedly one of the most erudite speakers in Anglo Jewry. When he speaks at Neve Shalom, he attracts an audience from far and wide to listen to him. His ability to bring to life any Jewish text is unique. He can condense his message and deliver a ‘massive punch’ more eloquently than any other Rabbi I have heard.

Robert Kandel

Rabbi Jacobs and I are are very close friends. He is one of the finest lecturers I know which is why I asked him to lecture to our Kollel.

Rabbi Abraham Levy

Rabbi Jacobs fearlessly delves into the hidden and forgotten histories behind our prayers and liturgies. Once you have heard him talk, the Haggadah, the Psalms and the Siddur are never the same. The dimensions he reveals have enriched my reading of the prayer books and especially my seder nights.

Jonathan Colman

I have had the privilege of knowing Rabbi Irving Jacobs for almost 50 years. His career has seen him equally at home bringing the complexities of Hebrew grammar alive for a class of 10 year olds, and lecturing to the most seasoned of advanced students. His knowledge of the history and development of Hebrew liturgy is perhaps unmatched, as his ability to bring a smile to all those he teaches.

Daniel Halfon

Rabbi Dr Irving Jacobs was my most inspirational teacher and I feel immensely privileged to be his student. His in-depth understanding of a text and his ability to make it come to life is something I have tried to replicate in my own teaching over many years. He inspired me then, and he inspires me still’.

Spencer Lewis, Head Teacher, Yavneh College

Rabbi Jacobs’ mesmerising teaching style, sense of humour and coverage of fascinating topics in the fields of siddur, Tanach and Midrash are models as I develop my own learning and teaching. I am enormously grateful to him for opening my eyes to so much Torah.

Rabbi Michael Laitner

Each shiur is a journey back in time, and makes us re-live essential moments in Jewish History. I love listening to Rabbi Jacobs, but beware, it is an addictive travel experience!

Arielle Scemama

Around 40 years ago I asked Rabbi Jacobs to give an early evening shiur to a small group of friends in my office. Even after all these, years, I can remember how his exegesis opened a whole new horizon on the meaning of the text.  His huge expertise in Midrash illuminated his shiurim together with his scintillating and, at times, wicked sense of humour. Anglo-Jewry has been hugely fortunate in having a teacher of his brilliance in its midst.

Alan Lewis

In the story of the creation there is a hint that this day is especially good – the phrase ‘for it is good’ is written twice. Because of this many simchas are celebrated on a Tuesday. For me, Tuesday is a simcha every week because of Rabbi Dr Jacobs’ brilliantly prepared  shiurim. He is a top class educator with a great sense of humour and a true scholar.

Barry Moss

Rabbi Jacobs was my cheder teacher when I was 12.  I can still remember his wonderful lessons which gave me my grounding in biblical Hebrew and Chumash.  In recent years I have attended many of his shiurim on a range of aspects of the Tanach.  He brings to them a tremendous insight, often great humour and a really contemporary approach to interpretation.  I feel very privileged to have had him as my teacher over many years and he continues to be an inspirational teacher to me and to those who learn with him.

Sue Nyman

Rabbi Jacobs has given a regular Tuesday shiur for over 20 years. He demonstrates a depth of knowledge that is often ‘mind blowing’ on all of the varous subjects has has tackled. Always insightful, he delives a unique response to the text that is both tradtional and refreshing.

Ronald Rabson 

Rabbi Jacobs challenges us to think and that makes his shiur the highlight of my week.

Harold Cowan

Rabbi Jacobs expands our knowlege with wit and erudition.

Jerry Craimer

Rabbi Jacobs presents original ideas which are nevertheless wholly in accordance with halachah.

David Hanstater 

A Rabbi Jacobs shiur is both an entertainment and a serious learning experience.  He is the quintessential English gentleman rabbi, whose unassuming modesty belies his encyclopedic knowledge.  He has a unique knack of getting to the parts of the text that the other rabbis don’t!

Jeff Levison

His expert knowledge of both text and context and a compelling, pedagogic style is what makes Rabbi Dr Irving Jacobs one of this generation’s great teachers of Bible, Midrash and Liturgy.

Rabbi Dr Julian Schindler 

It is real privilege to be one of Rabbi Jacob’s students.  His humour and erudition are truly amazing and his sources cover the full gamut of Jewish scholarship, historical, sociological and textual. His knowledge of Midrash which is truly encyclopaedic often serves to opens our minds to unimagined solutions. His method of teaching is easy to follow however little one knows. His class is the highlight of my week.

Anne Godfrey

Rabbi Jacobs is an extraordinarily talented and inspiring teacher.

Rosalind Brent

It has been an absolute honour to have been taught by Rabbi Dr. Irving Jacobs. He is a supreme communicator, he never “talks down” to his students. Every question, however simple, is treated with the utmost respect. He varies his subjects, every one of great interest – Pirkei Avot, Prayers, Bible Text, etc. His speciality is Midrash , but everything is presented and received with enthusiasm. May his instruction continue for many years to come!

Linda Sharpe

Rabbi Jacobs recognizes that not all of his students have his depth of knowledge nor his intellect, thus his lectures are always empathetic and entertaining. I have learnt an enormous amount, not just about halachic issues but about humanity itself. He is a natural born teacher and the fact that I and many others so greatly look forward to attending his shiurs speaks volumes about him.

Deanne Coleman

I only joined Rabbi Jacobs’s shiur last year – and I am so glad I did! It is not only the content, the discussion and the explanations that Rabbi Jacobs presents us with but his vast knowledge, delivered in such an accessible manner, dotted with much humour. I find it incredibly fulfilling and, in the best possible way, instructive. I feel privileged to be part of his ‘student faculty’.

Ruth Starr

How fortunate we are to have a weekly women’s shiur (class) led by a man of such scholarship, erudition and didactic skills as Rabbi Irving Jacobs. It is a measure of the appeal of Rabbi Jacobs and his approach to Jewish study that this lively and stimulating shiur attracts a core of devoted members representing a wide range of age groups, from young mothers to nonagenarians.

Hazel Cosgrove