Rabbi Louis Jacobs, considered a Talmudic genius and an outstanding teacher and author, was expected to become Britain’s next Chief Rabbi – but then controversy struck.
In this first in-depth biography, author Harry Freedman explores how Jacobs went from being respected to being exiled and forbidden from returning as rabbi to his former synagogue, after penning We Have Reason to Believe.
The British Jewish community was torn apart. Rabbi Jacobs’ book on Jewish thought was a scandal unlike anything it had ever previously endured. Jacobs became a cause célèbre, a beacon of reason who wouldn’t be compromised. His congregation resigned en masse and created a new synagogue for him in Abbey Road, St John’s Wood, the heart of fashionable 1960s London. It became the go-to venue for Jews seeking alternative answers to questions of faith.
Freedman’s biography tells the dramatic and touching story of Jacobs’s life, and of the human drama lived out by his family, deeply wounded by his rejection.
- Reason To Believe: The Controversial Life of Rabbi Louis Jacobs by Harry Freedman is published by Bloomsbury, priced £25 (hardback). Available now.
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