Nov 28, 2016
Longest-Serving Rabbi in Scotland

70-year-old Shliach Rabbi Chaim Jacobs was titled Scotland's longest-serving rabbi and he's not sitting back any time soon.

The Herald Scotland reports:

His mission has been to watch over the Jewish community in Scotland's largest city, reach out to wayward members and steer them back towards the faith.

Chaim Jacobs, 70, is Scotland's longest-serving rabbi, having served the Jews of Glasgow for nearly five decades, and is proud to say he is still going strong.

However, Glasgow's Jewish population, mostly confined to the south side of the city, has been in decline and now numbers about 4,000.

Many of them will have taken part in programmes and classes run by Rabbi Jacobs and his wife Sora, or eaten at L'Chaim's, the Kosher restaurant they established.

Rabbi Jacobs said: "A number of synagogues have closed because the community has contracted. You have a married couple and they have two or three children who go off to university or college and they don't come back to Glasgow after that.

"Either because they find a better Jewish social life down south or overseas, or they find better job opportunities. They don't settle in Glasgow, so now a family of two adults and two or three children is just down to the two adults.

"And then very often, when they come to retirement age, they are moving to where their children are."

Rabbi Jacobs is part of the Lubavitch movement – the world's largest Jewish educational outreach organisation, headquartered in New York and with branches in 90 countries.

Not tied to any one synagogue, his role is at the heart of the community, inspiring and encouraging Jews to learn about their faith.

He came to Scotland in 1969 and despite the many changes he has witnessed during the intervening years, is still working as hard as ever. "The main function of the organisation is to try and inspire and encourage Jews to come back to their faith", said Rabbi Jacobs.

"The Lubavitch came into the community primarily to reach out to the community. We are not tied down to these functions on a day-to-day basis.

"When we came to Scotland we were a breath of fresh air for the Jewish community."

Mrs Jacobs, 65, added: "We started off with a lot of youth work when we first came. We did day camps for 150 children every year, we took them out on day trips on buses and did children's clubs, cooking and baking and handicrafts.

"We had a nursery school for more than 30 years in the Giffnock synagogue and in Clarkston Synagogue. At one point, we had more than 60 children of a morning.

"Then we did adult education programmes, kosher food exhibitions, cooking demonstrations. We have dealt with the children and now they are becoming parents themselves and we are dealing with their children. It's lovely, wonderful."

Having raised a family of six together – one of their sons, Mendel, is also a rabbi – the couple could be excused for thinking about retirement.

But Rabbi Jacobs said that there are no plans to sit back any time soon.

He added: "As long as we are here, as long as there are Jews here that we can preach to or reach to or connect with, we have our work cut out."

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Opinions and Comments
B.H. Chaim & Sora,
Wishing you both much hatzlocha in 'The Rebbe's' avodas.
You are making your parents proud, and they are receiving much nachas from you. May Hashem grant you good health.
Regards from your friends in Crown Heights, N.Y.
(11/28/2016 8:52:27 PM)
M'chayil el chayil!
It was over three decades ago that I had the z'chus to spend time with the awesome Jacobs family in Scotland. I was presenting at the World's First Congress on Special Education. After brown-bagging it for the duration of the conference, the Jacobs took super care of me for Shabbos and several days afterwards. Their warm and vibrant Chabad House was an oasis for me on my world travels. May Hashem bless them and all of their extended families with birchas hagefen tamid - always with great success, good health, wealth, and nachas. They are true lamp-lighters and do it all with love and happiness. Should you ever get to Miami, our home is always open for you! M'chayil el chayil and Moshiach Now!
(11/28/2016 10:22:07 PM)
Very Impressive, very nice
Hatzlacha Rabba to the Rabbi & Mrs. Jacobs. Hashem should give you both the strength to continue on to help usher in the Era of our Righteous Moshiach Z'dkeinu and let it be Now!!
(11/28/2016 10:56:50 PM)
Tuvia poznanski
To reb chaim and his rebitzen you are both inspirational may you have many gezunt years doing your holy mision with the koach of the mishtalaach zyo
Kol tuv tuvia poznanski
(11/29/2016 5:32:37 AM)
Chani Klein Farron
I worked for Rabbi and Mrs. Jacobs Amazing shluchim
(11/29/2016 11:01:26 AM)
AMS Essex
amazing couple amazing shlichus, an example to all older and young alike

Chazak Ve'ematz mit gezunt un parnossoh
(11/29/2016 11:07:52 AM)
Dito AMS Essex/Baila CH
Our parents AH are shepping true chassidishe Yiddish nachas!!
Truly amazing!
Continued Hatzlocha in your holy selfless work!
(11/29/2016 1:48:48 PM)
Rabbi Chaim Jacobs
Thanks so much to COL for publishing this article, very much appreciated.
It is important to read the original article on the Glasgow Herald Website as well to fully understand the challenges of the past 47 plus years
(11/29/2016 5:04:30 PM)
ben zion and gita lewis. manchester
mazel tov rabbi and rebbetzen jacobs. You are truely dedicated shiluchim. Your avodas kodesh is a shining light that is felt far beyond scotland. You are perfect ambasadors for the Rebbe. We should only shep nachas fron each other.
(12/1/2016 7:13:02 AM)
So proud
Growing up in your home with you was amazing. Being part of your family. Everyday you still influence my life. Incredible shluchim of the Rebbe.
(12/1/2016 2:43:30 PM)
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