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Orthodox Rabbi Dismissed by Jesuit College Where He Had Been Teaching Jewish History

An Orthodox rabbi has been dismissed, effective tomorrow, from the staff of Seattle University, a Jesuit institution, leaving it without Judaica courses for the first time in nine years. The Administration said Rabbi Arthur A. Jacobovitz’s courses in Jewish history and Jewish theology, which had run from 1961 through last term and were to be resumed this September, were being dropped because of a 20 percent budget cut, even though he had been earning only $500 a term since 1962. The cancellation was made despite Rabbi Jacobovitz’s willingness to teach without pay, as he had done his first year at the university. The school explained that teaching gratis was contrary to its policy.

Although there are only seven or eight Jewish students at the 3,000 student, largely Catholic, partially Protestant Institution, Rabbi Jacobovitz–whose program of three courses was reduced to two last fall–has had far more than that rally to his cause in the wake of his dismissal. A petition signed by over 800 students–more than voted in last month’s campus elections–urges his reinstatement, charging that “discontinuing the rabbi’s services would exclude representation of Jewish thought” on the campus. The students noted that the university president had recently found Rabbi Jacobovitz “a competent teacher, a good scholar and an asset to the university.” The rabbi also serves as director of the off-campus B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation at the University of Washington. He could not be reached for comment today.

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