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Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild, Civil Rights Activist, Dead at Age 62

January 3, 1974
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Funeral services were held here today for Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild, one of the South’s first civil rights activists, who died Monday of a heart attack at the age of 62. Rabbi Rothschild had been rabbi for 27 years of the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, better known as The Temple, Atlanta’s leading Reform congregation.

Rabbi Rothschild was born in Pittsburgh, was educated at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Cincinnati and was ordained by Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati. He served as a rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Davenport, Iowa, and Temple Rodeph Shalom in Pittsburgh before coming to Atlanta in 1946.

During World War II Rabbi Rothschild volunteered for the chaplaincy and served with the American Division on Guadalcanal. He was the first Jewish chaplain to serve in a combat area. In 1947 he entered the civil rights movement in which he was active the rest of his life. He was a close friend and associate of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Rabbi Rothschild headed the Atlanta Jewish Family Service Federation during the 1950s and was active in other Jewish communal and national organizations.

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