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|Born||October 26, 1919
|Died||October 1, 2015(2015-10-01) (aged 95)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Residence||Beverly Hills, California, U.S.|
|Education||University of Pennsylvania
Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Joel Pressman (deceased)
Dora (Levin) Pressman
Jacob "Jack" Pressman (October 26, 1919 – October 1, 2015) was an American Conservative rabbi. He served as the rabbi of Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles, California from 1950 to 1985. He was a co-founder of the American Jewish University in Bel Air. He penned a weekly column in The Beverly Hills Courier from 2004 to 2015.
Jacob Pressman was born on October 26, 1919 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father was Solomon Pressman and his mother, Dora (Levin) Pressman. Raised in the Jewish faith, he attended Temple Beth Am in Philadelphia.
Pressman graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1940, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. He attended the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and was ordained as a conservative rabbi in 1945.
Pressman served as rabbi at Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens, New York City, from 1944 to 1946. In 1946, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he first served as associate rabbi at Sinai Temple until 1950. At the time, the senior rabbi was Jacob Kohn (or Cohen).
In 1950, he became rabbi of the Olympic Jewish Center. It was renamed Temple Beth Am in 1957. Pressman established Beth Am Manor, a low-rent residence for senior citizens as well as the Rabbi Jacob Pressman Academy, a combination of nursery, elementary and secondary schools connected to the synagogue.
Pressman spearheaded the 'Save Soviet Jewry' campaign in 1964, leading to greater awareness of the plight of the Jews in the Soviet Union. This in turn led to more immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel. Moreover, he joined Martin Luther King, Jr. in his protest march in Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.
Pressman served as President of the Western Region of the Rabbanical Assembly and Chairman of its convention in 1979. Additionally, he served as President of the Board of Rabbis of Los Angeles. He served on the Executive Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. He was also Chair of the Los Angeles campaign for Israel Bonds. Moreover, he was involved with the United Jewish Appeal.
Pressman spearheaded the establishment of Camp Ramah in California, a summer camp in Ojai. He was a co-founder of the Brandeis-Bardin Camp Institute. He served as Chairman of the Los Angeles Zionist Youth Commission. He played a critical role in the founding of the Los Angeles Hebrew High School. He was a co-founder of the University of Judaism, later known as the American Jewish University (AJU), located in Bel Air. He was a recipient of the 2004 Rabbi Simon Greenberg Award from AJU.
Pressman was the founding President of the Maple Counseling Centre, a non-profit organization which offers free counseling sessions, based in Beverly Hills, California. He has written a weekly column in The Beverly Hills Courier since 2004. He has written two books.
Pressman was married to Marjorie Steinberg. They resided in Beverly Hills, California. One of their sons, Joel, who worked as a Performing Arts teacher at the Beverly Hills High School, died in 2013. Their second son, Daniel, is a rabbi. They also had a daughter, Judith, who made Aliya to Israel and has been a pioneer of Ma'ale Tzvia community village in the Galilee.
Pressman died in Los Angeles on October 1, 2015. He was ninety-five years old. His funeral was held at Temple Beth Am, and he was buried at the Eden Memorial Park Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery in Mission Hills, Los Angeles.
- This Wild and Crazy World as Seen From Beverly Hills by Rabbi Jack (1999).
- Dear Friends: A Prophetic Journey Through Great Events of the 20th Century (Hoboken, New Jersey: KTAV Publishing House, 2002).
- Nadell, Pamela Susan (1988). Conservative Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook. New York: Greenwood Press. pp. 202–203. OCLC 642205203.
- Berenbaum, Michael (October 23, 2013). "Rabbi Jacob Pressman turns 94: A community treasure". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Los Angeles, California. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
- "RABBINIC ORDINATION - 2004". Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies of the American Jewish University. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
- "Alumni Notes". University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
- Berrin, Danielle (December 3, 2008). "Rabbi Jacob Pressman takes a bow". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Los Angeles, California. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
- Stammer, Larry B. (October 23, 1999). "A Witness to Hate and Hope". The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
- Berrin, Danielle (September 11, 2008). "Marjorie Pressman: 'I created my own role'". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Los Angeles, California. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
- "Joel Pressman, cantor and performing arts teacher, dies at 63". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Los Angeles, California. November 20, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
- Berenbaum, Michael (October 1, 2015). "Rabbi Jacob Pressman, spiritual leader of Temple Beth Am, dies at 95". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Los Angeles, California. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
- Seitz, John L. (October 2, 2015). "Rabbi Jacob Pressman Dead At 95, Leaving A Legendary Legacy". The Beverly Hills Courier. Beverly Hills, California. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
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