Contributors (A→Z)



J.R.R. Tolkien (translation)
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE FRSL (/ˈtɒlkiːn/;[a] 3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor who is best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. He served as the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford, from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, from 1945 to 1959. He was at one time a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972. Tolkien also translated the Book of Jonah for the Jerusalem Bible, which was published in 1966.
Mark X. Jacobs
Mark X. Jacobs was the Founding Executive Director of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL, from 1994 to 2003). Under his leadership, COEJL grew from a short-term project of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment into a permanent coalition of 29 national Jewish agencies with affiliated institutions across North America. Mark X. Jacobs currently serves as a Senior Mediator and Program Manager at the Meridian Institute, where he designs and facilitates collaborative processes that help diverse parties identify critical issues, build relationships and trust, construct innovative solutions, and implement durable decisions. Mark is currently focused on multistakeholder efforts to address challenges at the intersection of agriculture, environment, and public policy.
Jill Jacobs
Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the Executive Director of T’ruah. She is the author of Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community and There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition, both published by Jewish Lights. Rabbi Jacobs has been named three times to the Forward’s list of 50 influential American Jews, to Newsweek’s list of the 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America, and to the Jerusalem Post’s 2013 list of “Women to Watch.” She holds rabbinic ordination and an MA in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she was a Wexner Fellow; an MS in Urban Affairs from Hunter College, and a BA from Columbia University. She is also a graduate of the Mandel Institute Jerusalem Fellows Program.
Abby Jacobson
Rabbi Abby Jacobson serves the community of Emmanuel Synagogue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Marisa Elana James
Rabbi Marisa Elana James is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and a long-time member of the CBST community. Before rabbinical school, Marisa was a college English teacher, competitive ballroom dancer, insurance broker, student pilot, bookstore manager, and professional Torah reader. As a teenager growing up in Connecticut, she was a co-founder of her high school’s GSA, the second to be founded in the state. While living in Jerusalem for more than five years, Marisa worked for Encounter Programs, taught Introduction to Judaism classes in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, studied at a wide variety of schools (including Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, secular, and non-Jewish settings), and helped create and lead the rabbinical student program for T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, where she most recently worked. Marisa has also taught English at the University of Connecticut and Rutgers, and acted as cantor for communities in Israel and America.
Marcus Jastrow
Marcus Jastrow (June 5, 1829, Rogoźno – October 13, 1903) was a Polish-born American Talmudic scholar, most famously known for his authorship of the popular and comprehensive A Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Babli, Talmud Yerushalmi and Midrashic Literature. He was also a progressive, early reformist rabbi in America. Along with Benjamin Szold and Frederick de Sola Mendes, Marcus Jastrow was characterized by Jewish historian Jacob Rader Marcus as being on the right-wing of early American Reform. His translation of Rabbi Benjamin Szold's prayerbook into English offered a more traditional alternative to the Minhag America prayerbook of Isaac M. Wise. He opposed the 1885 Pittsburgh Platform, but consented for an organ to be installed in his Rodeph Shalom synagogue in Philadelphia.
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level. During the American Revolution, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration, drafted the law for religious freedom as a Virginia legislator, and served as the second Governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781, during the American Revolutionary War. He became the United States Minister to France in May 1785, and subsequently the nation's first secretary of state under President George Washington from 1790 to 1793. Jefferson and James Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose the Federalist Party during the formation of the First Party System. With Madison, he anonymously wrote the controversial Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798 and 1799, which sought to strengthen states' rights by nullifying the federal Alien and Sedition Acts. As president, Jefferson pursued the nation's shipping and trade interests against Barbary pirates and aggressive British trade policies. He also organized the Louisiana Purchase, almost doubling the country's territory. As a result of peace negotiations with France, his administration reduced military forces. He was reelected in 1804. Jefferson's second term was beset with difficulties at home, including the trial of former vice president Aaron Burr. American foreign trade was diminished when Jefferson implemented the Embargo Act of 1807, responding to British threats to U.S. shipping. In 1803, Jefferson began a controversial process of Indian tribe removal to the newly organized Louisiana Territory, and he signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves in 1807. After retiring from public office, Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. Jefferson, while primarily a planter, lawyer and politician, mastered many disciplines, which ranged from surveying and mathematics to horticulture and mechanics. He was an architect in the classical tradition. Jefferson's keen interest in religion and philosophy led to his presidency of the American Philosophical Society; he shunned organized religion but was influenced by both Christianity and deism. A philologist, Jefferson knew several languages. He was a prolific letter writer and corresponded with many prominent people. His only full-length book is Notes on the State of Virginia (1785), considered perhaps the most important American book published before 1800. Although regarded as a leading spokesman for democracy and republicanism in the era of the Enlightenment, Jefferson's historical legacy is mixed. Some modern scholarship has been critical of Jefferson's private life, pointing out the contradiction between his ownership of the large numbers of slaves that worked his plantations and his famous declaration that "all men are created equal". Another point of controversy stems from the evidence that after his wife Martha died in 1782, Jefferson fathered children with Martha's half-sister, Sally Hemings, who was his slave. Despite this, presidential scholars and historians generally praise his public achievements, including his advocacy of religious freedom and tolerance in Virginia. Jefferson continues to rank highly among U.S. presidents.
Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation
Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan saw no need to start a separate movement to achieve his goal of creating a unified American Judaism without denominational factionalism. However, his followers believed that, if Kaplan’s visions were to be realized, a separate movement was needed. Therefore, in 1940, the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation was established to support the works that promoted the Reconstructionist program.
Yaakov Yosef Joseph
Jacob Joseph (יעקב יוסף‎ 1840 –July 28, 1902) served as chief rabbi of New York City's Association of American Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, a federation of Eastern European Jewish synagogues. Born in Krozhe, a province of Kovno, he studied in the Nevyozer Kloiz under Rabbi Yisrael Salanter and in the Volozhin yeshiva under the Netziv. In Volozhin, he was known as "Rav Yaakov Charif" (Rabbi Jacob Sharp) because of his sharp mind. He became successively rabbi of Vilon in 1868, Yurburg in 1870, Zhagory and then Kovno. His fame as a preacher spread, so that in 1883 the community of Vilna selected him as its maggid. In the 1880s, the mainly Orthodox and Eastern European Ashkenazi Jewish community of New York wanted to be united under a common religious authority and founded the Association of American Orthodox Hebrew Congregations—comprising 18 congregations and headed by Beth Hamedrash Hagadol. They sent a circular offering the post throughout Eastern Europe. Rabbi Jacob Joseph was among those offered the position and, in 1888, accepted it. The Association attempted to create one central rabbinic authority in America. Without the support of other factions of the Jewish community and hostility from anti-religious groups, their idea ultimately failed. Although Joseph fought a losing battle in the kosher meat and poultry industry, he managed to achieve some notable accomplishments, including the hiring of qualified shochtim, introducing irremovable seals ("plumba") to identify kosher birds, and setting up Mashgichim to oversee slaughter houses. He also took an active role in establishing the Etz Chaim Yeshiva—the first yeshiva on the Lower East Side, which was founded in 1886. (adapted from the article, "Jacob Joseph" on wikipedia.)

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