Last updated on: 7/31/2008 | Author:

Louis Jacobs, PhD Biography

Former Rabbi of the New London Synagogue in London
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“According to the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 1:4) the death penalty could only be inflicted, after trial, by a Sanhedrin composed of twenty-three judges and there were four types of death penalty (Sanhedrin 7:1): stoning, burning, slaying (by the sword), and strangling. A bare reading of these and the other accounts in the tractate would seem to suggest a vast proliferation of the death penalty. Yet, throughout the Talmudic literature, this whole subject is viewed with unease, so much so that according to the rules stated in that literature the death penalty could hardly ever have been imposed.”

“The Death Penalty in Jewish Tradition,” The Jewish Religion: A Companion, 1995

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Former Rabbi, New London Synagogue, London
  • Former Rabbi, New West End Synagogue, London
  • Former Visiting Professor, Lancaster University, United Kingdom, 1987
  • Former Visiting Professor, Harvard Divinity School, 1985-1986
  • Representative of the Jewish Religion, 20th Anniversary Celebrations of the United Nations
  • Voted Greatest British Jew of All Time, The Jewish Chronicle of London, Dec. 2005
  • Manchester Yeshiva, Semicha, Rabbinic Ordination
  • Talmudic study, Gateshead Kolel
  • PhD, Semantics, London University
  • Died on July 1, 2006