The Legacy of Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus
Dr. Marcus always stressed a four part personal credo:
a) always prepare carefully
and thoroughly, b) the most important
thing in life is integrity, c)
be a gentleman to everyone, and d)
remember to laugh; view the world, your work, and yourself with
In addition to principled scholarship Dr. Marcus devoted his
life to the Reform rabbinate. Indeed, when he died at age 99
(four months shy of his 100th birthday), he was not only the
worlds oldest living Reform rabbi, he was the longest
tenured faculty member at a U.S. university.
Despite his extensive scholarly commitments Marcus continued
to devote himself to his rabbinic responsibilities, serving
as vice-president of the CCAR (194749) and president (194951).
In 1978 the CCAR named Marcus Honorary President
a title in which he took enormous pride. Several months before
his death the Hebrew Union CollegeJewish Institute of
Religion honored Marcus by renaming the American Jewish Archives
The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.
In 1995 Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, then President of HUCJIR
delivered one of the most eloquent eulogies for Dr. Marcus:
Jacob R. Marcus, dean of American Jewish historians, was a pioneer
in the research on American Jewry. Founder and Director of the
American Jewish Archives, he created a premier research institute
and documentation center on American Jewry. Beloved mentor and
patriarch of the American Reform rabbinate, he left an indelible
imprint on his many colleagues and friends. He is irreplaceable.
Throughout his career Marcus regarded his students, the men
and women of the American Reform rabbinate, as surrogate children,
especially after his only daughter Merle died in a house fire
in 1965. To Marcus all his students, both men and women, were