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Beverly Hills News – Rabbi Jacob Pressman Dead At 95, Leaving A Legendary Legacy

Rabbi Jacob & Marjorie Pressman

Posted Friday, October 2 – 1:00 PM

By John L. Seitz

Funeral services for Rabbi Jacob Pressman, a longtime spiritual leader of Temple Beth Am and Courier columnist, will be held Sunday, Oct. 4 at 10:30 a.m. at Temple Beth Am, 1039 S, La  Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. 

Pressman passed away Thursday at age 95.

The Philadelphia-born “Rabbi Jack,” as he was nicknamed, has been a pillar in the community since he and Marjorie, his beloved wife and partner of more than 70 years, arrived here in the late 1940s. He had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and received his rabbinical training at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

His first California assignment was as assistant to Rabbi Jacob Cohen at Sinai Temple. He then took over a small congregation (Olympic Jewish Center), which he turned into Temple Beth Am, building it into a prominent Conservative congregation of 1,300+ families and produced the nation’s largest annual campaign for Israel Bonds. He was the first registrar of the University of Judaism, and a founder of Camp Ramah, Los Angeles Hebrew High, and Akivah Academy.

Pressman helped to create the “Save Soviet Jewry” movement that brought the plight of Soviet Jewry to the attention of the American public which enabled thousands of Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel.

In 1965, he joined a group of 293 Californians who walked with Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery, Alabama.

When he finally retired from Temple Beth Am, the temple named its educational unit in his honor: The Rabbi Jacob Pressman Day School.

Besides wife Marjorie, he is survived by a son Rabbi Daniel of San Jose, and daughter Judith from Israel. Their other son, Joel, a fixture on the faculty of Beverly Hills High School, died last year.

Funeral services will be held in the sanctuary of Temple Beth Am, 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd, with interment at Eden Memorial. As soon as details are available as to date and time, as well as Shiva information, they will be posted at

The Pressman wit and wisdom were legendary and, until recently, on display in the weekly columns he penned in The Courier. Rabbi Jack, we thank you and will miss you terribly.

Parking is limited at the Temple for Sunday’s 10:30 a.m. service, but alternate parking is available at the Beverly Hills Tennis Courts, at the corner of Olympic and La Cienega Blvds.

Interment will follow promptly at 1 p.m. at Eden Memorial Park Cemetery, 11500 Sepulveda Blvd., in Mission Hills. Due to the holidays, shiva will not begin until Wednesday, Oct. 7. For times and locations, check the Temple website at

The family has requested that donations in memory of Rabbi Pressman be designated to Temple Beth Am and the Rabbi Jacob Pressman Scholarship Fund of the Pressman Academy.

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