Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Jacob Danglow (1880–1962)

by J. S. Levi

This article was published:

Jacob Danglow (1880-1962), rabbi, was born on 28 November 1880 at Wandsworth, Surrey, England, second of nine children of Michael Danglowitz, glazier, originally from Cracow, Galicia, and his wife Jessie, née Loafer. In 1893 Danglow entered Jews' College, London, where he completed his secondary education and was trained to minister to a synagogue in the English-speaking world. From 1899 to 1902 he studied arts at University College, London.

In 1905 Danglow accepted a call to become minister of the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation, and arrived in Victoria on 15 September. He quickly brought his congregation under the jurisdiction of the London-based orthodox chief rabbi of the United Synagogues of Great Britain. In 1911 he was admitted as a full member of the Melbourne Beth Din.

On 24 November 1909 Danglow married May Henrietta Baruch, granddaughter of M. Michaelis, founder of the congregation. He studied arts at the University of Melbourne, graduating B.A. (1908) and M.A. (1911). In 1908 he had been commissioned in the Australian Military Forces and next year was appointed Jewish chaplain. On the outbreak of World War I he served as military censor, and, after repeated requests to his congregation to release him, served overseas in France in 1918 as chaplain to the Australian Imperial Force.

In 1927 the prospering St Kilda Hebrew Congregation dedicated a new synagogue building which now bears the large bronze doors named in Danglow's honour. In 1934 the chief rabbi in London gave permission for Danglow's original title of 'minister' to be changed to 'rabbi', thus according him equality with his colleague at the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation.

Danglow was appointed senior Jewish chaplain to the Australian Army in 1942. He visited New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, and at the request of Army Headquarters, was one of a group investigating the morale of the occupation troops in Japan. As chaplain, he was responsible for the publication of a Passover order of service and a prayer-book designed for Jewish servicemen.

Danglow was an orthodox minister in an Anglo-Australian congregation whose members covered a wide range of religious observance. He parried most attempts to bring about radical change within his community and tried to steer a middle course. For many years he wore the clerical collar usually associated with Anglican clergymen and he was perceived by the non-Jewish community as a very dignified representative of the Jewish faith. His personal sense of loyalty to King and country increasingly placed him in a position of painful conflict with supporters of the Jewish struggle in Palestine for national independence. His stance on Zionism, his apparent lack of sympathy towards Jewish refugees, and the rise of a secular leadership of the post-World War II Melbourne Jewish community tended to restrict his influence in his later years.

A meticulous, well-disciplined man, Danglow inspired great respect. He was an energetic sportsman, enjoying boxing, golf, bowls and billiards; he was a leading Freemason and a well-known after-dinner speaker. He took an active interest in youth work and philanthropy; the 3rd St Kilda Scout Group, founded in 1924, is known as 'Danglow's Own'. The first hospital wing of the Montefiore Home for the Aged is named in his honour.

In 1950 Danglow was appointed O.B.E. and in 1956 C.M.G. He retired officially in 1957 but continued to preach until his successor arrived two years later. His wife died in 1948 and on 7 August 1949 in London he married a widow Diana (Dinah) Rosen, née Hestel. He died at St Kilda on 21 May 1962, leaving two daughters and a son.

Select Bibliography

  • N. Rosenthal, Look Back with Pride (Melb, 1971)
  • Australian Jewish Historical Society, Journal, 4 (1954-58), no 4.

Citation details

J. S. Levi, 'Danglow, Jacob (1880–1962)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 15 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (Melbourne University Press), 1981

View the front pages for Volume 8

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


28 November, 1880
Wandsworth, Surrey, England


21 May, 1962 (aged 81)
St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.