Anne R. Jacobson, 96, librarian and teacher, community volunteer

August 31, 2005|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Anne R. Jacobson, a retired teacher and librarian who devoted her life to charitable endeavors, died of kidney failure Thursday at her Northwest Baltimore home. She was 96.

Miss Jacobson was born and raised in East Baltimore, the daughter of immigrants from Russia. Her father was a shochet -- who slaughters animals according to strict Jewish kosher rules -- and her mother a homemaker.

Miss Jacobson graduated from Eastern High School in 1927 and earned a teaching certificate in 1929 from what is now Towson University.

She also earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1946 from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master's in education in 1956 from the Johns Hopkins University. She also did graduate work at Columbia University and took library courses at what is now McDaniel College in Westminster.

She began teaching in Baltimore public elementary schools in 1929, and from 1934 to 1956, taught occupational and vocational students.

Miss Jacobson was the librarian at Edmondson High School from 1957 to 1966, when she left to establish the library at Northwestern High. She retired there in the early 1970s.

She was a longtime volunteer for the Jewish Information Service and Associated Jewish Charities. She was also librarian, board member and held various sisterhood offices at Beth Jacob Congregation. She was a member of Hadassah and Amit Women, another Jewish organization.

She also had been librarian at what is now Hebrew University and volunteered at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center & Hospital.

"She received numerous commendations and awards for her volunteer work and treated them all as equally important as a paid position," said a cousin, Alan Abramowitz of Baltimore.

"She was a soft-spoken individual who filled many capacities. She was extremely active with our Hebrew school that had 800 students. It was a busy place, and this was an important position," said Rabbi Gavriel Newman of Beth Jacob. "She made the congregation an extended family and gave as generously of her time and money. People looked up to her. She was an inspiring and classy lady."

Miss Jacobson was always on the lookout for those in financial need. "It was all done anonymously," Mr. Newman said. "She would order books, for instance, and then have them delivered."

"When we opened her safe-deposit box, we found that she had lent people money and never bothered to collect it. She had them sign promissory notes in order to spare them from the indignity of having to borrow money," Mr. Abramowitz said. "That was her way of providing charity and a little help."

For years, during summers when she was teaching and later in retirement, Miss Jacobson traveled extensively through the U.S., Europe and Israel. During the 1970s, she visited China, India and Southeast Asia.

"Despite the nature of these trips, she was always true to her Orthodox Jewish upbringing, keeping the Sabbath, observing dietary laws and keeping strictly kosher," Mr. Abramowitz said. "Many times upon arriving in a strange city, she would head for a market to find vegetables to eat as she could not have what the group was eating."

Miss Jacobson was a longtime subscriber of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Baltimore Opera Co., and attended performances until last year.

Services were Thursday.

She was devoted to her sister, Bessie Schulman, whom she cared for despite her own failing health in recent years. Mrs. Schulman died in May.

Surviving are nieces, nephews and cousins.

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