Biblical garden creator leaves world-class legacy
Little did Walter Jacob and Irene Loewenthal realize when they met while vacationing in Italy in 1958 that Pittsburgh would become a focal point in their lives.
“I was studying in England at the time, and Irene was working as a laboratory technician in Israel,” said Walter Jacob, rabbi emeritus of Rodef Shalom Congregation in Oakland. “I found Irene to be a bright, intelligent young woman who was able to get people to follow, a trait she carried throughout her life, which enhanced the life of others.”
Irene Jacob of Point Breeze, founding director of the Rodef Shalom Biblical Garden, died on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in her home. She was 84.
Mrs. Jacob co-founded Mainstay Services for Handicapped Children and was involved with Mothers Day Out, an organization that enabled stay-at-home moms to have time for themselves.
Born and raised in Germany and England, Irene Loewenthal was one of three children of insurance broker Ludwig and Anna Loewenthal, who moved to England once the Nazis came to power in Germany.
She immigrated to Israel six months after independence was declared in 1948.
She and the rabbi were married in the same year they met.
Walter Jacob recalled hearing his wife describe the English as hard workers and great gardeners, and say how much she enjoyed watching her father cultivate his garden.
After he became rabbi of Rodef Shalom, Mrs. Jacob became actively engaged with the temple families.
Her commitment in developing the Rodef Shalom Biblical Garden established her as a world-class horticulturist whose creation attracted visitors from throughout the world.
Gardens often portray periods in the history of a nation, her husband said, and “the items in Irene's Biblical Garden designate periods in Israel's history.”
The garden features plants and trees cited in the Bible. This year, the exhibit added a replica of a 3,000-year-old plow made with materials that would have been used in ancient Israel.
As educational coordinator at Phipps Conservatory in Oakland, Mrs. Jacob put together an exhibit of plants of the Bible.
Mrs. Jacob wrote or was co-author of seven books on horticulture, including “Plants of the Bible and Their Uses.”
In addition to her husband, survivors include a sister, Eva Meisler of Jerusalem, and a brother, Eli Loewenthal of Haifa.
Mrs. Jacob was preceded in death by her children, Claire, Kenny, Daniel and Eslyn Jacob.
Services were Friday in Rodef Shalom Temple, with interment in West View Cemetery of Rodef Shalom Congregation. Arrangements were by Ralph Schugar Chapel Inc.
The family asks that memorials be in the form of contributions to the Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden Endowment Fund, c/o Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Coca-Cola shaves incentives for executives
- Rossi: Pirates can’t waste McCutchen’s prime
- Ford City man charged with molesting teen
- DC Picks: Connellsville will get back into win column
- Rayburn offices moving to regular business hours
- The Leader expecting more surprises this week
- Schools converge for Armstrong County Marching Band Festival
- Search for pilot of ultralight aircraft to resume Thursday
- State agency honors Manorville man for hooking up kids with fishing gear
- Giants, Bumgarner shut out Pirates in wild-card game
- C&S Hardware, a Main Street fixture for 20 years, closes in Saxonburg