PORTSMOUTH — Rabbi Marc S. Jagolinzer, a native Rhode Islander, died peacefully in his home on October 22, 2017, in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, at the age of 68.
Rabbi Jagolinzer is survived by his mother, Hinda Jagolinzer of Middletown, Rhode Island; his loving and devoted wife of 41 years, Barbara Jagolinzer; his three children, their son, Charles Jagolinzer of San Diego, California, and his wife, Rachelle, and their two sons, Max and Sam; their daughter, Sarah Kabat of Potomac, Maryland, and her husband, Andrew, and their two daughters, Julia and Jamie; and their son, Jonathan Jagolinzer of Vienna, Virginia, and his wife, Jennifer; and his younger brother, Robert Jagolinzer of New York, New York. He is preceded in death by his father, Harold Jagolinzer of Middletown, Rhode Island.
Rabbi Jagolinzer was born on March 23, 1949, in Providence, Rhode Island, to Harold and Hinda (Tesler) Jagolinzer. He graduated from Columbia University in 1971 with a degree in English before becoming an ordained rabbi in 1975. Upon completing his studies, Rabbi Jagolinzer returned to Rhode Island to become the spiritual leader of Temple Shalom in Middletown. He served with distinction at Temple Shalom from 1975 to 2016, before the Congregation recently named him Rabbi Emeritus.
In the late summer of 1975, Rabbi Jagolinzer met Barbara (Richman) Jagolinzer and proposed to her eight days later. The couple has been happily married since January 1, 1976. Over the next several years, the young couple welcomed three children into their home and set about teaching them the values of education, Jewish tradition, and community service. His children fondly remember him as a hands-on and engaged father, who was kind, patient and gentle, but above all else, selfless.
Rabbi Jagolinzer was an accomplished spiritual leader who had a passion for teaching students of all ages. As he used to say, “In any given week, I teach people from age three to 93.” He was a dedicated individual who loved Judaism and his local community. Rabbi Jagolinzer was particularly passionate about building interfaith communities in Aquidneck Island and in the State of Rhode Island. As a newly ordained rabbi, Rabbi Jagolinzer founded and orchestrated the Community-Wide Interfaith Thanksgiving Service for Aquidneck Island, which has been held the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving for over 40 years.
Rabbi Jagolinzer served as the President of the Aquidneck Island Clergy Association; a Convener of the Interfaith Leaders of Rhode Island; and a Member of the Diocese of Rhode Island’s Child Protection Advisory Board. He was chosen in 2015 by the Diocese to receive the prestigious “Lumen Gentium Award” as a Friend of the Diocese of Providence. Additionally, Rabbi Jagolinzer was the first Jewish clergyperson to preach from the high pulpit of the historic Trinity Episcopal Church in Newport.
Rabbi Jagolinzer served with distinction on numerous Jewish and secular non-profit boards including serving as President of the Rhode Island Board of Rabbis; Chair of the Principal’s Council; Chair of the Rhode Island Bureau of Jewish Education; Secretary of the Newport Hospital Board of Trustees; Chair of the Hospital’s Ethics Committee; President of the Board of the Rhode Island Chaplaincy Center; and President of Island Hospice. For many years, he also served as Chair for the Interfaith Committee of the Conference for Community and Justice.
In addition to serving the Congregation of Temple Shalom, Rabbi Jagolinzer was the University Chaplain at Roger Williams University as well as at Johnson & Wales University. He most recently served as an adjunct faculty member at Salve Regina University, where he taught a popular course titled, “The Jewish Experience.” Prior to that, Rabbi Jagolinzer taught Hebrew courses at the University of Rhode Island for over three decades. He also taught at and served as Principal of the Samuel Zilman Bazarsky Religious School at Temple Shalom for several years.
Rabbi Jagolinzer was the recipient of numerous awards from the United States Navy, the National Conference for Community and Justice, and the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island who presented the Rabbi with the prestigious “Never Again Award” for his dedication to fighting for human rights and ending discrimination. In 2011, Rabbi Jagolinzer was honored by the Women’s Resource Center as one of the “Men Who Make A Difference”.
A popular and engaging speaker, Rabbi Jagolinzer delivered sermons and addresses in numerous religious houses of worship and before civic groups throughout New England. He enjoyed serving as a Chaplain for the Middletown Police Department. He established and wrote a regular religion column called “Clergy Corner” for The Newport Daily News. Rabbi Jagolinzer had a wonderful sense of humor and created a popular program at Temple Shalom called an Evening of Jewish Humor. Throughout his lifetime, Rabbi Jagolinzer left a positive imprint on so many individuals.
His funeral was held on October 26, 2017, at Temple Shalom located at 223 Valley Road, Middletown, Rhode Island, with his burial following at Beth Olam Cemetery, Middletown, Rhode Island. Rabbi Marshall Press officiated at the funeral service along with Rabbi Loel Weiss, Reverend Joseph Tripp and Cantor Fredric Scheff.
Donations in the memory of Rabbi Jagolinzer may be made to help continue his legacy and commitment to advancing Jewish education at the San Diego Jewish Academy, where his two grandsons attend school, located at 11860 Carmel Creek Road, San Diego, CA 92130, or by visiting http://www.sdja.com/support-sdja/ways-to-give/.