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Jacob Frankel (PC-1285), American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.
The First Jewish Chaplain
Rabbi Jacob Frankel (1808-1887), a cantor at Philadelphia's Rodeph Shalom Synagogue, was the first authorized Jewish chaplain in the United States Army. Commissioned by President Lincoln on 18 September 1862, Frankel served as a hospital chaplain, ministering to Jewish soldiers in the Philadelphia area. It is reported that many of the men he served grew quite close to Frankel and attended his synagogue on leave or after their discharge to hear him chant from his pulpit. The hospital chaplaincy was a part-time activity for Frankel who continued his work as cantor of Rodeph Shalom during the Civil War.