Rabbi Jacob Schachter was born in Rumania in 1886. His father, Rabbi Abraham Schachter, the son of Yehuda Leib, was born in Dorban in Serbia in 1853. Rabbi Abraham Schachter was Rabbi of Prumushike, Batashan (Botosani) in Rumania. Rabbi Jacob received Semicha (his rabbinical diploma) in 1911, and from 1913 to 1920 was Rabbi at Galatz, in eastern Rumania.
In 1920 he moved to Manchester where he was Rabbi of the New Rumanian Synagogue until 1926 and a member of the Manchester Beth Din (the rabbinical court).
In 1923 he published a portly 415 page volume of his father’s writings, printed in Cluj-Klausenburg, Rumania. The was called Machzeh Avraham (the vision of Abraham), and included some of his own work, entitled Likutei Yaakov (the gleanings of Jacob). This book is available for download on Hebrewbooks.org. It has approbations from Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaKohen Kook, from Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein of Slabodka and from Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Pieterkov.
Rabbi Abraham Schachter was said to have had a profound acquaintance with the intricacies of the Halachah (Jewish law), with a gift for piercing through the maze and following a line leading to a clear issue. The book takes the form of a duologue between the Rabbi and his disciple. Machzeh Avraham gives Rabbi Jacob Schachter’s address as 134, Great Clowes Street, Broughton, Manchester. The book was financed with a legacy from Aaron Dov ben Chaim Berkovitch of Manchester.
In 1926 Rabbi Jacob Schachter moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland, succeeding Rabbi Isaac Halevy Herzog as Rabbi of Belfast. Rabbi Herzog had just been appointed Chief Rabbi of Ireland and went on to become Chief Rabbi of the Land of Israel. (His son, born in Ulster, was Chaim Herzog, President of Israel).
Rabbi Schachter became a well-known personality, being energetic and enthusiastic in the cultural, social, and intellectual life of Belfast. He was a writer and author. He, delivered and published academic papers on a range of subjects, whether particular individuals to commemorated or celebrated, or papers on “The Child in Jewish Literature” and “The woman in Jewish Literature” – papers delivered to a private society of intellectuals and academics; he made broadcasts, not just on local BBC radio in Belfast but also over radio in Palestine, which was logistically not easy in the middle of the twentieth century; letters appeared in Belfast and Dublin newspapers.
In 1953 he published an English translation of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Chajes’ The Students Guide Through the Talmud. He was also a collaborator in the Soncino edition of Talmud Sanhedrin.
Of Rabbi Schachter’s children, Chaim Schachter was the author of a six-volume Hebrew-English dictionary, published in 1989. Israel Schachter (died December 2010 at the age of 84) was a graduate of Queens College, Belfast and became the Chairman of the Israel Patent Lawyers Association. They also had a brother Joseph, a sister Miriam and another daughter. In 1936, both Rabbi Jacob Schachter and his daughter Miriam graduated together from Queens University, Belfast. He received an Honorary M. A. and she received a Higher Diploma in Education. Later, he received an honorary Doctorate.
Rabbi Schachter was Rabbi of Belfast until his retirement in 1954, after which he settled in Israel. He published this book, a selection from his writings, in December 1966. He died in Israel in 1971.
Below the table of contents is Rabbi Schachter’s essay on the 50th anniversary of the Belfast Talmudic Study Circle in 1945.