The Sacks Legacy – the Debate goes on

By Simon Rocker
December 31, 2010

The debate on the merits of the Chief Rabbinate has spread overseas following the announcement of Lord Sacks’s retirement in two and a half years.

Shmuley Boteach, writing in the Jerusalem Post, contended: “A chief rabbi is not principally an ambassador or a writer but a leader, and judged by this criteria Sacks, over the last two decades, failed to demonstrate the single most important component of leadership, moral courage.”

But the Chief Rabbi has a champion in Yitzchok Adlerstein, on the Orthodox blog Cross Currents: “I cannot think of another frum Jew who for years on end has broadcast the depth and profundity of Torah to tens of millions of people without respite! With whom would we associate the reaction of the non-Jewish world that the Torah (Devarim 4:6) writes about – “Surely a wise and discerning people is this great nation” – more than Jonathan Sacks?”


Jonathan Hoffman

Sat, 01/01/2011 - 18:10

Rate this:

1 point

Rabbi Boteach is correct.

Lord Sacks did nothing to oppose the outrageously undemocratic ousting of Rabbi Rader from the pulpit of Woodside Park.

And since he was made a Lord twelve months ago, he has hardly spoken in the House of Lords, despite many times when Israel has been traduced.

Adlerstein may be right as well but you do not have to be Chief Rabbi to achieve this.

There is no need to appoint a successor. The USA manages perfectly well without a Chief Rabbi. It is a Viictorian anachronism. There is no way that one man can 'represent' all strands of British Jewry - from Liberal to UOHC - and we should stop pretending otherwise. With the Beth Din and the President of the Board of Deputies and JLC, all bases are adequately covered.


Sat, 01/01/2011 - 18:19

Rate this:

1 point

I agree with Johnathan.


Sun, 01/23/2011 - 23:04

Rate this:

0 points

The future will remember this as the goldern era of growth for Jewish faith schools, a trend that began with Lord Jakobovits and his personal commitment to Jewish schools on the Hirschian model. Lord Sacks,as Lord Jakobovits, as been a brilliant spokesman for Jewish tradition, both in writing and in speech. The JFS Supreme Court case was a strange turn of events, and the only real criticism I have is the shabby treatment of Hugo Gryn. This was incidentally Lady J's only criticism as well. Just as Lord Jakobovits was a hard act to follow, it won't be easy to step into Lord Sack's shoes either.


You must be logged in to post a comment.