Should the Chief Rabbi stay on?

By Simon Rocker
June 19, 2012

An online petition has been started calling for the Chief Rabbi to stay on beyond his scheduled retirement date. Lord Sacks is planning to move on after 21 years in office in September 2013, six months after his 65th birthday.

The prospect of him postponing his departure seems unlikely. His close associates had long indicated he was minded to step down at 65. If he had wanted to remain for a couple of years or, like his predecessor Lord Jakobovits, until he was 70, the United Synagogue would surely not have turned down the offer.

He will be able to continue doing what he does best, writing, speaking and broadcasting, regardless of whether he holds the title of Chief Rabbi or not: there seems no reason, for instance, why he would have to give up his Thought for the Day slot when he leaves office. His seat in the Lords will also guarantee him a national platform. In demand as a speaker internationally, he will be free to pursue engagements abroad without having to worry about ceremonial appearances or functional duties back home.

Conceivably, he could be asked to stay on for a few months after September pending a handover. But if it he were asked to delay his retirement for substantially longer, it would risk looking like an admission from the United Synagogue that it could find no one worthy to take on the role: unless perhaps it had identified an heir apparent who needed a few more years to mature.



Thu, 06/21/2012 - 09:05

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No, he should step down if he is against individual rights or the rights of congregations to determine their own values.

I respect his right of his congregation to discriminate against people that they dislike. But if he is to be held out as the official representative of British Jews then I hang my head in shame.

His opinion does not represent the opinion of all jews in the UK, he does not present the plurality of opionions.

If there is no concensus then he should let the individual congregations respond and remain silent.

Does Lord Sacks think that, in accordance to Deuteronomy 22:28-29, a rapist should be required to marry their victim? Would he arguement against such a repugnant concept be that we as a community have changed?

If we are capable of change then holding on to this particular form of discrimination and humanisation of a section of society is purely a choice.

He should have the decency not to hide behind the scripture, I'd respect him more if he just confessing to hating and fearing the LBGT community.

He spoke eloquently about this country, honoring the Queen for the welcome and protection offered to the jewish people, maybe he should have added "except the gay ones, we don't want them."


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