Lord Jonathan Sacks

Chief Rabbi as mythical hero

By Geoffrey Alderman, January 10, 2011

It was the celebrated historian A. J. P. Taylor who taught me a fundamental truth about my profession. Commenting more or less positively on a research seminar presentation I'd given, he remarked: "Remember, Geoffrey, that the historian's job is to destroy myth. Of course, it is far better to prevent myth in the first place."

It is in this spirit - prevention being better than cure - that I offer some thoughts triggered by the encomia that greeted the announcement that Lord Sacks is to retire as Chief Rabbi at his contractual retirement age in 2013.


The tightrope awaiting the next Chief Rabbi

By Simon Rocker, December 31, 2010

When Jonathan Sacks was appointed Chief Rabbi in 1989, he was so firm a favourite, it would have been astonishing had he not got the job. Not only was he widely viewed as the heir-apparent to Lord Jakobovits, but he also had a powerful patron in Lord Kalms, who was chairman of Jews' College when Rabbi Sacks was its principal (though the good lord subsequently lost faith in his protégé).


EDL-speech rabbi calls for Chief TV debate

By Jessica Elgot, December 31, 2010

The rabbi who spoke at an English Defence League rally two months ago has apparently challenged Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks to a televised BBC debate on "Is Islam a religion of peace?"

Californian Nachum Shifren was the speaker at the far-right group's October rally outside the Israeli Embassy.

He called Muslims "dogs" and criticised British community leaders and rabbis for speaking out against him, saying: "To all my Jewish brothers who have called me a Nazi… I say to them they don't have the guts to stand up here and take care of business."


Do we need another?

By Geoffrey Paul, December 16, 2010

Do we really need another Chief Rabbi?


Chief Rabbi: Who will throw their hat into the ring?

December 16, 2010

United Synagogue president Simon Hochhauser's announcement this week that the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, would be retiring after his 65th birthday in September 2013, has set off fevered speculation across the rabbinical world as to who may succeed him.


Chief Rabbi: full comment on campus extremism

By Lord Jonathan Sacks, December 14, 2010

Two weeks ago a highly inflammatory speaker with known anti-Zionist views was allowed to speak at the LSE. No counter voice was allowed. Jewish students present were intimidated and verbally abused.

This was not an unforeseen outcome. The UJS, which has done outstanding work in recent years, raised its concerns in advance. Assurances were given by the LSE student union. In the event they were not honoured. They proved to be empty words.


Chief Rabbi speaks on campus extremism

By Marcus Dysch, December 14, 2010

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has launched a blistering attack on university authorities and warned that they must not “turn a blind eye and deaf ear” to the rise of antisemitism on campuses.

In a passionate defence of Jewish students, he said universities had done “too little, too late” to tackle hate speakers appearing at universities.

The Chief Rabbi was speaking at the Department for Communities and Local Government ahead of the launch of a report into antisemitism in Britain.


'Remarkable' Lord Sacks to retire in 2013

By Jennifer Lipman, December 14, 2010

Lord Sacks will be a “hard act to follow”, the President of the United Synagogue said as he announced that the chief rabbi will retire in two years' time.

Simon Hochauser told a US Council meeting on Monday that Lord Sacks will leave his post in September 2013, after 22 years in the post.

Despite some speculation that he would not be replaced, it was made clear that there would be a successor and that focus groups would be used during the recruitment process.


Chief Rabbi to retire in 2013

By Jessica Elgot, December 13, 2010

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, is to retire in September 2013, it was announced tonight at the United Synagogue council meeting.

Despite some speculation that he would not be replaced, Simon Hochauser, President of the US, made clear that there would be a successor. He also revealed that focus groups will be used during the recruitment process.

Speculation will now begin in earnest as to his successor, and the precise method by which he will be appointed.




Davis row 'sideshow' says Sacks

By Simon Rocker, December 10, 2010

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has said that controversy over UJIA leader Mick Davis's criticisms of Israel is "the wrong debate" which distracts from the real issue.

Lord Sacks had previously made only a brief statement, saying there was "much to be gained" from honest debate over Israel as long as it came with unshakeable commitment.

But he has now changed tack in an essay on last week's Torah portion, published on the United Synagogue website.