Lord Jonathan Sacks

Chief Rabbi praises young volunteers

June 17, 2010

The Chief Rabbi lauded the achievements of young volunteers at the annual Yoni Jesner Awards, named in memory of a Bnei Akiva leader killed in a terrorist attack in Israel in 2002.

Lord Sacks and Marsha Gladstone, Yoni Jesner's mother, presented awards at St John's Wood Synagogue to year-eight pupils involved in the scheme, which promotes volunteering within the community and in wider society.

Recipients have assisted causes ranging from residential homes for the elderly to environmental projects.


Chief Rabbi: 'I did my best for women'

June 10, 2010

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has defended his efforts to improve equality for women during nearly two decades in office.

His record was challenged by June Jacobs, a former president of the International Council of Jewish Women, at questions tabled following a lecture the Chief Rabbi gave to the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in London this week.


Chief Rabbi opens Lubavitch centre

By Robyn Rosen, June 10, 2010

Officially opening the £1.5 million Lubavitch Children's Centre in Stamford Hill on Monday, Lord Sacks said he became a rabbi because of the Lubavitch movement.

The Chief Rabbi told more than 150 guests: "In April 1968, I attended the opening of the first Lubavitch building with others and it was the connection made at that wonderful occasion that drew myself and Elaine [Lady Sacks] into the ambit of Chabad Lubavitch. And it changed our lives. I would not be a rabbi, let alone the Chief Rabbi, if Lubavitch did not hold out its hand to me.


Chief Rabbi's tribute to Lady Jakobovits

By Jessica Elgot, May 12, 2010

There are some individuals so vivid, so full of life, that we simply cannot imagine them not being there.

There are some lives that burn so bright, we cannot imagine them being extinguished. That surely defines the feelings of all of us at the loss of HaRabbanit Amélie Jakobovits, the person the whole of Anglo- Jewry knew and loved as Lady J.

First there was shock, then bewilderment, then a deep sense of bereavement and personal loss, for we have all lost a beloved friend.


Chief Rabbi backs a reversal of JFS ruling

By Simon Rocker, May 6, 2010

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, will back a unilateral move by Orthodox groups to reverse the JFS court ruling if it proves impossible to achieve broader communal agreement.

However, his office stressed in a statement that he still believed the Board of Deputies to be the "most appropriate body" to pursue a change in the law.

Jewish schools were forced to introduce new entry rules last year after the Supreme Court upheld an Appeal Court decision that schools could no longer choose pupils on the basis of whether their mother - or father - was Jewish.


Chief Rabbi to give lecture on conversion

By Simon Rocker, April 29, 2010

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and Dayan Menachem Gelley, senior dayan of the London Beth Din, are to take part in a lecture series next month on one of the controversial contemporary topics - conversion.

They are among speakers who feature in a seven-part course on "understanding conversion" beginning next Wednesday night at the London School of Jewish Studies in Hendon.


Chief Rabbi: Book error could have meant resigning

By Simon Rocker, March 18, 2010

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has acknowledged that he would have had to resign if he had not amended his award-winning book on interfaith tolerance, The Dignity of Difference.

He made the admission at an address at the Oxford Union last week when he was asked by a student why he had revised the book for its second edition.

Strictly Orthodox rabbis demanded the withdrawal of the book in 2002.

At the time, the London Beth Din issued a statement saying that "certain passages lend themselves to an interpretation that is inconsistent with basic Jewish beliefs".


Meir Persoff: 'Time for an alternative to Chief Rabbi'

By Simon Rocker, March 11, 2010

The Chief Rabbinate is a cause of division and Lord Sacks should be the last to hold the office, says a new book published next week.

Meir Persoff, the JC's former Judaism editor, in the first book-length study of the policies of Lord Sacks since he took office in 1991, argues that the role has become increasingly contentious in a religiously diverse Jewish community.

He writes in Another Way, Another Time: "The Chief Rabbinate has run its course and an alternative form of leadership is called for which recognises the plurality of the community."


Chief Rabbi celebrates Scottish congregations

By Stephanie Brickman, March 11, 2010

Lord Sacks was in Glasgow at the weekend for a double celebration - the 75th anniversary of Giffnock and Newlands Synagogue and the induction of Rabbi Danny Bergson at Newton Mearns Hebrew Congregation.

At Giffnock, the Chief Rabbi spoke on how declining communities could embrace the future positively, emphasising the importance of maintaining Orthodox practice.


Why we had to get married twice

March 11, 2010

Many couples from mixed United Synagogue–Masorti backgrounds feel coerced into holding dual ceremonies. Two Masorti families described their experiences.

“In 2009,” related the first, “our daughter was married in a Masorti synagogue, according to the law of Moses and of Israel, by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, before Shabbat-observant witnesses. The following day, she stood under a tallit in our sitting-room with her new husband for a shadow ceremony which apparently fulfilled the law of Jonathan Sacks and of the United Synagogue.