Lord Jonathan Sacks

Chief Rabbi's speech on Holocaust Memorial Day

January 27, 2010

Much of what we’ve seen and heard today was inspired by an extraordinary act of defiance and hope, by a small group of people in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Picture them in your mind. They have been herded together in an enclosed space as if they were cattle, not human beings. They have seen 100,000 of their number die of starvation and disease, 270,000 taken in cattle trucks to Treblinka and other camps to be gassed, burned and turned to ash.

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Holocaust Memorial Day commemorated

By Jessica Elgot, January 27, 2010
Ceremonies have taken place across the world to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

A memorial is being held in London's Guildhall including written testimony from three Holocaust survivors, the late Reform leader Rabbi Hugo Gryn, historian Emanuel Ringelblum and writer Elie Wiesel.

Their stories will be read by Rabbi Gryn’s son David, historian Simon Schama and journalist Jonathan Freedland.

Liliane Umubyeyi, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, will also speak.

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Award for Chief Rabbi's book

By Jessica Elgot, January 18, 2010

The Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has won a National Jewish Book Award for his new book Covenant and Conversation - Genesis.

The Chief Rabbi won the American award in the ‘Religion’ category for his work which is the first volume in a series of five.

The book is on Torah, and is based originally on his weekly online commentaries.

Extracts from the book were featured in the JC, and can be found here.

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Things are better, but not by much

By Simon Rocker, December 30, 2009

When the Institute for Jewish Policy Research appointed a commission to investigate who speaks for British Jews, “the nervousness in some establishment bodies was palpable”, recalled JPR’s then director Antony Lerman.

The very commission was seen as a challenge to venerable institutions such as the Board of Deputies and the Chief Rabbinate. The report it issued in 2000, A Community of Communities, duly reflected discontent.

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Free speech – Good Lord!

By Simon Rocker, December 17, 2009

It Seems that the recently ennobled Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks is beginning to find his feet in the House of Lords. But, as he explained to delegates at Sunday’s JNF conference in Hendon, acclimatising to the rarefied air of the upper chamber has not been an entirely straightforward process.

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Chief praises leading couple

By Jay Grenby, December 9, 2009

Lord Sacks told Northwood Synagogue congregants on Sunday that Rabbi Dr Moshe Freedman and his wife Ilana made an “outstanding” team.

Conducting the induction of Rabbi Freedman, the Chief Rabbi reminded guests that with the couple respectively holding a Ph.D in medical physics and a degree in pharmacology, they could offer both spiritual and physical support.

“If one doesn’t work, they can try the other,” he suggested. “And as your new rabbi is a specialist in non-invasive surgery, either way, it won’t hurt!”

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Chief Rabbi's maiden speech in House of Lords

By Jessica Elgot, November 27, 2009

The Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has made his maiden speech in the House of Lords.

The Chief Rabbi told the House how Judaism values education, and suggested that secular schools could learn from the value Jews have always placed on learning.

He said: “If there is one insight above all others to be gained from Jewish history it is that freedom depends on education. To defend a country you need an army but to defend a civilisation you need schools. Abraham was chosen, says the Bible, so that he would teach his children to practise righteousness and justice.

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The Chief Rabbi's maiden speech to the House of Lords: In full

By Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, November 27, 2009

My lords, when I entered this chamber for the first time I did so from the Moses Room, and I thank my lordships for the lengths they went to make a rabbi feel at home.

Today I feel the other side of that occasion, for it was Moses at the burning bush who felt so overwhelmed by emotion that he told God he could not speak; he was “not a man of words.”

Mind you, that did not stop him speaking a great deal thereafter. In fact on one occasion, when pleading with God to forgive the people for making the Golden Calf, he spoke for forty days and forty nights.

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Chief Rabbi's plea for pride in Judaism

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 26, 2009

Lack of pride in Judaism and its achievements had increased assimilation and reduced the community’s ability to defend Israel, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks told 100 Manchester leaders on Sunday.

Before an audience including Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis at the local representative council, Lord Sacks declared: “If we are not strong in ourselves, how can we fight the massive challenges that face us? Non-Jews respect Jews who respect Judaism.”

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Chief Rabbi attacks fundamentalism

By Simon Rocker, November 12, 2009

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has called for an “intellectually open, humble and tolerant religiosity” as a bulwark against fundamentalism.

In a keynote lecture to the religious think-tank Theos in London last week, he said: “Religion is going to grow in strength in the 21st century and a very great deal will depend on what kind of religion it is.

“At the moment, the fastest growing religions in the world are those who take an adversarial stance towards society, religions that challenge liberal democratic freedoms, and that is bad news.”

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