New group of Sacks scholars announced

Applications are also open for separate Sacks fellowship scheme for young professionals


The current group of Rabbi Sacks fellows with LSJS staff

Five British rabbis and community workers have been named among the 20-strong second cohort of Sacks Scholars, one of the initiatives set up in memory of the late Chief Rabbi.

They are Bushey Synagogue’s Rabbi Elchonon Feldman; Cambridge Chabad director Rabbi Dr Reuven Leigh; Rabbi Matt Marks, head of community engagement for the Brighton and Hove community; the United Synagogue’s director of community life, Barnaby Nemko; and Rabbi Benjy Rickman, head of Jewish studies at King David High School, Manchester.

The scholars, who also hail from Israel, the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia and Mexico, will take part in monthly online seminars and gather for a retreat in Jerusalem. Each will be tasked to produce a project that will bring Rabbi Sacks’ insights to new audiences.

Rabbi Jeremy Bruce, a former assistant head of King Solomon High School, now based in the USA, who is director of the scholars’ programme, said: “The Sacks Scholars programme is an innovative initiative that ensures Rabbi Sacks’s teachings endure as a living legacy, perpetuating his timeless messages while adapting them to resonate with contemporary audiences.”

Meanwhile, the London School of Jewish Studies is inviting applications for its third set of Rabbi Sacks Learning Fellowships for young professionals.

The programme, launched in September 2022, focuses on the application of Rabbi Sacks’ teachings to contemporary life and society.

“We were grappling with how we could begin to enshrine the legacy of Rabbi Sacks as we planned our educational future without our former principal and guiding light,” said Michael Rainsbury, LSJS head of adult education.

“We decided to update and reimagine a course Rabbi Sacks devised in 1978 for students, with the aim of introducing the main themes and challenges of Jewish faith, practice, theology and philosophy.

“Using this as a springboard, we designed a one-year programme that navigates contemporary modern living through an honest engagement with Jewish thought, teachings and wisdom. We are looking forward to welcoming our third cohort on to the programme.”

One previous participant, Rafi Addlestone, spearheaded last autumn’s LSJS symposium on climate change and Jewish law. “The fellowship was a fantastic deep dive into Rabbi Sacks’s thought and inspired me to pursue an initiative to bring together over 40 orthodox rabbinical leaders and educators, with the aim of bringing about a change of approach in UK mainstream Orthodoxy, whereby climate change is framed within the language of halachah,” he said,

Fellowship applications:

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