National Library of Israel acquires Sacks archive

Fifty cartons of papers belonging to the former Chief Rabbi will be preserved for posterity


Rabbi Sacks in his study (The Rabbi Sacks Legacy)

The National Library of Israel has acquired the personal archive of the late Rabbi Lord Sacks which it intends to make available to researchers once it has been catalogued.

Some 50 cartons of material, which include correspondence, lectures, sermons and other papers belonging to the renowned religious leaders, have been received by the Jerusalem-based institution, whose new building was inaugurated last year.

Lord Sacks, who died in 2020, was Chief Rabbi from 1991 to 2013. His official records from his period in office are housed at the London Metropolitan Archives.

His widow Lady Elaine Sacks said, “My dear husband expressed great enthusiasm for the new National Library of Israel, which he had described as ‘the Home of the Book for the People of the Book’. It is fitting that his personal archive will be housed there, continuing his legacy of sharing knowledge and wisdom with the world.”

Sallai Meridor, the library’s chairman, said, “His legacy will not only serve as a magnet and a source of inspiration but also, through digitisation, this important archive will be made available around the world for generations to come.”

In one letter from April 1998, ahead of Pesach, Rabbi Sacks reflected on disunity within the Jewish world, drawing on the Four Sons from the Haggadah.

“One is wise, one a rebel, one is simple, and one unable tס ask. Their perspectives are different. Their voices are not in harmony. But they sit at the same table They are members of the same family. They tell the same story,” he wrote.

“We are the people who carried with us the indelible recollection of centuries of suffering, not because we revel in it, not because we see ourselves as victims, but in order to remember that whatever else divides us, history unites us.”

The collection was acquired with the help of the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe.

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