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Remembering Lord Sacks

Remembering Lord Sacks

JPR trustees held a minutes’ silence at the JPR Board meeting on 9 November, in memory of former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, who passed away on 7 November.

Lord Sacks was an extraordinary philosopher, thinker and advocate for the Jewish People, whose wisdom and insights contributed incalculable amounts to Jewish communities everywhere, as well as the world in general.

Sacks’s vast body of work has shaped and informed much of JPR’s research over the years, inspiring the team to think more broadly and deeply about the nature of our endeavour. But perhaps the idea that most resonates at this moment of his passing, which occurred on the same day the media declared Joe Biden the victor in the US presidential election, is one from his book, The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations. It speaks to the importance of seeing humanity in the other; that the differences that exist between human beings comes from God, and it is within those interactions that God is to be found:

“We encounter God in the face of a stranger. That, I believe, is the Hebrew Bible’s single greatest and most counterintuitive contribution to ethics. God creates difference; therefore, it is in one-who-is-different that we meet god. Abraham encounters God when he invites three strangers into his tent.”

We were honoured to host him as our speaker at the annual JPR Morris and Manja Leigh Memorial Lecture in 2010, where he shared his understanding of contemporary antisemitism at the time and spoke appreciatively of JPR’s role in providing the data to inform our shared understanding of community issues. You can download a transcript of his lecture here

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