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Britain's Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Britain's Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is a global religious leader, philosopher, the author of more than 25 books, and moral voice for our time. Until 1st September 2013 he served as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, having held the position for 22 years. To read more from Rabbi Sacks or to subscribe to his mailing list, please visit www.rabbisacks.org.

Be Thyself

I have argued in previous years of Covenant and Conversation that the episode in which the Jewish people acquired its name – when Jacob wrestled with an unnamed adversary at night and received the name Israel – is essential to an understanding of what it is to be a Jew. I argue here that it […]

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Light in Dark Times

What is it that made Jacob – not Abraham or Isaac or Moses – the true father of the Jewish people? We are the “congregation of Jacob,” “the children of Israel.” Jacob/Israel is the man whose name we bear. Yet Jacob did not begin the Jewish journey; Abraham did. Jacob faced no trial like that […]

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The Price of Silence

In an earlier Covenant and Conversation I quoted the Netziv (Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin, 1816-1893, dean of the yeshiva in Volozhin), who made the sharp observation that Isaac and Rebecca seem not to have communicated closely. Rebecca’s “relationship with Isaac was not the same as that between Sarah and Abraham or Rachel and Jacob. When […]

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Beginning the Journey

A while back, a British newspaper, The Times, interviewed a prominent member of the Jewish community – let’s call him Lord X – on his 92nd birthday. The interviewer said, “Most people, when they reach their 92nd birthday, start thinking about slowing down. You seem to be speeding up. Why is that?” Lord X’s reply […]

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Answering the Call

The early history of humanity as told in the Torah is a series of disappointments. God gives human beings freedom, which they then misuse. Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit. Cain murders Abel. Within a relatively short time the world before the Flood has become dominated by violence. All flesh had perverted its way […]

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The Courage not to Conform

Leaders lead. That does not mean to say that they don’t follow. But what they follow is different from what most people follow. They don’t conform for the sake of conforming. They don’t do what others do merely because others are doing it. They follow an inner voice, a call. They have a vision, not […]

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Taking Responsibility

If leadership is the solution, what is the problem? On this, the Torah could not be more specific. It is a failure of responsibility. The early chapters of Genesis focus on two stories: Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel. Both are about a specific kind of failure. First Adam and Eve. As we know, […]

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