The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American Orthodox Rabbis — joins Klal Yisrael in mourning the passing of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, ZT”L Emeritus Chief Rabbi of United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth.
Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Sacks was a master orator whose sermons and lectures enchanted audiences, challenging them to rise to greater heights in religious commitment. He was a fierce advocate for Orthodox Judaism in a time when it was under siege by secularizing and liberalizing forces. Through his efforts, thousands of people learn Torah and observe Shabbat in the British Commonwealth, Israel, and around the world. As the prolific author of an award-winning series of prayer books, numerous learned books and Torah commentaries, his scholarship and insights continue to educate and inspire students of Torah. His widely read weekly Torah commentaries, creative inspirational videos, highly lauded BBC radio series and many public talks and conversations have brought Torah lessons of faith and responsibility to millions of people around the world.
Rabbi Sacks served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Ccommonwealth from 1991 to 2013. Before being appointed as chief rabbi of the UK in 1993, Rabbi Sacks served as Principal of Jews’ College, now the London School of Jewish Studies, and rabbi of the prestigious Marble Arch Synagogue in Central London. During that time, he was a prolific author, publishing many learned books and articles defending and explaining the legal and theological teachings of Orthodox Judaism in contrast with secular and liberal forms. He was an Orthodox champion, a philosopher armed with halachic scholarship, showing that uncompromising fealty to and love of G-d and Torah go hand in hand with love of every Jew.
During his time as Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Sacks became an ambassador for the Jewish community in the United Kingdom and was respected by many in English Jewry and in the non-Jewish world as well. Rabbi Sacks was widely seen as a voice of morality and ethical integrity, and his positions and opinions were frequently sought by the British media on crucial issues of the day. In a time of growing secularization and declining religious affiliation, Rabbi Sacks sought to fight this potentially devastating trend by strengthening every person’s faith with his inspirational talks, intellectual conversations and continued prolific writings aimed at the global Jewish community and the broader world.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America stated, “The Rabbinical Alliance of America appreciated the love, energy and devotion that Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks had for the Jewish People. Thanks in part to the strong advocacy of Rabbi Sacks, traditional Torah Judaism became fashionable and respected across the world. This remarkable contribution of Rabbi Sacks will forever be remembered with reverence and appreciation and will help to continue to inspire the Jewish community to champion Orthodox religious practice. Rabbi Sacks addressed the Rabbinical Alliance of America two months ago at our annual pre-High Holiday Chomer LiDrush Homiletics Session, where he shared inspirational Torah insights for incorporation in holiday sermons. We are grateful that he shared some of his last rabbinic activities with the rabbis of the RAA.”
May Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks ZT’L serve as a heavenly advocate, a Meilitz Yosher, for his family, the Jewish community and the entire world. May his memory be a blessing.