Jonathan Sacks is an outstanding intellectual of our time. Unlike many others, he also writes in an accessible way. Here, he has written a very profound and philosophical book that is extremely readable. One of Jonathan Sacks' major concerns is that religion is one of the principal causes of dissent, hatred and violence in the world, and he wishes the Jewish religion to make its contribution towards healing the deep wounds that this creates. One of Judaism's most distinctive and challenging ideas is its ethics of responsibility. We have been given the gift of freedom and we in turn have to honour and enhance the freedom of others. More than in any previous generation, we have come to see the individual as the sole source of meaning. We have become lonely selves in search of purely personal fulfilment. This argues the author is a mistake, for ethics are conveened with the life we live together and the goods we share- that only exist by virtue of being shared. The Chief Rabbi argues his case in a way which shows a profound engagement with the human condition today and a reflection of how widely he has read. He talks with as much authority about the Old Testament as he does about Maimonides, Sigmund Freud or Hannah Arendt, and his views on Israel are as distinctive as ever. This book is written to be studied carefully by members of the Chief Rabbi's own community. But it is also a clarion call to the outside world to come to its senses.
Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks
Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has been Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth since September 1, 1991, the sixth incumbent since 1845.
In July 2009, appointed to the House of Lords as a cross-bencher.
Prior to becoming Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Sacks served as Principal of Jews' College, London, the world's oldest rabbinical seminary, as well as rabbi of the Golders Green and Marble Arch synagogues in London. He gained rabbinic ordination from Jews' College and London's Yeshiva Etz Chaim.
His secular academic career has also been a distinguished one. Educated at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he obtained first class honours in Philosophy, he pursued postgraduate studies at New College, Oxford, and King's College, London. Sir Jonathan has been Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the University of Essex, Sherman Lecturer at Manchester University, Riddell Lecturer at Newcastle University, Cook Lecturer at the Universities of Oxford, Edinburgh and St. Andrews and Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He is currently Visiting Professor of Theology at Kings' College London. He holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Bar Ilan, Cambridge, Glasgow, Haifa, Middlesex, Yeshiva University New York, University of Liverpool, St. Andrews University and Leeds Metropolitan University, and is an honorary fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and King's College London. In September 2001, the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred on him a Doctorate of Divinity in recognition of his first ten years in the Chief Rabbinate.
At his installation as Chief Rabbi in 1991, Dr Sacks set out his vision of a reinvigorated Anglo-Jewry and launched it with a Decade of Jewish Renewal, followed by a series of innovative communal projects. These included Jewish Continuity (a national foundation funding programmes in Jewish education and outreach), the Association of Jewish Business Ethics, the Chief Rabbinate Awards for Excellence, the Chief Rabbinate Bursaries, and Community Development, a national programme to enhance Jewish community life. In 1995, he received the Jerusalem Prize for his contribution to diaspora Jewish life. In September 2001 the Chief Rabbi began his second decade of office with a call to Jewish Responsibility and a renewed commitment to the ethical dimension of Judaism. He was awarded a Knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June 2005. A notably gifted communicator, the Chief Rabbi is a frequent contributor to radio, television and the national press. He frequently delivers BBC RADIO 4's THOUGHT FOR THE DAY, writes a monthly CREDO column for THE TIMES and delivers an annual Rosh Hashanah message on BBC 2. In 1990 he was invited by the BBC Board of Governors to deliver the annual Reith Lectures on the subject of THE PERSISTENCE OF FAITH.
The Dignity of Difference was awarded the 2004 Grawemeyer Prize for Religion, and A Letter in the Scroll a National Jewish Book Award 2002.
Born in 1948 in London, he has been married to Elaine since 1970. They have three children, Joshua, Dina and Gila and five grandchildren.
Tradition in an Untraditional Age (1990)
Persistence of Faith (1991)
Arguments for the Sake of Heaven (1991)
Crisis and Covenant (1992)
One People? (1993)
Will We Have Jewish Grandchildren? (1994)
Community of Faith (1995)
Faith in the Future (1998)
The Politics of Hope (1997)
Morals and Markets (1999)
Celebrating Life (2000)
Radical Then, Radical Now (2001)
The Dignity of Difference (2002)
The Chief Rabbi's Haggadah (2003)
From Optimism to Hope (2004)
To Heal a Fractured World (2005)
The Authorised Daily Prayer Book: new translation and commentary (2006)
The Home We Build Together (2007)
Future Tense (2009)