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(Washington, D.C., November 9, 2020) Saturday, November 7th, 2020, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks passed away at the age of 72 (1948-2020). Rabbi Lord Sacks was a philosopher, an international religious leader, award-winning author, and widely respected moral voice. Rabbi Lord Sacks led a prolific life, authoring more than 30 books, the most recent being Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times (2020). Between 1991 and 2013, Rabbi Lord Sacks was Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, the largest grouping of Orthodox Jewish communities in the UK.

Prince Charles, who shared a genuine friendship with Rabbi Lord Sacks, released a statement saying, “With his passing, the Jewish community, our nation, and the entire world have lost a leader whose wisdom, scholarship and humanity were without equal. His immense learning spanned the sacred and the secular, and his prophetic voice spoke to our greatest challenges with unfailing insight and boundless compassion. His wise counsel was sought and appreciated by those of all faiths, and none, and he will be missed more than words can say.”

Rabbi Lord Sacks studied Philosophy at Cambridge and obtained his doctorate at Oxford in 1982. During his studies, Rabbi Sacks wondered about what the great contemporary Jewish philosophers had to contribute, so he travelled to the United States to meet Rabbi Soloveitchik and later The Rebbe Menachem M. Schneerson, who successfully persuaded Sacks to become a Rabbi. He then received his Rabbinic ordination from Jews’ College and London’s Etz Chaim Yeshiva.

Rabbi Lord Sacks was considered a centrist who felt that the clergy should take no role in politics. Rabbi Lord Sacks was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 2005 and made a Life Peer, taking his seat in the House of Lords in October 2009. As a crossbencher, Rabbi Lord Sacks often strove to find compromise between conservative and liberal factions of the British Jewish population.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Elaine Taylor, their three children and several grandchildren.

Says President and Founder of EMET, Sarah Stern, “The Jewish community has just lost a giant. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks was as brilliant and wise as he was compassionate, humble, and deeply human. He was an eloquent spokesman for the Jewish community world-wide, who made faith in God and the moral precepts within Judaism accessible to everyone. As much as he was a profoundly religious, Orthodox man he respected and appreciated not only every stream within Judaism, but the wisdom that can be found within all religions. His works will live on to be read and savored for generations to come, yet he will be sorely missed. May his memory be for a blessing.”

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