As you may have heard, the Jewish world and humanity lost a giant this weekend with the passing of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (zt”l).
Through our grief, we remember the countless people Rabbi Sacks has inspired with messages of hope, including here in our community.
At a time of so much division and in a world where so many people struggle to find meaning and relevance in religious tradition, Rabbi Sacks dedicated his life to bringing the depth and wisdom of Jewish tradition to life. His prolific writing and brilliant way with language made him a unique thought leader of our time. His words have never felt more relevant, especially given the events of the past few days and weeks: “Society is a conversation scored for many voices. But it is precisely in and through that conversation that we become conjoint authors of our collective future, rather than dust blown by the wind of economic forces. Conversation—respectful, engaged, reciprocal, calling forth some of our greatest powers of empathy and understanding—is the moral form of a world governed by the dignity of difference.”
Rabbi Sacks held a special place in our Greater Boston community, speaking here on many occasions and inspiring so many of us, including CJP staff, donors, and volunteers. I am grateful to Barry Shrage for frequently teaching Rabbi Sacks’ Torah as one of many important and diverse voices in our community’s pursuit of spiritual, intellectual, and cultural depth. To me, this is one of the things that makes this community so unique.
If you are interested in reading some of Rabbi Sacks’ writing, I might suggest starting with his weekly Parsha series, “Covenant and Conversation,” his recently released book, “Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times,” and his 2012 book, “Future Tense: Jews, Judaism, and Israel in the Twenty-First Century,” in which he reminds us of “Judaism’s place in the global project of humankind.”
As we continue to remember Rabbi Sacks, may we recommit ourselves to being a community of learning and action, and to adding our unique Jewish voices to critical conversations about how to improve our world.
May Rabbi Sacks’ memory be a blessing.