Jonathan Henry Sacks was a British Orthodox rabbi, philosopher, theologian, author, and politician. He served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013. Sacks won several international awards, including the Jerusalem Prize for his contribution to diaspora Jewish life. He died of a heart attack in London on September 25, 2018.
About Jonathan Sacks in brief
Jonathan Henry Sacks, Baron Sacks was a British Orthodox rabbi, philosopher, theologian, author, and politician. He served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013. As Chief Rabbi, Sacks formally carried the title of Av Beit Din of the London Beth Din. At the time of his death, he was the Emeritus Chief Rabbi. Sacks won several international awards, including the Jerusalem Prize for his contribution to diaspora Jewish life and The Ladislaus Laszak Social Concern Award from Ben Gurion University in Israel in 2011. He won the Templeton Prize in 2016 for his book Not in God’s Name: God, Science and the Search for the Meaning of Meaning. He was a Knight Bachelor in the 2005 Birthday Honours for services to the Community and to Inter-faith Relations. In 2009 he was recommended for a life peerage with a seat in the House of Lords and sat as a crossbencher. He died of a heart attack in London on September 25, 2018. He is survived by his wife, two children, and a step-daughter. He also leaves behind a son, a daughter, a son-in-law, a grandson, and two step-great-grandchildren. He has been awarded 16 honorary degrees, including a doctorate of divinity conferred on him in September 2001 by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, to mark his first ten years in office as Chief Rabbi in the Commonwealth. He received his rabbinic ordination from Jews’ College and London’s Etz Chaim Yeshiva.
He published 25 books, including commentaries on the daily Jewish prayer, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and the Pesach festival of Pesach. His other books include The Great Partnership: God and Science and The Search for God, God’s Meaning and The Great Agreement between God and the World. He received a first-class honours degree in Philosophy from Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, where he gained a first class honours degrees in Law, Ethics and the Bible. He continued postgraduate study at New College, Oxford, and at King’s College London, completing a PhD which the University of London awarded in 1982. In 1983, he became the Rabbi for the prestigious Western Marble Arch Synagogue in Central London, a position he held until 1990. Between 1984 and 1990, he also served as Principal of Jews’ College, the United Synagogue’s rabbinical seminary. On 1 September 1991, he was inducted to serve as Chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth on 1 September 1991. He held the position until 1 September 2013, when he was succeeded by Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. In addition to his international travelling and speaking engagements and prolific writing, he served as Professor of Judaic Thought at New York University and as the Kressel and Ephrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought at YesHiva University.