In 1997 U.K. Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks penned a secret letter wherein he accused Britain’s most famous reform Rabbi, Hugo Gryn, of being “a destroyer of the faith.” Gryn, a holocaust survivor with whom I was friendly, had just passed away. Anglo-Jewry was aghast. As an orthodox Rabbi who was regularly invited to speak before reform communities, I defended the Chief Rabbi with every breath I had. Sacks was, and remains, one of the most eloquent apologists for Judaism in the English language and, arguably, its finest writer. He made a mistake. He repented. It was time to move on.
Far more important was Sacks’ omission in combating the growing anti-Semitism that blossomed during his tenure. With just a few months left to his Chief Rabbinate, it behooves a man of such extraordinary eloquence to fill that void in his leadership. He must devote the majority of his remaining time and speeches in the U.K., before he executes his plans to move for half of each year to the USA, to condemning the Israel hatred being spawned on U.K. campuses that saw even Oxford University vote in February to ban Israeli academics.
Had I been told that a university where I served as Rabbi for half of my adult life would actually conduct a vote as to whether they should ban Israelis from attending I would never have believed it, especially in the year 2013.
There is only one person who can really make a difference, given his gargantuan standing in academic circles. And that is Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.
As the great sage Hillel said, “If not now, when?”
About the Author: Shmuley Boteach, whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” is the founder of The World Values Network and the international bestselling author of 30 books, including “The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.
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