web analytics
October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Former UK Chief Rabbi’s Future: ‘Working With Students’

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks told an audience at Eastern College on Thursday, Oct. 24, that he intends to dedicate the rest of his life working with students. He said he wants to support and encourage students to do great things for others.
Rabbi Dr. Yehuda Seif of Kohelet Yeshiva High School and the Tikvah Foundation, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Prof. R.J. Snell of the Templeton Honors College of Eastern University before Rabbi Sacks' lecture on Oct. 24, 2013

Rabbi Dr. Yehuda Seif of Kohelet Yeshiva High School and the Tikvah Foundation, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Prof. R.J. Snell of the Templeton Honors College of Eastern University before Rabbi Sacks' lecture on Oct. 24, 2013
Photo Credit: Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Last night Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks spoke at Eastern University, a Christian non-denominational school in suburban Philadelphia, to a packed audience of students which also included a large segment from a local modern Orthodox school, Kohelet Yeshiva High School.

The subject of the rabbi’s talk was: “Religion and the Common Good.”  It was presented by the Agora Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good, the Templeton Honors College at Eastern University, along with the Tikvah Program and the Beit Midrash program at Kohelet Yeshiva High School.

Rabbi Sacks forcefully delivered his take not only on religion and the common good, but his view that religion is for the common good.  He compared his views with that of philosophers such as John Rawls, who believed that there could be a language of public reason which all could share, “so long as religious conviction was left out.”  Sacks also mentioned the anti-religionists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, both of whom view “religion not just as irrelevant, but also harmful.”

But for Sacks, once the public discussion begins to lose its mooring in religion, the strong sense of the common – as opposed to individual – good is lost.  The focus then becomes, eventually, “what is in it for me, instead of what is in it for the common good.”

It is in such a society, Sacks said, that Hobbes’s realization of life as being “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” is inevitable.  For that is what becomes of a society based on a social contract, rather than on a societal covenant.

Rabbi Sacks explained that the first example of the social contract appears in First Samuel, when the people of Israel demanded a king. In the book, God told Samuel to explain to the people what kinds of liberties and rights they would have to give up in order to have a king, a centralized power, Sacks explained.  The people, to their later regret, demanded one anyway.

On the other hand, Rabbi Sacks explained that the first example of a social covenant is also found in the Hebrew Bible.  This was a pledge of mutual responsibility between the Jewish people and God.  A covenant, as opposed to a contract, is an exchange, a pledge to do together what neither can do alone.

Rabbi Sacks described the United States as a covenantal society, and pointed out that virtually every U.S. president renews that covenant during their inauguration.  A social contract creates what Rabbi Sacks called a “state,” in contrast to a true “society” which is created by a covenant.

“We the people,” are covenantal words, they are not ones expressed in a country such as England, or certainly any other monarchy.

Rabbi Sacks delighted the audience, delivering many “Jewish” jokes and Talmudic stories.

But the rabbi’s declaration that he hopes to be like the Lubbevitcher Rebbe: rather than have many followers, create many leaders, warmed the hearts of many.  This announcement came in response to the last questioner of the evening.

Harris Finkelstein, of Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, mentioned that he has read many of Rabbi Sacks’ more than 25 books, and that he looks forward to receiving the weekly email from Rabbi Sacks with his take on the weekly Torah portion.  But what, after having been chief rabbi of the United Kingdom for 22 years, “what could possibly be next?”

“I intend to spend the rest of my life with students, encouraging them to lead,” the rabbi said. “I want to support and encourage these students to do great things for others.”

RABBI SACKS TO BEGIN AFFILIATION WITH YESHIVA UNIVERSITY

His declaration last night was followed up by an announcement today that Rabbi Sacks has accepted a teaching position at Yeshiva University. The announcement was made to a small group of students, but YU said it will be releasing a statement next week in conjunction with the former chief rabbi’s office.

 

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Former UK Chief Rabbi’s Future: ‘Working With Students’”

  1. Basha Kline says:

    Bit contradictory of Rabbi Sacks to say he wants to "encourage students to do great things for others!" – in all the time he was in office he did nothing to help Johnathan Pollard when he had every opportunity to make his voice heard on the subject and the lengthy and extreme incarceration of Johnathan Pollard – let's hope the next Chief Rabbi pulls his finger out on the matter!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Chaye Zisel Braun
Funeral for Chaye Zisel Braun Underway [photos]
Latest News Stories
Chaye Zisel Braun

The funeral for Chaye Zisel Braun began at midnight Wednesday night.

Car in Light Rail Runover

Al-Shaloudi was the nephew of the former Hamas chief and bombmaker Mohiyedine Sharif.

Aftermath of the vehicular terrorist attack at the light rail station near Ammunition Hill, Jerusalem, Oct. 22, 2014.

Arab media describes Hamas vehicular terrorist attack as ‘Palestinian ‘shot dead’ by Israeli police.’

Clashes in Silwan

Police tried to reach the home of the driver in Wednesday’s attack.

Hundreds of Jewish leaders from around the world who are part of the Jewish Agency for Israel Board of Governor will convene in Ashkelon, one of Hamas favorite targets for rockets and missiles, next week. The Board had been set to meet in Mexico as part of its annual rotation amongst the world’s Jewish communities, […]

With all due respect to the IDF, since when is drug smuggling not linked to terror?

A demonstration by 10,000 in Isfahan for women’s rights has morphed into a protest against Iran’s regime.

Syria says it bombed the jets as they were landing in Aleppo.

The baby that was injured in the suspected terror attack this evening died in the hospital.

The train company’s video of the event in Jerusalem that left 8 people injured.

Haifa-based Elbit Systems won an $88 million from an unnamed Asian country for various projects, most of them for an F-5 aircraft avionics upgrade program and the supply of electro-optic and communications systems, Elbit announced Wednesday. The F-5 fighter jet has been in operation for more than 40 years four decades, and is used by […]

Wouldn’t be a lot easier if fanatic Haredim would simply charter their own planes?

One dead, 8 injured, 2 seriously when a car (purposely?) drove into a group of people waiting for a train in Jerusalem.

Please see this article for the latest update. Updates as soon as available. UPDATE 4, 6:42 p.m. Israel Time: Official word from Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld, Israel Police Foreign Press Spokesman is that nine people were injured by a vehicle which struck people at the light rail station. The shots people heard were ones fired at the […]

A Canadian soldier was injured after being shot on Canada’s Parliament Hill.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
Aftermath of the vehicular terrorist attack at the light rail station near Ammunition Hill, Jerusalem, Oct. 22, 2014.

Arab media describes Hamas vehicular terrorist attack as ‘Palestinian ‘shot dead’ by Israeli police.’

Jerusalem Light Rail traveling through a neighborhood in the capital.

Please see this article for the latest update. Updates as soon as available. UPDATE 4, 6:42 p.m. Israel Time: Official word from Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld, Israel Police Foreign Press Spokesman is that nine people were injured by a vehicle which struck people at the light rail station. The shots people heard were ones fired at the […]

Visitors from Ebola-stricken West African nations will be required to enter the U.S. from one of only five airports.

Israel’s UN ambassador refuted secretary-general’s hackneyed and false understanding of instability in the Middle East.

A radicalized Canadian convert to Islam rammed soldiers in what may have been an act of terrorism.

Haaretz smears U.S. terrorism expert for being a Republican and friend of Sheldon Adelson.

#BDSFail as daughter of Hamas leader is treated in Israeli hospital.

Abbas was denounced by the SWC for trying to disassociate Jews from their holy sites and inciting violence against them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/former-uk-chief-rabbis-future-working-with-students/2013/10/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: