web analytics
December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



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
PM Binyamin Netanyahu lights Hanukkah candles in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu Warns Israel ‘Will Not Allow’ PA’s UN Resolution to Endanger Israelis
Latest News Stories
PM Binyamin Netanyahu lights Hanukkah candles in Jerusalem.

PM Binyamin Netanyahu warns he will not allow the UN Security Council resolution on behalf of the PA to endanger Israeli citizens.

IDF Girls Chanukah

Israeli soldiers holding (and eating) ‘sufganiyot’- doughnuts traditionally eaten on Hanukkah, as they pose for a pictures on the 2nd night of Hanukkah at a candle lighting ceremony held near the Gush Etzion junction. This particular lighting ceremony was held at a memorial spot in commemoration of the three Jewish teenagers who were kidnapped and […]

Aerial view of Herodian.

Excavations also turned up hidden tunnels dug by Jewish rebels in the period of the Bar Kokhba Revolt.

The annual  Chabad menorah lighting in Sydney has been called off this year because of the murders in the Lindt cafe.

Is Sydney also going to turn out the lights on Christmas trees?

25-year-old man threatened former Shas party head with violence.

Are machine gun shots all night long and the death from a “work accident” not enough evidence for the EU court?

“It was crucial to my survival knowing that I was not forgotten.“

Feiglin decided he and the Likud party are better off if he fights on only one front, not two or three.

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.

I’m sorry, but Naftali Bennett decided to dress up as an aging Tel Aviv Hipster and… apologize…

The New York premier of Sony’s new film, “The Interview” has been scrapped due to a terror threat.

Harvard boycotts SodaStream to avoid offense to Palestinian Arab students.

FM Avigdor Liberman refuses meeting in Jerusalem with Swedish counterpart over PA recognition.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
The Harvard seal, "veritas," on the side of a Harvard building.

Harvard boycotts SodaStream to avoid offense to Palestinian Arab students.

Damage from an electrical fire in a mosque in the town of Mughayer, near Ramallah, on Nov. 12, 2014.

Report determines mosque fire blamed on “Jewish settlers” was actually an electrical fire.

Hundreds of schoolchildren killed or wounded in Taliban attack on Pakistani school.

Former AP correspondent exposes the shoddiness of modern journalism, especially about Israel.

Islamist terrorists have taken 13 hostage in a chocolates cafe in Sydney, Australia.

AQAP claims it hit an airbase in Yemen where American advisers are located.

UCalifornia union passes empty BDS resolution, but triggers “no politics in classroom” policy – win for Israel!

Most Americans seem to prefer their own security to avoiding serious discomfort to suspected terrorists

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: