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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks to Join Faculty at YU and NYU

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

The Jewish Press had the teaser last week, but it’s now official: the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom will hold dual professorships at Yeshiva University and New York University, both centered in New York City.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks will officially become the  Kressel and Efrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought at YU in January. He will also hold the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought at NYU.

“The voice, the philosophy and the spirit of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has been a gift to the United Kingdom and beyond for many years, said Richard M. Joel, president and Bravmann Family University Professor at YU.

“It has long been our desire to welcome him into this next stage of his life by having him work at Yeshiva University to both inspire the next generation of Jewish leadership and to be a voice to the Jewish people and world for our timeless values. I join with the extraordinary John Sexton in celebrating yet another way for two great universities to work together to advance an agenda that matters.”

Rabbi Sacks, who received degrees from both Cambridge and Oxford Universities in England, and received his rabbinic ordination from the London School of Jewish Studies and Yeshiva Etz Chaim.

In 2005, Rabbi Sacks was knighted by the Queen of England and made a Life Peer.  He sits in the House of Lords as Baron Sacks of Aldgate in the City of London.

“I am excited at the opportunity to teach at Yeshiva University, one of the world’s great institutions of higher Jewish learning and at NYU, a university of global reach and distinction,” said Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. “This dual intellectual challenge is the perfect context to take forward the project of a Judaism engaged with the world in conversation with students in one of the major centres of Jewish life.”

At NYU, Rabbi Lord Sacks will be the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought.

With more than 25 books published and regular appearances in various media, Rabbi Lord Sacks is one of the most admired and feted public Jewish figures of modern times.

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

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

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.

 

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

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