Photo Credit: Courtesy
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, z"l

This month, more than 150 communities and day schools across the globe will join together in marking the second anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l, the former Chief Rabbi of Britain.

The intercontinental commemoration is being scheduled around the yahrzeit (November 13 and 14) and is being called “Communities in Conversation,” inspired by the renowned leader’s teachings and his passion for learning through dialogue.


More than 150 Jewish communities and day schools from six continents are expected to join together in a global day of learning and Torah conversation on November 13 and 14.

Last year’s event drew a similar number of participating shuls, schools, and community groups.

“As we prepare to mark the second anniversary of the passing of our dear Rabbi Sacks zt”l, his words, and his mission to inspire deeper conversations on what Judaism means to the individual remain just as relevant on his second yahrzeit as they were when he first spoke them,” said Rabbi Sacks Legacy Chief Executive Joanna Benarroch.

“In his memory, we will bring communities and schools together to learn and to discuss, sharing his wisdom and his teachings with each other and with the world.”

Communities and Jewish day schools have registered in Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Austria, Australia, Bahrain, Indonesia, Kuwait, The Netherlands, Mexico, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to host communal learning sessions to mark the anniversary.

The event, “From Optimism to Hope,” offers participants the opportunity to discuss the writings and philosophy of Rabbi Sacks through curated videos and source sheets, designed to prompt conversation about the rabbi’s view on the differences between optimism and hope and understand its application to their own, Torah-filled, lives.

Much like the presentations given by Rabbi Sacks, the multifaceted lesson plan is geared toward spurring discussion among learners of all ages and all religious backgrounds.

“My father learned from books, from text, from laws, history, and from world events. But mainly, he learned from people,” said Gila Sacks, explaining the inspiration for the event.

“He would seek out people to learn from, from every possible path of life, and he would do this through conversation – through talking and listening. For him, conversation was a defining and spiritual act, a way of opening ourselves up to something beyond the individual, a training perhaps, for opening ourselves up to God.”


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.