Baron Jonathan Sacks

letter-447577_1280

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, has been appointed a Life Peer by the House of Lords Appointments Commission. A life peer is given the rank of Baron among British nobility, and a seat on the House of Lords.

Rabbi Dr. Immanuel Jakobovits zt”l, Rabbi Sacks’ predecessor as Chief Rabbi, was also given peerage during his tenure, but Rabbi Sacks’ nomination comes at a time when there’s a lot of anti-Israel agitation in Britain. The Jerusalem Post also says that the Chief Rabbi’s office is underscoring the fact that the appointment was an apolitical recommendation from the Lords Appointment Commission, rather than from PM Gordon Brown’s office (the PM and the Chief Rabbi are said to have a close relationship). The appointment is notable in its own right, but the time and the source both speak to British high esteem for Rabbi Sacks.

You may also like...

23 Responses

  1. Zach Leiner says:

    “The United States is hardly going to provide safe harbor to us, dhimmis. I live in the United States. My next door neighbors are a “Palestinian” family with 9 kids” – Cristobal

    “Cristobal, I don’t know about your specific neighborhood, but where I live (Pflugerville, TX) the most prolific parents are Christians.” – Ori

    “The implied message here is that the only hope for believing Christians to maintain their moral values and respect for Scripture against both permissiveness and relativism as well as the Wahhabi Islamic threat is in alliance with Orthodox Jews.” – Y. Friedman

    All these comments touch upon the other. Ori, the “prolific” (ie, non-Islamic) families you refer to in Texas are close to nonexistent in Western and Central Europe. The white Christian European (save for maybe some blue-collar types) have lost their raison d’etre for retaining any vestige of tradition and the first thing to go in such a situation is a robust family.

    When the Archbishop of Canterbury recommends adopting the Sha’aria, and when a top Catholic priest in the Netherlands recommends adopting the Arabic term for Hashem (to mollify the Muslims), it’s quite obvious that European Christianity is on the slippery slope.

    Maybe those who recommended Rabbi Sacks for this honor know in their heart of hearts that a key idea to save themselves is to latch onto Jewish survival skills honed by 2,000 years in the turbulent exile.

  2. Gershon says:

    “Baron” Sacks highlights the additional, interesting bit of trivia, that new members of the House of Lords are given that rank in British nobility.

    If we’re talking interesting trivia, Life Peers (to which the CR was elevated) are given the lowest rank of Baron (the others in ascending order are Viscount,Earl,Marquess,Duke). Those who are created as hereditary peers (I doubt if any have been created recently) will have their title/rank decided by the Monarch and it may be of any of the 5 ranks at HM’s desire. The CR will probably be known as “The Lord CR” but in Parliament will probably be known as “Lord Sacks”.

    For the record, the Clerk of the House of Lords managed to deliberately completely mangle the late Lord CR Jackobowits’s name (Immanuel Jakerbits) during his induction ceremony in the Lords. I wonder if they’ll try that again…

  3. mb says:

    “mb:The Union of Orthdox Hebrew Congregations may have praised Rabbi Saks — at least on this occasion!- but neither it nor the Federation Orthodox Synagogues recognizes Rabbi Saks authority as Chief Rabbi.

    Comment by LAWRENCE KAPLAN — July 20, 2009 @ 7:44 pm ”

    True for the Union, and this was a (welcome) rarity.They have also given him their overwhelming support in the JFS affair.

    As for the Federation, whilst they do have their own Beth Din and Dayanim, in practice, most, if not all of their congregants recognize His Lordship as the Chief Rabbi. And whilst the CR has the title of Av Beis Din, a bit like the Queen vis a vis parliament, doesn’t interfere with the Dayanim, and the court is in reality headed by Dayan Gelley.
    I believe this a carry over from when CR Hertz encouraged Dayan Abramsky to join his court. Before that the CRs were CR’s. None more so than CR Nathan Adler, who didn’t even permit any of his Rabbis to carry that title. Hence the still extant, quaintly British, custom of the monicker, Reverend.

  4. LAWRENCE KAPLAN says:

    mb:The Union of Orthdox Hebrew Congregations may have praised Rabbi Saks — at least on this occasion!- but neither it nor the Federation Orthodox Synagogues recognizes Rabbi Saks authority as Chief Rabbi.

  5. Jewish Observer says:

    “Personally I feel that referring to Rabbis Saks and Jakobovitz as “Lord” reflects a lack of proper Jewish pride. There is no more “noble” Jewish title than that of “Rabbi.””

    – Interrsting (and gratifying) that it still feels that way to you. In the charedi world, the title rabbi is used quite liberally. I have seen it used for all yeshiva ketana limudei kodesh teachers, all kollel members, all kiruv professionals, etc. I have not verified this but have heard that in the Lakewood heimishe directory, all the men’s names are preceded with the title rabbi.

    Given this, the title Lord (ribono shel olam) is the only decent promotion you can get :-)

  6. mb says:

    Mazel tov to Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, President of LSJS, on his appointment to the House of Lords.
    More than anyone he has ennobled our Tradition and made the words of the Midrash (BR 39:12) come true:

    R. Nechemiah said: The Holy One, blessed be God, said to Abraham,
    “And in you will all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3)
    – Now if that is meant in respect of wealth, they are surely wealthier than we!
    But it was meant in respect of counsel: when they are troubled they will ask our advice, and we give it to them.

  7. mb says:

    The British Aguda said,elegantly,

    “The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations said the Chief Rabbi’s honour was “an elevation for those who adhere to Torah values in an age of diminishing morals. Rabbi Sacks always presents the rock-solid foundations of Judaism to the British people and in recognition they have justly rewarded him with the accolade so befitting.”

  8. LAWRENCE KAPLAN says:

    Yaakov Menken: as mb correctly pointed out, Rabbi Saks is NOT the Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth. He is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the British Commonwealth. It is ironic that most British Jews who share the general ideolological orientation of Cross Currents do NOT belong to shuls affiliated with the United Hebrew Congregations and thus do not accept Rabbi Saks as their Chief Rabbi.

    Personally I feel that referring to Rabbis Saks and Jakobovitz as “Lord” reflects a lack of proper Jewish pride. There is no more “noble” Jewish title than that of “Rabbi.”

  9. dovid says:

    “they are unwilling to co-exist in peace with anybody who is not moslem”

    If “they” only co-existed with other Muslims. “They” don’t. “They” are busy killing each others wholesale. Their first loyalty is to the clan, followed by tribe, ethnic group, and umma. If there is a conflict between loyalty to the clan and observance of Islamic law, the law flies out of the window.

  10. One Christian's perspective says:

    The implied message here is that the only hope for believing Christians to maintain their moral values and respect for Scripture against both permissiveness and relativism as well as the Wahhabi Islamic threat is in alliance with Orthodox Jews. – Comment by Yehoshua Friedman

    Since both Jews and Christians revere the Hebrew Bible there is a joint appreciation of the Word of God. Knowing that Gods very own Words have been written (albeit by the Spirit of God) and preserved by Jewish people is an awesome recognition of God’s mercy and grace to the entire world and specifically to those who seek God’s face.
    Believing Christians recognize the wonderful gifts God has given to the Jewish people: the Law, Covenants, Temple worship, Presence of God, Prophets and Gods very Word and even though our desire is to reach out to Jewish people in love and thanksgiving, we do not see any people group or government as our “hope”. Our hope is written in the Word of God and it is by Gods own Spirit that we read those words with simple understanding and purpose and direction to our lives. Outside of the Word of God and outside of His Spirit, we really have no hope.

    My hope rests in the certainty and promise of God Himself who has never deserted me and who gently leads me back to the path He has chosen for me for life. I know He hears my prayers and I know He has answered them, in His timing and in the best way possible – He always surprises me how and it is always in a way I would never imagine. Mr. Friedman, the hope that we both have against the evil in this world is God. God is able and willing to do so much more than we ask but we have to ask and believe that He can and trust that His way is the only way even when it seems our world is falling down around us.

  11. Yaakov Menken says:

    mb… I knew that. Because of his rank, Baron Sacks is accurate, whether or not he will be called Lord Sacks — which, like his predecessor and all (?) the other life peers, he undoubtedly will. “Baron” Sacks highlights the additional, interesting bit of trivia, that new members of the House of Lords are given that rank in British nobility.

    As for the Falklands, as a matter of fact, yes. If he’s Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth (granted, more up-to-date than ‘Empire’), why would that not include the overseas territories? IIRC, Great Britain won that war.

  12. Ori says:

    Cristobal, I don’t know about your specific neighborhood, but where I live (Pflugerville, TX) the most prolific parents are Christians. Regardless of denomination, they seem to be friendly towards Jews, just as One Christian is.

    The US may not always provide a safe harbor, but no place in the world does – unless you consider Sderot and Nahariya to be safe.

  13. Cristobal says:

    The United States is hardly going to provide safe harbor to us, dhimmis. I live in the United States. My next door neighbors are a “Palestinian” family with 9 kids. Guess who is going to leave the neighborhood first, me or them? And guess who is going to move in once I move out?

  14. One Christian's perspective says:

    I like Rabbi Jonathan Sacks very much……not because he wonderfully explains halachic Jewish life to an uninformed gentile but because he reveals it by words and deeds expressed in Biblical truths/ wisdom with humble simplicity. He is a wonderful and gifted speaker who does not talk down to his audience but rather meets them where they are and gently takes them to where he is. Only someone who can sincerely see another as “created in the image of God” rather than “one of those” can reach out to every person. Before he received this title, he was already honored and respected. May God be praised for using Rabbi Sacks as a bridge between all peoples of the world.

  15. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    The implied message here is that the only hope for believing Christians to maintain their moral values and respect for Scripture against both permissiveness and relativism as well as the Wahhabi Islamic threat is in alliance with Orthodox Jews. They are beginning to see that they need us, which makes it indeed a Kiddush Hashem. May the knowledge of G-d increase speedily in the world and may we see the Geula Shelema soon.

  16. dr. bill says:

    Total government support for parochial school education, which has allowed the vast majority of jewish children (across the spectrum) to receive a jewish education in the UK, is a unique phenomena. There may well be handwriting on the wall, but we should not judge court rulings in the UK from either a US or Israeli perspective.

    Chief Rabbi Sacks’ siddur and his numerous hashkafic works are unique contributions to our mesorah. Listen to his lectures on YU Torah and his website and particularly the two videos on his website to appreciate his unique insights.

  17. Raymond says:

    Radical moslems are destroying the great and centuries old British culture and society. Since they are unwilling to co-exist in peace with anybody who is not moslem, the choice has to be made among civilized human beings whether to stay and fight that cancer, or emigrate by the tens of millions to friendlier countries such as Israel and the United States. As islamofascism grows and grows, the places where civilized human beings can live without fear is shrinking more and more.

  18. Harry Maryles says:

    Rabbi Sacks is a true intellect in a seemingly increasing desert of Jewish intellectual thought.

    England’s granting to an Orthodox Rabbi this high honor in a continent that is increasingly hostile to Jews is a Kiddush HaShem. We sure can use a lot more of those – these days.

  19. mb says:

    Rabbi Menken needs to get out a bit more.
    The CR’s title will probably be Lord Sacks, Baron is the rank, as is Earl, Duke, etc.
    Chief Rabbi of the British Empire? Do you mean the Falkland Islands?
    We British don’t have much Empire left. However, as we refuse to accept that we lost any of it, Sir Jonathan is Chief Rabbi to all the colonies, mandates and protectorates.
    Which makes him CR of the American colonies and Palestine, and therefore the Rabbi to nearly every Jew in the world.
    Hail to the Chief.
    (FYI his title Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the British Commonwealth)

  20. Jewish Observer says:

    This submission, apparently a straight news item, is atypical for CC. Was there an intended point of view implied here that I missed?

  21. Leonard Cohen says:

    This is such a hollow honor given everything else that is happening in the U.K. As with the rest of Europe, the Islamization of British society is a growing cancer within the body politic, most threateningly evident last year when the Archbishop of Canterbury asserted that the incorporation of aspects of Sharia law into the British common law was “unavoidable” for Britons.

    Today it is reported that the Court of Appeal issued a ruling “that has shocked the country’s 300,000-strong Jewish community,” holding that “ongoing personal acts of faith, rather than birth or conversion, must define who is a Jew.” This is truly incredible, and there is little that Rabbi Baron Sacks can do about it, other than to pray that the House of Lords (of which he is now a member) reverses the court’s ruling. (I wonder if he will need to recuse himself from the House’s deliberation due to conflict of interest?)

    Maybe this 300,000-strong Jewish community had better start reading the writing on the wall: the continued viability of halachic Jewish life in the U.K. is coming to an end, and it’s time to start making plans to leave. (This is not to discount the signs that the Ribbono Shel Olam is sending to North American Jews along the same lines; but sadly, we don’t seem to be listening either).

  22. Charles B. Hall says:

    Mazel Tov to Rabbi Baron Dr. Sacks!

    Significant is the fact that the Lords Appointment Commission only recommended *two* appointments after considering many nominations. Here is the relevant part of the announcement from the Lords Appointment Commission site, announcing the two appointments:

    # Dame Nuala O’Loan is a solicitor, former law lecturer and was the first Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (2000-2007).As a Special Commissioner to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for Great Britain Dame Nuala chaired the recent Formal Investigation into Human Rights. She is also conducting an independent review for the Home Secretary of the document “Outsourcing Abuse” which contains allegations of abuse of people being deported from the UK. Dame Nuala is a Roving Ambassador and Special Envoy of Ireland for Women, Peace and Security and is Ireland’s Roving Ambassador for Conflict Resolution and Special Envoy to Timor Leste. Dame Nuala is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster. She has written and published many articles on matters of policing and security, and leadership and faith issues, and has spoken in many countries on these matters. In 2008 she was awarded a DBE for public service.

    # Sir Jonathan Sacks was appointed Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth in September 1991. He is Associate President of the Conference of European Rabbis and one of the Presidents of the Council of Christians and Jews. Sir Jonathan comments on a broad range of moral and ethical issues that confront today’s society. He has written eighteen books, is a regular broadcaster on radio and television and frequently writes for the national press. He speaks regularly on matters of faith and related issues. Sir Jonathan is Visiting Professor at Kings College London and Birkbeck College, University of London. He is also President of the London School of Jewish Studies (formerly Jews’ College). Sir Jonathan has addressed the United Nations, leaders of the European Union and the European Parliament. In 2005 he was awarded a Knighthood for services to the community and interfaith relations.

  23. Bob Miller says:

    I hope that the high British esteem for Rabbi Sacks can carry over into high esteem for Jewish schools, which are being told lately by the government to admit non-Jewish students.