It is with great sadness that Matzav.com reports the passing of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt”l, R’ Yaakov Tzvi ben Dovid Aryeh, this morning.
Born March 8, 1948, in Lambeth, London, Rabbi Sacks served as the chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth in Britain from 1991 to 2013.
After stepping down as chief rabbi, in addition to his international travelling and speaking engagements and prolific writing, Rabbi Sacks served as the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought at New York University and as the Kressel and Ephrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University.
He was also appointed as Professor of Law, Ethics and the Bible at King’s College London.
He won the Templeton Prize – awarded for work affirming life’s spiritual dimension – in 2016.
He was also a Senior Fellow to the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.
Rabbi Sacks’s first rabbinic appointment from 1978 to 1982 was as the rabbi for the Golders Green synagogue in London. In 1983, he became rabbi of the Western Marble Arch Synagogue in Central London, a position he held until 1990. Between 1984 and 1990, he also served as Principal of Jews’ College.
Rabbi Sacks became a Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2005 “for services to the Community and to Inter-faith Relations”. He was made an Honorary Freeman of the London Borough of Barnet in September 2006. On July 13, 2009, the House of Lords Appointments Commission announced that Sacks was recommended for a life peerage with a seat in the House of Lords. He took the title “Baron Sacks, of Aldgate in the City of London” and sat as a crossbencher.
A visiting professor at several universities in Britain, the United States and Israel, Rabbi Sacks held 16 honorary degrees, including a doctorate of divinity conferred on him in September 2001 by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, to mark his first ten years in office as Chief Rabbi. In recognition of his work, Rabbi Sacks won several international awards, including the Jerusalem Prize in 1995 for his contribution to Diaspora Jewish life and The Ladislaus Laszt Ecumenical and Social Concern Award from Ben Gurion University in Israel in 2011.
The author of 25 books, Rabbi Sacks published commentaries on the siddur and commentaries to the Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Pesach machzorim.
Yehi zichro boruch.