Baruch Dayan HaEmet – a tribute to the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l

November 13th, 2020

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) and Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) co-hosted an Australia-wide community tribute to the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l on zoom on Wednesday 11 November 2020 at 7:00pm AEDT.

The program included tributes from ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim AM, ZFA CEO Ginette Searle, Rabbi Genende OAM as well as Rabbi Benjamin Elton and Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins (on behalf of Rabbi Jacqui Ninio). Pslam 23 was read by Rabbanit Judith Levitan (Hebrew) and Jacquie Seemann (English). El Malei Rachamim was recited by Chazan Mordechai Levin.

The tributes were published on ABC Religion & Ethics.

Watch the tribute event on YouTube here or below:

More than 600 people registered for the Australian community tribute event above, and many of them posted personal messages of tribute to the late Rabbi Sacks. To read these tributes, please click here.

To download the press statement below in PDF format, please click here.

With the passing of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, a scholar, writer and former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, the world has lost a towering moral and intellectual figure at a time when it is most in need of people of his calibre.

For Rabbi Sacks there was no hard and fast division between Jewish and secular knowledge.  There was just knowledge.  More important was the wisdom that comes with knowledge , and he had it in abundance.  His favoured adage was Torah vehokhmah, ‘Torah and Wisdom’. As one of his admirers noted, “Torah, for Jonathan Sacks represents the particularistic, inherited teachings of Judaism, while hokhmah (wisdom) refers to the universal realm of the sciences and humanities.”

He had an extraordinary command of Jewish learning, moral philosophy and ethics, and a wonderful ability to convey his ideas to a wide audience, regardless of their level of education.  When he visited Australia some years ago, religious leaders and others from many faith communities came to hear him speak, and were overflowing in their praise of his erudition and insights.

His books were widely quoted, most especially The Dignity of Difference, a plea for humanity, compassion and mutual respect.  In an age of material abundance and spiritual poverty, Jonathan Sacks’ writings and radio broadcasts made accessible his profound understanding of the human condition and the nature of spirituality and morality.  For this he was revered by millions of people of all backgrounds and religions.

The Jewish world, and the whole of humanity, has been left much the poorer for his passing.

Peter Wertheim | Co-CEO
ph: 02 8353 8505 | m: 0408 160 904 | fax 02 9361 588