By Sara Neidle
On Saturday evening I was saddened to hear the passing of Chief Rabbi Sacks, at the age of 72 years. Although I did not personally know him, I had heard him speak on several occasion – at school, synagogue, and various events. He was an inspirational and great communicator.
He was one of the leading British-Jewish voices of his age. He was the former Chief Rabbi of Britain and the British Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013. He was a remarkable figure where he was respected by the wider community, both Jewish and secular. He held the community together while speaking with humanity and clarity to the wider society on all issues – religious fundamentalism, ethics and the relationship between science and religion.
An intellect, clear communicator and prolific writer, Rabbi Sacks was a frequent guest on television and radio, and regularly contributed to the national press. He was media savvy appearing on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Thought of the Day’ along with having his own website. For those who had the opportunity to listen to him, he was extraordinary in the way he was able to express complex ideas in the simplest of ways.
He was the author of numerous highly acclaimed books on the role of faith in the modern age and the recipient of many coveted awards. Not only that, but he was also awarded 18 honorary doctorates, including a Doctor of Divinity, conferred to mark his first 10 years in office as Chief Rabbi, by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time, George Carey. He was knighted in 2005 and created a life peer in 2009.
Rabbi Sacks will be missed by the wider community. The tributes from PM Boris Johnson, Prince Charles and many others shows the huge impact he had on the wider community.