Lady Sacks launches BFBIU campaign for Jonathan Sacks Institute


Plans for a new Jonathan Sacks Institute were revealed last Thursday (7/9/23) at an exclusive event organised by BFBIU. Hosted by best-selling children’s cookery author, Annabel Karmel MBE, in her St John’s Wood home, special guest speakers included award-winning writer, Howard Jacobson, and Lord Jonathan Kestenbaum. Chairing the discussion was Prof. Jonathan Rynhold who announced plans to open the Jonathan Sacks Institute at Bar-Ilan next year.

Howard Jacobson was a close friend of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt”l and, during the evening, recounted the many conversations they had together on a whole host of different topics. To the audience’s delight, he went on to share the story of Rabbi Sacks officiating his wedding – and dancing with his best man, Melvyn Bragg.

Lord Jonathan Kestenbaum worked with Rabbi Sacks between 1991-96 as Executive Director of the Office of the Chief Rabbi. They went on to become lifelong friends. Lord Kestenbaum shared memories of those early days working with Rabbi Sacks and told stories about the many encounters they had with royalty and international leaders.

Prof. Jonathan Rynhold asked both guests what made Rabbi Sacks so unique – as a rabbi, academic and politician – and what impact he made on UK society and international relations. All agreed, Rabbi Sacks’ wisdom and values were needed today more than ever, especially in Israel.

From that, Prof Rynhold revealed plans for the Jonathan Sacks Institute in Israel. Opening at Bar-Ilan University next year, the Institute aims to bring together students, researchers and academics from different faiths, backgrounds and countries to learn from, and be inspired by, the life and works of Rabbi Sacks.

Lady Elaine Sacks closed the evening, encouraging everyone to support the new Jonathan Sacks Institute, stating:

“I am deeply moved that Bar-Ilan University is establishing an institute that will bear my husband’s name. He was passionate about bridging the gap between traditional Jewish thought and contemporary societal issues, and this institute will continue that legacy. I am grateful to Bar-Ilan University for providing a platform for Rabbi Sacks’ teachings in Israel, which will continue to inspire future generations.”

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