The Hidden Story of Queen Esther
Why is Purim a holiday? Is the story of Purim simply a political victory? What is the spiritual meaning behind Purim and what relevance does it have for us today? This 6-part series by Rabbi David Fohrman takes you on a journey through the text of the megilah. The connections within betray a deeper meaning of the Purim story that is powerful and inspiring.
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Tisha B'Av: The Secret to Jewish Survival
In this course, we examine two essential questions relating to Tisha B'av: 1) How can we mourn something that we cannot see or feel? 2) How did we, as a nation, survive the destruction of our land and community? In so doing, we explore two intriguing and obscure Talmudic narrative, the interpretations of which shed fascinating light on fundamental concepts such as the purpose of the Torah and role of community and nationhood in Judaism.
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Why Should We Celebrate Purim 2000 Years Later?
Why is celebrating Purim relevant in the 21st century – or even at all? Sure, Purim was marked as the “holiday that would never be forgotten,” and celebrates the salvation of the Jewish nation, but it is also the rare holiday where God doesn’t take center stage in the story. The Megillah pores over every twist and turn of Esther and Mordechai’s actions, yet only hints at God’s involvement once – with an ambiguous reference at that. Is the Megillah suggesting that a little bit of glory goes to the characters, as well? Is this a clue that Purim celebrates our own contribution, alongside God’s?
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Parshat Yitro: 50 Second Recap
In Parshat Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23), we just witnessed some majorly epic events: the 10 plagues, the splitting of the sea and we're about to witness the ultimate epic event: God's revelation at Sinai. But smack in the middle of all of this awesomeness, we're introduced to Yitro, Moses' father-in-law. What is this doing here?! Join us as we explore the real meaning of revelation: maybe truly knowing God is not just a matter of a national relationship, but most importantly, a personal one.
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What’s the Theme of Passover? (And Don’t Say Freedom!)
If Passover was really about freedom, then why didn’t God take the Israelites out of Egypt sooner? Why did he have to go through all the trouble of making plagues? Join Imu as he explores this pivotal question by re-examining the Exodus text, and never read the Passover story the same way again.
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Why Do We Celebrate Hanukkah?
We all know about the miracle of the oil that lasted for 8 days. But why is that worth an entire holidays? Greater miracles have occurred for the Jewish people: The walls of Jericho, the sun standing still in the sky for Joshua, and the miraculous defeat of Sancheriv. What makes this holiday special? What are we meant to learn from this miracle that we can't from others?
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Parshat Beshalach: 50 Second Recap
In Parshat Beshalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16) we're introduced to a nation of whiners and complainers. After years of slavery, the Israelites are finally a free nation! The next thing we should be reading is a love story between God and His people. But the honeymoon phase ends before it even begins. How can the Israelites complain so soon after God freed them from slavery? How did they lose faith in God so quickly?
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Ki Tavo 5771 - Covenant & Conversation - Thoughts on the weekly parsha from the Chief Rabbi
Here's an experiment. Walk around the great monuments of Washington. There at the far end is the figure of Abraham Lincoln, four times life size. Around him on the walls of the memorial are the texts of two of the greatest speeches of history, the Gettysburg address and Lincoln's second inaugural: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right. . ."
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Investing Time - Ten Life-Changing Principles from Rabbi Sacks
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are festivals that ask us how we have lived thus far. Have we drifted? Have we been travelling to the wrong destination? Does the way we live give us a sense of purpose, meaning and fulfilment? Judaism is the satellite navigation system of the soul, and Rosh Hashanah is the day we stop and see whether we need to change direction.
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To be free...you have to learn to forgive - Preparing for the New Year (4 of 10)
Have compassion on your works. Forgive. That's what we say on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and the days between. But it cuts both ways. We can't ask God to forgive us if we don't forgive others. We have to forgive those who've offended us, however hard it is, because life is too short to feel resentment. Lo tikom velo titor, says the Torah. Don't bear a grudge and don't take revenge.
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Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks' pre-Selichot address
Have you ever wondered what Professor Ludwig Guttmann (the founder of the Paralympic Games), Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have in common? Watch the Chief Rabbi's inspirational pre-Selichot address to find out. The Chief Rabbi delivered his address ahead of the Choral Midnight Selichot with The Shabbaton Choir on Motzei Shabbat 8th September 2012 at Hampstead Synagogue.
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Rabbi Sacks on The Politics of Hope
During this year, I will be posting a series of six new whiteboard animation videos. Each video (produced by our partner White Animation) will seek to communicate some of the key ideas contained in much of my writings over the past 30 years, but present them in a dynamic and engaging way.
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The Way of Study: Listening to God (Ten Paths to God | Unit 3)
This video is about 'The Way of Study' and is the video for Unit 3 of Rabbi Sacks' 'Ten Paths to God' curriculum project. To download the accompanying educational material (entry and advanced level available), please visit www.RabbiSacks.org/TenPaths
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The Way of Mitzvot: Responding to God (Ten Paths to God | Unit 4)
This video is about 'The Way of Mitzvot' and is the video for Unit 4 of Rabbi Sacks' 'Ten Paths to God' curriculum project. To download the accompanying educational material (entry and advanced level available), please visit www.RabbiSacks.org/TenPaths
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The Way of Prayer: Speaking to God (Ten Paths to God | Unit 2)
This video is about 'The Way of Prayer' and is the video for Unit 2 of Rabbi Sacks' 'Ten Paths to God' curriculum project. To download the accompanying educational material (entry and advanced level available), please visit www.RabbiSacks.org/TenPaths
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Rabbi Sacks speaks about Article 18 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
On 16th July 2015, Rabbi Sacks spoke about the importance of Article 18 - the freedom of religion and belief - of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To read a transcript of Rabbi Sacks' speech, please visit /
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How do you learn to live? By not taking life for granted - Preparing for the New Year (6 of 10)
Zochreinu lachayim. Remember us for life. It was more than forty years ago. We were on our honeymoon and we were passing through a little Italian town called Paestum. It has some roman ruins, and a lovely beach, and that morning, a glittering, heartbreakingly beautiful sea. The problem was: I couldn't swim. But as I looked I saw people were standing hundreds of yards into the water and it still only came up to their knees. So, thinking it was safe, I walked out hundreds of yards and sure enough the water came up to my knees. Then I started walking back to the shore, and suddenly I found myself out of my depth. I'd walked into a dip in the sea bed. No one was close. I was about to drown. And as I went under for the fifth time I remember thinking, "What's the Italian for help?" and "What a way to begin a honeymoon." Someone saved me. How? Who? I never knew. By then I was more or less unconscious. But this I have known ever since: Every day is a gift from God. When we know that and feel it in our bones, that's when we really live. "Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a kind of clarion call, a summons to the Ten Days of Penitence which culminate in the Day of Atonement... Yom Kippur is the supreme moment of Jewish time, a day of fasting and prayer, introspection and self-judgement. At no other time are we so sharply conscious of standing before God, of being known." To help prepare for the New Year, the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has recorded a series of ten thought-provoking videos, each reflecting on a particular idea associated with this time in the Jewish calendar or on an individual prayer said on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur.
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Understanding Prayer: Holy Words (8/10)
Jews around the world are approaching the High Holy Days of the Jewish year - Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is the spiritual high moment of the Judaism and a time when we focus intensely on our prayers and how we want to live our lives, where we have succeeded and where we might have failed. As Jews prepare for the new Jewish year, join Rabbi Sacks in a series of ten short videos to learn what prayer really is and how it can change your life. This video focuses on how listening and the idea of holy words, places, time and people are central to Judaism. You can read a transcript of this video at: credits: 'Shema Koleinu' performed by The Shabbaton Choir
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Naso 5771 - Covenant & Conversation
The parsha of Naso seems, on the face of it, to be a heterogeneous collection of utterly unrelated items. First there is the account of the Levitical families of Gershon and Merari and their tasks in carrying parts of the Tabernacle when the Israelites journeyed. Then, after two brief laws about removing unclean people from the camp and about restitution, there comes the strange ordeal of the Sotah, the woman suspected by her husband of adultery. Next comes the law of the Nazirite, the person who voluntarily and usually for a fixed period took on himself special holiness restrictions, among them the renunciation of wine and grape products, of haircuts, and of defilement by contact with a dead body.
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House of Lords Debate on Education - 7th December 2017
On 7th December 2017, Rabbi Sacks spoke in a debate in the House of Lords on Education. The debate was moved by the Archbishop of Canterbury and stated: That the House takes note of the role of education in building a flourishing and skilled society. Below is a transcript of Rabbi Sacks' speech: My Lords. I am grateful to the most Rev Primate for initiating this debate on a subject vital to the future dignity and flourishing of our children and grandchildren. My Lords, allow me to speak personally as a Jew. Something about our faith moves me greatly, and goes to the heart of this debate. At the dawn of our people’s history, Moses assembled the Israelites on the brink of the Exodus. He didn’t talk about the long walk to freedom. He didn’t speak about the land flowing with milk and honey. Instead, repeatedly, he turned to the far horizon of the future and spoke about the duty of parents to educate their children. He did it again at the end of his life, when two verses after the great command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your might,” he said: “You shall teach these things repeatedly to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. Why this obsession with education that has stayed with us from that day to this? Because to defend a country you need an army. But to defend a civilization you need schools. You need education as the conversation between the generations. Whatever the society, the culture or the faith, we need to teach our children, and they theirs, what we aspire to and the ideals we were bequeathed by those who came before us. We need to teach our children the story of which we and they are a part, and we need to trust them to go further than we did, when they come to write their own chapter. We make a grave mistake if we think of education only in terms of knowledge and skills – what the American writer David Brooks calls the resu
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Chukkat 5771 - Covenant & Conversation - Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks speaks on the weekly torah portion
Chukkim are Judaism's way of training us in emotional intelligence, above all a conditioning in associating holiness with life, and defilement with death. It is fascinating to see how this has been vindicated by modern neuroscience. Rationality, vitally important in its own right, is only half the story of why we are as we are. We will need to shape and control the other half if we are successfully to conquer the instinct to aggression, violence and death that lurks not far beneath the surface of the conscious mind.
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The Way of Faith: Love as Loyalty (Ten Paths to God | Unit 7)
This video is about 'The Way of Faith' and is the video for Unit 7 of Rabbi Sacks' 'Ten Paths to God' curriculum project. To download the accompanying educational material (entry and advanced level available), please visit www.RabbiSacks.org/TenPaths
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The holy place...is where you are - Preparing for the New Year (3 of 10)
In ancient times there were holy places. The land of Israel was holy. Holier still was Jerusalem. In Jerusalem the holiest site was the Temple. And within the temple was a place supremely sacred: the holy of holies. Then there's holy time. There are festivals. Holier still is Shabbat. And holier than that is Shabbat Shabbaton, the Sabbath of Sabbaths, Yom Kippur. The day of atonement. And there are holy people. Israel is called goi kadosh, a holy nation. Within it the holiest of tribes were the leviim, the levites. Among the leviim were people holier still, the cohanim, priests. And among priests was one holier than all others, the cohen gadol, the high priest. And once a year the holiest man entered holiest place on the holiest day and sought atonement for all Israel. But then the temple was destroyed. Jerusalem reduced to ruins. There were no more sacrifices, no more high priest. What remained? Just the day itself. And us, the Jewish people. Wherever we pray becomes a mikdash me'at, a fragment of the temple. Every prayer said from the heart is like a sacrifice. And God listens to each of us as if we were the high priest. All we have is the service of the heart. And the knowledge that God listens to every word that comes from the heart. Shema koleinu. Dear God, Hear our voice, For we have nothing to give You but our prayers. "Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a kind of clarion call, a summons to the Ten Days of Penitence which culminate in the Day of Atonement... Yom Kippur is the supreme moment of Jewish time, a day of fasting and prayer, introspection and self-judgement. At no other time are we so sharply conscious of standing before God, of being known." To help prepare for the New Year, the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has recorded a series of ten thought-provoking videos, each reflecting on a particular idea associated with this time in the Jewish calendar or on an individual prayer said on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur.
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The Way of Tzedakah: Love as Justice (Ten Paths to God | Unit 5)
This video is about 'The Way of Tzedakah' and is the video for Unit 5 of Rabbi Sacks' 'Ten Paths to God' curriculum project. To download the accompanying educational material (entry and advanced level available), please visit www.RabbiSacks.org/TenPaths
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Balak 5771 - Covenant & Conversation - Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks on the weekly torah portion
A People that Dwells Alone? The dictionary defines epiphany as "a sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something; a comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization." This is the story of an epiphany I experienced one day in May, 2001, and it changed my perception of the Jewish fate. It was Shavuot, and we were in Jerusalem. We had gone for lunch to a former lay leader of a major Diaspora community. Also present at the table was an Israeli diplomat, together with one of the leaders of the Canadian Jewish Community. The conversation turned to the then forthcoming -- now notorious -- United Nations' Conference against Racism at Durban. Though the conference would not take place until August, we already knew that it and the parallel gathering of NGOs would turn into a diatribe against Israel, marking a new phase in the assault against its legitimacy. The diplomat, noting that the conversation had taken a pessimistic turn, and being a religious man, sought to comfort us. "It was ever thus," he said, and then quoted a famous phrase: "We are am levadad yishkon, the people that dwells alone." It comes from this week's parsha. Bilam, hired to curse the Jewish people, instead repeatedly blesses them. In his first utterance he says to Balak king of Moab: How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord has not defied? From the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, it is a people that dwells alone, not reckoned among the nations. (Num. 23: 8-9) Hearing these words in that context I experienced an explosion of light in the brain. I suddenly saw how dangerous this phrase is, and how close it runs the risk of being a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you define yourself as the people that dwells alone, you are likely to find yourself alone. That is not a safe place to be.
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Mattot 5771 - Covenant & Conversation - Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks speaks on the weekly Torah portion
This week's parsha opens with an account of the laws of vows and oaths. What is it doing here near the end of the book of Numbers, as the Israelites approach the destination of their journey to the promised land? Vows and oaths are obligations created by words. They are commitments to do something or refrain from doing something. A vow, neder, affects the status of an object. I may vow not to eat something. That something is now, for me, forbidden food. An oath, shevuah, affects the person not the object. What is now forbidden is not the food but the act of eating it. Both acts bind: that is the primary meaning of the word issar. Such is the sanctity of such undertakings that there are demanding rules that have to be met if they are to be annulled. You cannot do it yourself: the parsha sets out some of the ground rules, the rest of which were supplied by the oral tradition. So seriously does Judaism treat verbal undertakings that one act of annulment, Kol Nidrei, takes place at the start of the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur. The superficial reason for the law of vows appearing here is that the previous section of the Torah dealt with communal sacrifices. Individuals also brought sacrifices, sometimes because they were bound to do so but at other times because they voluntary chose to do so. Hence the laws of voluntary undertakings. But there is a deeper reason. The Israelites were nearing the land. They were about to construct a society unlike any other. It was to be a free society based on a covenant between the people and G-d. The rule of law was to be secured not by the use of force but by people honouring their moral commitments, their voluntary undertaking to G-d that what He commanded, they would do. 1
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A Tale of Two Women - A Shavuot shiur by Rabbi Sacks
To launch the new Koren-Sacks Shavuot machzor, Rabbi Sacks delivered a keynote shiur in London on 7 June 2016 to a packed room in Finchley United Synagogue. Co-hosted by Koren Publishers and the London School of Jewish Studies, Rabbi Sacks talked about the similarities between Ruth and Tamar, and what we can learn from their experiences about our identity as a Jewish people.
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Rabbi Sacks on The Mutation of Antisemitism
In recent months and years we have seen the return and rise of antisemitism across Europe and around the world. But how has antisemitism mutated over time? And why does its return today present a danger not just for Jews, but for all who care about our common humanity? Please watch and share my new whiteboard animation and this important message.
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Understanding Prayer: Framing Beliefs (9/10)
Jews around the world are approaching the High Holy Days of the Jewish year - Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is the spiritual high moment of the Judaism and a time when we focus intensely on our prayers and how we want to live our lives, where we have succeeded and where we might have failed. As Jews prepare for the new Jewish year, join Rabbi Sacks in a series of ten short videos to learn what prayer really is and how it can change your life. This video focuses on how Jewish faith isn't irrational or naive or pre-scientific, but a framing belief. You can read a transcript of this video at: credit: 'Chamol al Ma'asecha' performed by Chazan Shimon Craimer
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Introducing Covenant & Conversation: Family Edition
As many of you know, each week I send out a commentary essay on the week's parsha (Torah reading). I have called these essays Covenant & Conversation because this for me is the essence of what Torah learning is - throughout the ages and for us now. The text of Torah is our covenant with God; the interpretation of this text has been the subject of an ongoing conversation that began at Sinai and has never ceased. We need to learn more Torah with our children because that is how we can truly secure the Jewish future. That is why I am so excited by the new Family Edition of Covenant & Conversation for this year's Torah cycle. The Family Edition, expertly compiled by Dr. Daniel Rose Ph.D (who I worked with on the Ten Paths to God curriculum project), is a wonderful accompaniment to the main Covenant & Conversation essay each week. It has two main aims. First, to present the ideas in Covenant & Conversation in a simplified way, making my ideas more accessible to children and teenagers. Second, to act as an educational resource for parents, teachers and anyone else to engage their children and students in meaningful and stimulating conversations about the parsha. I hope you find this a useful addition to your learning during 5779. You can watch this short video explaining the project, and download this week's Family Edition for Bereishit here: If you want to receive this each on email, please subscribe to my free mailing list at www.RabbiSacks.org/Subscribe.
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"Always have faith in your children": Being an Inspiring Parent (Rule 11)
"Always have faith in your children": In this eleventh video on being an inspiring parent, I talk about the importance of always having faith in your children, no matter what the situation might be. By doing this, you will not only be a better parent, but you will also give your children faith in themselves. To watch the other videos in this 13-part series on 'Being an Inspiring Parent', please visit /
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Understanding Prayer: Family (5/10)
Jews around the world are approaching the High Holy Days of the Jewish year - Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is the spiritual high moment of the Judaism and a time when we focus intensely on our prayers and how we want to live our lives, where we have succeeded and where we might have failed. As Jews prepare for the new Jewish year, join Rabbi Sacks in a series of ten short videos to learn what prayer really is and how it can change your life. This video focuses on how we believe that to all humanity, God is a friend. But to us, He's family. You can read a transcript of this video at: credit: 'Avinu Malkeinu' by Gad Elbaz ( )
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Rabbi Sacks speaks at the Olami Summit
Last week at the Olami? Summit in London, together with Naftali Bennett?, Israel's Minister for Diaspora Affairs, I had the honour of addressing over 1400 young Jewish leaders from over 100 organisations based in more than 20 countries around the world. I spoke to them about what Judaism means to me and why it should mean a great deal to them. #OwnIt #OlamiSummit2017 #InspiringJewishGreatness
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Cultural Climate Change: The Role of Religion in a Secularised West
On Thursday 13th July, Rabbi Sacks delivered a keynote lecture on the concept of what he called 'Cultural Climate Change' and what religion has to offer in an increasingly secularised West. The lecture was hosted by The Chautauqua Institution, an arts and cultural lifelong learning community on the shores of Lake Chautauqua in Western New York.
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'Numbers: The Wilderness Years': A Reading by Rabbi Sacks
As we continue to make our way into the sefer Bamidbar, here is a short reading of the opening few pages of my latest book - 'Numbers: The Wilderness Years' - the fourth volume in my series of 'Covenant & Conversation: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible', published by Maggid Books (part of Koren Publishers Jerusalem).
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Rambam's Guide for the Perplexed on the Seder Night
One of Judaism's greatest sages, Rambam (Maimonides) offers us a deeply meaningful insight into the nature of the Seder night. In showing us the difference between how we are supposed to understand Seder night first as children and then as adults, he teaches us a crucial lesson which we can all apply in our daily life. Take a break from the pre-Pesach preparation to watch this 25-minute shiur. Wishing you all a Chag kasher v'sameach!
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Children At Risk
In Britain, in today's newspapers, there is an account of yesterday's report of the Children's Commissioner for England and it makes devastating reading about how millions of children in England are growing up in vulnerable or high risk environments. These are shocking figures and doubtless there are many causes. But there is one above all that cuts to the very heart of the problem of contemporary politics and why we so often find ourselves faced with problems that seem to have no solution. The single biggest factor, and this has emerged from every piece of research over the last fifty years is the collapse of marriage as an institution. Here is a video with some of my thoughts on the reports, and why I believe the institution of marriage is central to helping us tackle this problem.
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Understanding Prayer: Mistakes (6/10)
Jews around the world are approaching the High Holy Days of the Jewish year - Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is the spiritual high moment of the Judaism and a time when we focus intensely on our prayers and how we want to live our lives, where we have succeeded and where we might have failed. As Jews prepare for the new Jewish year, join Rabbi Sacks in a series of ten short videos to learn what prayer really is and how it can change your life. This video focuses on Judaism doesn't believe that anyone is infallible; we all make mistakes and it is how we learn from them that counts. You can read a transcript of this video at: credit: 'Avinu Malkeinu' performed by Shulem Lemmer ( & the Shira Choir ( )
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Preparing for the New Year - Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur (part 2)
Last year the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks recorded a series of ten short videos, each focussed on a different aspect or theme of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Whilst recorded for 5772, these messages are equally applicable as we enter 5773. This video is a compilation of the second five of these videos.
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Numbers: The Wilderness Years
I'm delighted to announce the publication of the fourth in the 'Covenant & Conversation' series, the book of essays on Bamidbar, the Book of Numbers, the fourth of the five Mosaic Books. Its published by Maggid Books, an imprint of Koren Publishers Jerusalem. As I discovered in writing these essays, and as I hope you will see in reading them, Bamidbar is probably the most contemporary of all the Books because it is speaking right to where we are now in the history of the world in the 21st century. 'Numbers: The Wilderness Years' is available on the Maggid Books website here: as well as on Amazon, Book Depository and in all good Jewish bookstores.
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The Way of Israel: The Jewish Land (Ten Paths to God | Unit 8)
This video is about 'The Way of Israel' and is the video for Unit 8 of Rabbi Sacks' 'Ten Paths to God' curriculum project. To download the accompanying educational material (entry and advanced level available), please visit www.RabbiSacks.org/TenPaths
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Confronting Violence in the Name of God
There are many conflicts around the world at present which claim to be in the name of God, particularly (although not only), the Middle East – such as ISIS in Iraq (with the persecution of Christians and Yazidis in Mosul), the ongoing situation in Gaza (which affects all three faiths of ‘the people of the Book’), and so on. In this public lecture, Rabbi Lord Sacks, as Professor of Law, Ethics & the Bible at King’s College London and Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought at New York University, reflects on how we might challenge this situation and confront this violence, and do so in the name of God. This lecture was delivered on Monday 20th October 2014 in London. To subscribe to Rabbi Sacks' mailing list, visit www.rabbisacks.org or follow him on Twitter @RabbiSacks
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YU and the World of Tomorrow: Educational opportunities in 21st century
Earlier this year on 22nd October, I took part in a public conversation with Rabbi Ari Lamm as part of Yeshiva University 'The World of Tomorrow' Conference under the leadership of YU President Rabbi Dr Ari Berman. This clip looks at the subject of educational opportunities in the 21st century.
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Religious Violence - Rabbi Sacks at The National Prayer Breakfast
Here is a video of my second of two keynote speeches delivered on Wednesday 1st February 2017 in Washington D.C. as part of the gathering around The National Prayer Breakfast. The topic for this address was how we can understand and confront the phenomenon of religious violence.
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The Great Partnership Religion and the Moral Sense
During his visit to New York in October 2011, the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks delivered the third in a series of lectures sponsored by the New York University's "Dialogues on the Global Civil Society". Entitled "The Great Partnership: Religion and the Moral Sense?", the lecture focussed on the extent to which a universal moral sense, capable of underpinning a global society, is either evolving or can be created. The Chief Rabbi explored the implications of a plurality of faiths and traditions in the world and how religious faiths can contribute to or stand in the way of global cooperation. The Chief Rabbi was introduced by John Sexton, President of New York University and The Right Honourable Gordon Brown MP, New York University's Inaugural Distinguished Global Leader in Residence and the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
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Science versus Religion - Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks BBC Rosh Hashanah Broadcast
Religion and science are frequently set up as polar opposites; incompatible ways of thinking. The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks begs to differ. For him, science and religion can, and should, work together. To mark Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, he puts his position to the test. He meets three non-believing scientists, each at the top of their field: neurologist Baroness Susan Greenfield, theoretical physicist Professor Jim Al-Khalili, and the person best known for leading the scientific attack on religion, Professor Richard Dawkins. Will the Chief Rabbi succeed in convincing the militant defender of atheism that science and religion need not be at war? First broadcast on BBC One on 12th September 2012.
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Rabbi Sacks talks to Imam Antepli
The day after our public conversation, I spoke with Imam Abdullah Antepli. In what was a remarkable exchange, the Imam showed a depth of humanity and humility rarely demonstrated by individuals in today's complicated world. I urge you to listen carefully to what he has to say and to share this important message as widely as possible.
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Desert Island Texts -- The Chief Rabbi's seven favourite verses in all the Bible
On Sunday 4th March 2012, the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks delivered the opening keynote address at the London School of Jewish Studies' Tanakh Day. Interviewed by Dr Rafi Zarum, the Chief Rabbi discussed his seven favourite verses in Tanakh, the reasons for his choice and the wider lessons that can be drawn from them. And because it was Desert Island Texts, the session also featured some examples of some of the Chief Rabbi's favourite musical pieces.
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Lessons in Leadership - Responses for the Harvard Business School's Executive Education Programme
Watch Rabbi Sacks answer a series of questions on what he has learnt from a life of leadership. These questions were posed to him by a student participating on the Harvard Business School's Executive Education Programme and made publicly available with their permission. In this video, Rabbi Sacks offer answers to the following questions: - What was the defining moment in your leadership journey? - What are your values, principles and boundaries? - How did you discover your strengths and passions? - How do you build an integrated life? - How do you build a team? - What difference have you sought to make in the world? - What have you learnt about leadership?
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Bridging the Divides: A Conversation about Judaism and Zionism in the 21st Century
Rabbi Lord Sacks and Yair Lapid, Chairman of the Yesh Atid party in the Israeli Knesset, had a rare public conversation about how to bridge some of the growing divides within the Jewish people – such as between religious and secular, Israel and the Diaspora – and the meaning of Jewish identity and Zionism in the 21st century. The conversation was moderated by Lord Jonathan Kestenbaum and a special opportunity to hear two diverse voices in world Jewry speaking about some of the most important issues/challenges facing Jews today. This event took place in London on 21st October 2015.
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"Be thankful for your children": Being an Inspiring Parent (Rule 12)
"Be thankful for your children": In this twelfth video on being an inspiring parent, I talk about the power of simply being thankful for your children and appreciating what a blessing it is to be able to bring new life into this world. To watch the other videos in this 13-part series on 'Being an Inspiring Parent', please visit /
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Trust & Trustworthiness Lecture - Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Cambridge 2013
In February 2013, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks gave a lecture on Trust & Trustworthiness, part of a series of lectures on Trust hosted by the Woolf Institute in Cambridge and the Cardinal Bea Centre at the Gregorian University in the Vatican. The Chief Rabbi was introduced by Lord Williams, Former Archbishop of Canterbury who also responded to the lecture.
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Rabbi Sacks on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel is dangerously wrong because beneath the surface it's an attempt to delegtimize Israel as a prelude to its elimination. No Jew and no humanitarian can stand by and see that happen. Let me explain why. (Learn more from Rabbi Sacks visit www.RabbiSacks.org. Video produced by www.WhiteAnimation.com.)
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Understanding Prayer: The Deepest Call (4/10)
Jews around the world are approaching the High Holy Days of the Jewish year - Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is the spiritual high moment of the Judaism and a time when we focus intensely on our prayers and how we want to live our lives, where we have succeeded and where we might have failed. As Jews prepare for the new Jewish year, join Rabbi Sacks in a series of ten short videos to learn what prayer really is and how it can change your life. This video focuses on the Shofar and how its sound is a prayer that goes deeper than words. You can read a transcript of this video at: credits: 'Keili Atah' performed by Shlomo Gronich & the Sheba Choir
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Rabbi Sacks on the Holocaust & importance of remembrance
Today is International Holocaust Memorial Day. The Holocaust did not define what it is to be a Jew. The Holocaust defined what it is to be human. Any assault on Jews becomes, very rapidly, an assault on our shared humanity. That is why we must continue to remember, not for the sake of the past, but for the sake of the future. #HMD2017 #HolocaustMemorialDay #NeverAgain #NeverForget
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Reflections on Balfour 100 from Rabbi Sacks
"Dear Lord Rothschild..." These three words helped to change the course of modern Jewish history and ultimately create the State of Israel. As we proudly approach the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on 2nd November, I have recorded a short video reflecting on what this declaration meant in 1917, and what it means for us today.
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Child development in the UK and national wellbeing - House of Lords Debate (11th October 2012)
My Lords, I thank the Noble Lord, the right reverend prelate the Bishop of Chester, for initiating this important and timely debate. Timely because we have heard much talk in recent weeks about the phrase "one nation." My Lords, in the space of half a century we have become two nations, divided into those who as children had, and those who have not had, the gift of growing up in stable, loving association with the two parents who brought them into being. Those who have not will, according to copious research, be disadvantaged in many ways. On average they will do less well at school. They will stand less chance of attending university. They will be less likely to find and keep a job. They will be less well off. They will be less likely to form stable relationships of their own. They will be more prone to depression and its syndromes. They may even be less healthy. And all this through no fault of their own but through the circumstances of their early childhood. The result is a deepening and dangerous social divide between two cultures, in one of which children are growing up without the support and presence of their natural fathers, and often without constructive male role models. They are at risk of being robbed of the habits of the heart -- the security and self confidence, the discipline and restraint -- that they will need safely to negotiate the challenges of an ever changing world. Too many of our children are being robbed of hope. The depth of this divide has been hidden from public attention by a perfectly honourable desire not to sound judgmental; not to condemn any freely chosen way of life; and not to add further to the immense burdens of being a single parent. My Lords, I respect those scruples. But we have seen in recent weeks how an equally honourable wish not to offend sensitivities allowed young girls in Rochdale to be ruthlessly exploited. There is a price to be paid for silence, and it is usually children who pay that price. My Lords, we canno
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2016 Templeton Prize Ceremony - presentation & speech by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
On Thursday 26th May 2016, Rabbi Sacks was awarded the 2016 Templeton Prize at a wonderful ceremony in London. Watch the presentation being made by Heather Templeton Dill, Lord Griffiths and Pina Templeton followed by Rabbi Sacks' keynote address on the dangers to the West of outsourcing morality. The ceremony also contained moving performances from The Shabbaton Choir accompanied by the children's choir from Sacks Morasha Jewish Primary School. You can watch the full ceremony here: g
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Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks speaks on the contributions of faith communities
In honour of Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Chief Rabbi introduced a debate in the House of Lords on the contribution of faith communities in Britain and the Commonwealth. In the debate he praised the role the Queen who "has guided and sustained this nation through one of its most challenging transitions, into a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-faith society" over the past 60 years. The Chief Rabbi acknowledged that whilst "it is not easy for any society to undergo change, least of all when that change touches on such fundamental markers of identity as religion, ethnicity and culture", Her Majesty The Queen was "one of those rare individuals whose greatness speaks across all ethnic and religious divides." Praising the growth of interfaith relations during Her Majesty's reign, the Chief Rabbi concluded his address saying: "We are enriched by our religious diversity. Each faith is a candle; none is diminished by the light of others; and together they help banish some of the darkness of the human heart."
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Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks speaks on interfaith dialogue in multicultural Britain
On Thursday 8th September, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks spoke in a debate in the House of Lords on improving interfaith dialogue in multicultural Britain. "My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Mitchell, for initiating this important and necessary debate. I go back to words said by an expert on the subject 2,600 years ago. His name was Jeremiah and he became known as a prophet of gloom. Were he to return to life today, doubtless he would be an economist. He was the first person to analyse the situation many find themselves in today of being a minority in a culture whose beliefs are not their own. Jeremiah wrote a letter to the Jewish exiles in Babylon in which he said: "Seek the welfare of the city to which you have gone and pray to God on its behalf, for in its peace and prosperity you will find peace and prosperity". He told them in effect: "Maintain your identity while contributing to the common good. Be true to your faith while being a blessing to others regardless of their faith". That is the challenge today. The good news about religion is that it creates communities based on altruism and trust. It teaches people to make sacrifices for the sake of others. It builds social capital. The bad news is that every community divides as it unites, because for every "us" there is a "them"-the people not like us. The best way to improve interfaith dialogue in multicultural Britain is to create a sense of national identity so strong that it brings different ethnic and religious communities together in pursuit of the common good-not just the good for "my" group, but the good for all of us together. A nation should respect its faiths, and faiths should respect the nation. That is the only way we will achieve integrated diversity and the dignity of difference, in which we see our differences as contributions that we bring to the common good. In yesterday's Times, Daniel Finkelstein wrote a moving tribute to his late father, who came to Britain as a Jewish refuge
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The first clash of civilisations (8 Thoughts for 8 Nights, Chanukah 5772) (4/8)
The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has recorded "8 Thoughts for 8 Nights" - a series of short videos for Chanukah 5772. One of the key phrases of our time is the clash of civilisations. And Chanukah is about one of the first great clashes of civilisation, between the Greeks and Jews of antiquity, Athens and Jerusalem. The ancient Greeks produced one of the most remarkable civilisations of all time: philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, historians like Herodotus and Thucydides, dramatists like Sophocles and Aeschylus. They produced art and architecture of a beauty that has never been surpassed. Yet in the second century before the common era they were defeated by the group of Jewish fighters known as the Maccabees, and from then on Greece as a world power went into rapid decline, while the tiny Jewish people survived every exile and persecution and are still alive and well today. What was the difference? The Greeks, who did not believe in a single, loving God, gave the world the concept of tragedy. We strive, we struggle, at times we achieve greatness, but life has no ultimate purpose. The universe neither knows nor cares that we are here. Ancient Israel gave the world the idea of hope. We are here because God created us in love, and through love we discover the meaning and purpose of life. Tragic cultures eventually disintegrate and die. Lacking any sense of ultimate meaning, they lose the moral beliefs and habits on which continuity depends. They sacrifice happiness for pleasure. They sell the future for the present. They lose the passion and energy that brought them greatness ion the first place. That's what happened to Ancient Greece. Judaism and its culture of hope survived, and the Chanukah lights are the symbol of that survival, of Judaism's refusal to jettison its values for the glamour and prestige of a secular culture, then or now. A candle of hope may seem a small thing, but on it the very survival of a civilisation may depend.
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Truth and translatability (Making Space, 2/3)
In February 2012, the Chief Rabbi was the Visiting Professor in Interfaith Studies at Oxford University. As part of this Humanitas Programme, the Chief Rabbi delivered a series of evening lectures on the subject of 'Making Space: A Jewish Theology of the Other'. This lecture - entitled "Truth and translatability" was the second of three lectures.
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CPS Conference on Security - Rabbi Sacks - Religion and Power
Rabbi Sacks on the important separation of religion and power. These comments were made at the Centre for Policy Studies' Margaret Thatcher Conference on Security which took in London on 27th June 2017. (Apologies for the poor sound quality.)
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"Give your children the space to give to you" - Being an Inspiring Parent (Rule 13)
"Give your children the space to give to you": In this thirteenth and final video on being an inspiring parent, I talk about how one of the ways we can all be inspiring parents is by creating time and space for our children to inspire us. To watch the other videos in this 13-part series on 'Being an Inspiring Parent', please visit /
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The face of the other: the curious nature of biblical narrative (Making Space, 3/3)
In February 2012, the Chief Rabbi was the Visiting Professor in Interfaith Studies at Oxford University. As part of this Humanitas Programme, the Chief Rabbi delivered a series of evening lectures on the subject of 'Making Space: A Jewish Theology of the Other'. This lecture - entitled "The face of the other: the curious nature of biblical narrative" was the third of three lectures.
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Torah in Motion 10th Anniversary with Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
When the Chief Rabbi was in Canada in November 2011, he took part in a public conversation to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Torah in Motion. Co-sponsored by the Shaarei Shomayim Congregation in Toronto, the title of the event was "Future Tense: Where Are Judaism and the Jewish People Headed?". Introduced by prominent Canadian politician, the Honourable Professor Irwin Cotler MP, and in conversation with Dr Elliott Malamet from Torah in Motion, the Chief Rabbi spoke about a range of topics including: faith, fighting antisemitism, Israel, Zionism, Jewish education, and what it means to be a Jew in the 21st century.
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Being an Inspiring Parenting - Trailer
Please join me as we look at some of the ways we can be inspiring parents and really kindle the flame in our children. Over the next few weeks, thirteen short videos will be uploaded here on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/rabbisacks) as well as on my website (www.rabbisacks.org), and I hope you will learn, as I did, from thinking about this. Please watch and share the trailer video below. The first video will be posted tomorrow. #InspiredParenting
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