Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Picture of Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Licensed under Creative Commons by Kristian Buus (Wikimedia Commons).

Rabbi Sacks, or 'the Rabbi' as he will be referred to in the rest of this resource, was born in London in 1948. His Hebrew name is Yaakov Zvi. Rabbi Sacks took up the mantle of Chief Rabbi in 1991 when he was the Principal of Jew’s College and Rabbi to both Golders Green and Marble Arch Synagogues.

Academic career

Rabbi Sacks has had an amazing academic career. He was educated at Cambridge University where he gained a first class Honours Degree in Philosophy, then continued his studies at Oxford University as well as King’s College London, eventually achieving a Doctorate in 1981. He also studied at Jew’s College (one the oldest Rabbinical Seminaries) and Yeshiva Etz Chaim, London, after which he was ordained into the Rabbinic Tradition.

The Rabbi has accumulated numerous honorary degrees including a Doctor of Divinity conferred by the Archbishop of Canterbury in commemoration of ten years as the Chief Rabbi. He has received the Jerusalem Prize 1995 for the work he has done in supporting Jewish Lifestyles in the Diaspora, and the Ladislaus Laszt Ecumenical and Social Concern Award from Ben Gurion University, Israel, 2011.

Baron Sacks of Aldergate

The Rabbi has also been awarded a knighthood and a life peerage from the Queen. He took up his position in the House of Lords in October 2009 and sits on the cross benches as Baron Sacks of Aldergate in the City of London.

His position has allowed him to talk on several public platforms including TV, radio and the national press. He frequently presents BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day as well as a regular column in the Times Credo column. He has also managed to arrange an annual broadcast on Rosh Hashanah on the BBC.

Out of all of these achievements it is not difficult to pinpoint times when he has shown witness to the beliefs that have sustained the Jewish faith community for centuries.


Image credit: National Poverty Hearing: Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks/cooperniall on Flickr

More from Education Scotland