A Worthy Tribute to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt”l

A Worthy Tribute to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt”l
17th July 2023 Moriah Aharon

Lady Elaine Sacks attends lecture by Hebrew University M.A. graduate Chananya Rothner

On the 5th of July 2023, the Bloomstein Hall at the Western Marble Synagogue in Central London, where Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt”l had served before his appointment to Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, was the fitting venue for an inspiring lecture attended by Lady Elaine Sacks and an audience of distinguished guests.

The event was opened by Rabbi Daniel Epstein with a fresh report on a retreat in Jerusalem of Rabbi Sacks Scholars from the US, Israel, Australia, Canada, the UK and South Africa. He was followed by a moving tribute by Dr. Harry (Yehiel) Sieratzki for his parents Heinrich (Yeheskel) and Barbara (Batya) Sieratzki z”l, both survivors who had rebuilt full lives after the Shoah and whose support for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is honoured on the University’s Wall of Life. He presented Lady Sacks with a beautifully bound copy of the M.A. Thesis of Chananya Rothner, the result of 2 years research dedicated to Rabbi Lord Sacks zt”l which began at the time of his passing in November 2020 and was supported by the Batya Sieratzki z”l Revivim Scholarship Fund.

Above left: Yeheskel and Batya Sieratzki z”l; Below left: Batya Sieratzki z”l with Revivim students Shira Doctorman, Meytal Blumenthal, and Dikla Hodefi; Above right: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt”l Below right: Chananya Rothner, Luba Selzer (nee Sieratzki), Lady Sacks, Dr. Harry Sieratzki

Chananya Rothner began his lecture by thanking Lady Sacks: “It is truly a privilege and a זכות to be able to honour the memory and legacy of Rabbi Sacks Zichrono Livracha with you. It is a great honour, and a truly humbling experience to be standing and speaking where Rabbi Sacks once stood.” He went on to brilliantly present an inspiring lecture titled “Textual Innovation in Times of Crisis: Understanding Isaiah 13”, summarising the main findings of his research on Isaiah’s (Yeshayahu’s) Prophesies Against the Nations. Isaiah 13 is a composite of two prophecies. An original specific prophecy against Babylon was reinterpreted and transformed to a universal prophecy against the very entity of evil. This came as a result of the original prophecy not coming to fruition as hoped.

His lecture was extremely well received, a triumphal testimony to the exceptional quality of the young educators who graduate from the Revivim Teacher Training Program to become dedicated and inspiring teachers of Bible and Talmud, Jewish Culture, and related subjects in the non-religious Israel State School system. Revivim receives subsidies from the Israel Ministry of Education but depends on additional financial support from corporate and private donors such as the Batya Sieratzki z”l Revivim Scholarship Fund which so far has provided grants to 12 Revivim graduates.

For further information and how to support the Revivim Teacher Training Programme click here

To support the programme, including scholarships, please contact the British Friends office at 020 8349 5757 or email: friends@bfhu.org

For a copy of the lecture of Chananya Rothner click here