Bar-Ilan University to establish Institute honouring the legacy of Rabbi Sacks

January 24, 2023
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Bar-Ilan University has announced that it will establish an institute honouring and perpetuating the legacy of the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

The Jonathan Sacks Institute of Bar-Ilan University will have two core objectives: to ensure that Rabbi Sacks’ ideas receive the attention and recognition that they deserve within academia, through programmes and research, especially as they relate to contemporary moral, social and political challenges. In addition, the Institute will develop a diverse network of alumni with leadership potential who can make a practical impact on the future of Israeli, Jewish and world society, inspired and guided by Rabbi Sacks’ vision.

Bar-Ilan University President Prof. Arie Zaban, said:

“Rabbi Sacks was a member of our Board and a recipient of an honorary doctorate from the university, and at Bar-Ilan we strive to fully reflect his messages and values on our campus. We are proud to establish The Jonathan Sacks Institute, which will be housed in our political studies department, to ensure the multifaceted nature of Rabbi Sacks’ legacy, not only as a Jewish leader but also as a philosopher who speaks to the most vital social, political, and moral issues of our time.”

Prof. Jonathan Rynhold, who heads Bar-Ilan’s Department of Political Studies, will serve as the academic director of The Jonathan Sacks Institute. He said:

“Rabbi Sacks developed a body of thought grounded in the Jewish religious tradition that speaks to the most important contemporary social, political and moral issues for Jews and non-Jews alike. Rabbi Sacks was deeply concerned with the threat to a free democratic society posed by rampant individualism on the one hand and religious extremism on the other. He argued that our ability to overcome these challenges depends on a civic culture that engages in debate with mutual respect and a moral ecology that provides hope, and builds connections and trust between different communities. This message is both timely and timeless, and, as such, serves to underline the importance of ensuring his legacy in the canon of great Jewish and Western thinkers.”

Lady Elaine Sacks said:

“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.”