Sparks of Hope

light fragments sparks of sunlight

To be a Jew is to be an agent of hope. Every ritual, every command, every syllable of the Jewish story is a protest against escapism, resignation and the blind acceptance of fate.

Judaism, the religion of the free God, is a religion of freedom. Jewish faith is written in the future tense. It is belief in a future that is not yet but could be, if we heed God’s call, obey His will and act together as a covenantal community. The name of the Jewish future is hope.

In these challenging times for Israel and the Jewish people, Rabbi Sacks’ words emerge as sparks of hope, illuminating our path through the complexities of our times with insight, faith, and a profound understanding of the unbreakable Jewish spirit.

These quotes can be used to engage and inspire your students at the beginning of the day or the opening of a lesson. They provide an excellent foundation for group discussions about students’ thoughts, feelings and experiences at this testing time.

Educators worldwide have prepared short videos with further insights on each quote. These learning materials are suitable for upper primary schools, high schools, and youth groups.

"The Hebrew word for ‘crisis’ is mashber, which also means a birthing-stool. In Hebrew, crises are not just opportunities; they are birthpangs. Something new is being born.

That’s why Jews have survived every crisis in 4,000 years and emerged even stronger than they were before." - Rabbi Sacks

"Crisis forces us to make difficult but necessary decisions. It makes us ask, 'Who am I and what really matters to me?' It plunges us from the surface to the depths, where we discover strengths we didn’t know we had and a clarity of purpose we had previously lacked. So you have to say to every crisis, 'I will not let you go until you bless me.'" - Rabbi Sacks

"All of us are, in some sense, survivors. To be a Jew is to carry the burden of memory without letting it rob us of hope and faith in the possibility of a world at peace." - Rabbi Sacks

"It happened at the beginning of the Gulf War in January 1991... Perhaps the only time in history that a country has been under missile attack, and yet people have continued to travel there, seeking to make it their home." - Rabbi Sacks

"Jewish life cannot be sustained without Israel at its core. That was true for nineteen hundred years when there was no Jewish state. It is no less true now that the state exists." - Rabbi Sacks

"It was then [in 1967] that I knew that being Jewish was not something private and personal but something collective and historical. It meant being part of an extended family, many of whose members I did not know, but to whom I nonetheless felt connected by bonds of kinship and responsibility." - Rabbi Sacks

"Those who sought to destroy the people of the covenant gather dust in the museums of mankind while Am Yisrael Chai, the people of Israel live." - Rabbi Sacks

"This is the moment when the prayers of all Jews – like a single person with a single heart – are with the people of Israel in the land of Israel, the people and the land that gives us so much strength and pride." - Rabbi Sacks

"Despair is not a Jewish emotion. Od lo avda tikvateinu: our hope, we say, has never been destroyed." - Rabbi Sacks

"There is a Jewish way of telling the story of our situation... What happens is not chance but a chapter in the complex script of the covenant which leads, mysteriously but assuredly, to our redemption." - Rabbi Sacks

"Crisis in Jewish history has always led to renewal, not despair. So it must be now." - Rabbi Sacks

"Some people look down at Jews: they always have. In which case, we have to walk tall, so that, to see our face, they are forced to look up." - Rabbi Sacks

"In Israel, Jewish life is a community of fate. There Jews, from the most secular to the most pious, suffer equally from war and terror, and benefit equally from prosperity and peace." - Rabbi Sacks

"Hard times remind us of what good times tend to make us forget… That’s why hard times are the best times to plant the seeds of future happiness." - Rabbi Sacks

"What terrorists seek to destroy, we will continue to build: community, democracy, tolerance, respect for each other and for the sanctity of life." - Rabbi Sacks