2nd annual Sacks Convention
2nd annual Sacks ConventionKobi Gideon/GPO

President Isaac Herzog hosted the second annual Sacks Conversation, in memory of the late former British Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem today. During the event, the President held an open conversation about Rabbi Sacks’ values and legacy with Dr. Erica Brown, Director of Yeshiva University’s Sacks-Herenstein Center. The event was attended by the Sacks family, including the late rabbi’s widow Lady Elaine Sacks, and members of the Rabbi Sacks Legacy Trust board of governors.

Following Rabbi Sacks’ untimely passing in November 2020, the Sacks Conversation was established as an annual event in his memory. The inaugural conversation last year was held with former UK Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair.

“We will see Rabbi Sacks’ legacy growing from generation to generation. It will change the dialogue in the Jewish world,” said President Herzog. “The real impact that Rabbi Sacks had on me is with the weekly reading of the Torah portion. I say so because I keep on reading his books, and they are a fountain of strength, an unbelievable fountain of originality, of ideas, of understanding the content of the Bible, and of course with immense sources of wisdom, knowledge from all facets of humanity.”

Asked to share dreams and predictions about Israel in the twenty-first century, President Herzog said: “I truly believe that we should continue striving to great heights. For this we have to make sure that we stay together. We can definitely argue. Rabbi Sacks writes that Judaism encourages debate and argument... We should strive forward, together, and if we do that—we will reach great heights and we will move to become one of the greatest places on earth.”

During today’s event, major public figures including Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Supreme Court President Justice Esther Hayut, former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, former Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, and others paid tribute to Rabbi Sacks’ impact on them in recorded video messages. Israeli singer-songwriter Ehud Banai performed the songs “Canaanite Blues” and “Into the Light” in Rabbi Sacks’ memory in the Great Hall of the President’s Residence.

In November 2021, on the first anniversary of Rabbi Sacks’ passing, President Isaac Herzog presented his posthumous Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award to his widow, Lady Elaine Sacks, in a ceremony in London.