By Rabbi Arye D. Gordon.
Arriving in Los Angeles on Thursday February 20th, 2014, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of England, enjoyed a vibrant and educational weekend with the Beverly Hills – Los Angeles Community. Hosted by the Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy and Beth Jacob Congregation of Beverly Hills, Rav Sacks was welcomed on Thursday evening with a beautiful reception at Young Israel of North Beverly Hills
Rabbi Sacks was the 10th Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. A world-renowned scholar, philosopher, religious leader and author of more than 25 books, Rabbi Sacks served as Britain’s Chief Rabbi for 22 years from 1991 until 2013.
Rabbi Sacks presently holds a professorship at New York University (Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought) and Yeshiva University (Kressel and Ephrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought).
In regard to these appointments, Rabbi Sacks said, “I am excited at the opportunity to teach at Yeshiva University, one of the world’s great institutions of higher Jewish learning and at NYU, a university of global reach and distinction. This dual intellectual challenge is the perfect context to take forward the project of a Judaism engaged with the world in conversation with students in one of the major centers of Jewish life.”
The Former Chief Rabbi davened Kabalat Shabbat at Bnai David Judea and then attended a private dinner and Oneg Shabbat.
The Shabbat morning davening was followed by lunch at the Beth Jacob Congregation of Beverly Hills. After Shabbat Mincha at the Young Israel of Century City, Rabbi Sacks gave a lecture.
On Motzei Shabbat the community was invited to an evening of song with Rabbi Sacks and the Shabbaton Choir at the Mogen David Congregation.
On Sunday morning February 23rd, 2014, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, crossed the Beverly Hills border into Los Angeles and began his day davening at the minyan of Yeshivat Yavneh of Hancock Park.
After speaking with Parents of Yeshivat Yavneh, Rabbi Sacks returned to the Bais Medrash and addressed the large minyan of Yavneh students who had just completed davening. “Learn in this school what it is to be a Jew and then go out into the world and rejoice in your Judaism. Go out and be proud of your Jewishness and the world will respect you for it”. The children then gathered around Rabbi Sacks to shake his hand and receive a bracha from him.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks concluded his visit to Los Angeles by attending the Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy 65th Scholarship Banquet at the Universal Hilton Hotel. Shalom, Shalom, Lord Rabbi, until we meet again.