Martin van den Bergh
I have lost a role model
The passing of Rabbi Lord Sacks has deprived me of one three role models I have had in my life. I was privileged to see Rabbi Sacks as the man. Although I had little contact with him over the last few years, he still influenced me, like many others through his writings, addresses, and lately his presence on the social media stage.
My connection with Lord Sacks stretches back to before he became Chief Rabbi, firstly when I was editor of Hakshiva, and I invited him to respond to an attack on him by one of my contributors. He responded within 24 hours with a measured and beautiful piece. I then spent time with when when he was Chief Rabbi Elect and we both attended a European Council of Rabbis conference in Jerusalem. Our hotel rooms were next to each other and on our various trips we would I would sit next to him and he would outline his plans for his chief rabbinate. Then over the years I had a close contact with him and Lady Elaine. They stayed with us in our home on various occasions in London and Hong Kong. i was a member of his Rabbinis Cabinet and I represented Lord Sacks at various civil and government events, including meeting the Queen, and receptions at Downing Street.
In Lord Sacks I saw a man, not only of huge intellect and eruditeness, but a man of great sensitivity and humility. Many words have and will be written and said about this giant in the Jewish and non-Jewish world, and I have many words and thoughts, but above all my thoughts are with Elaine, his children, grandchildren and brothers. May he continue to be a blessing to them and indeed to all of us..