PODCAST: Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project

Tradition Online | April 15, 2021

Following his passing last November, TraditionOnline inaugurated The Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project, in tribute to R. Jonathan Sacks’ impact on the spiritual and intellectual life of our community, and examining aspects of his thought and teaching. Reading R. Sacks’ many books and listening to his lectures, one is not just impressed by his original insights and striking formulations, but also awed by his ability to integrate so many disparate sources. To read his work is to experience a well-guided tour of Matthew Arnold’s ideal of “the best that has been thought and said.” Throughout his writing, R. Sacks quotes broadly from Torah sources. Yet, he also reaches deeply into classical and contemporary writers on philosophy, history, politics, and society, including popular research in psychology, ethics, economics, and sociology.

In this episode TRADITION’s associate editor Rabbi Chaim Strauchler spoke with three of the series’ many authors. They discuss why R. Sacks read and quoted the books that he did and the role those works played in his leadership and philosophy. They look at some common themes emerging from the project and the optimistic view of humanity with which R. Sacks leaves us, his readers and disciples. Our guests for the episode are:

Rabbi Johnny Solomon is a teacher at Midreshet Lindenbaum and Matan, an editor at Mosaica Press, and an educational consultant. 

Dr. Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Jewish Studies of the University of Manchester, and at the London School of Jewish Studies.

Rabbi Dr. Raphael Zarum is the Dean of the London School of Jewish Studies.

TRADITION is grateful to the many authors who participated in the series, and to our partners at LSJS and at the Rabbi Sacks Legacy Trust.

Watch the Zoom video recording of the conversation here.

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