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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 ACC/2805/08
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1988-1999
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 24.27 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Sacks | Jonathan Henry | Baron Sacks | b 1948 | Chief Rabbi


Administrative/Biographical history:

Jonathan Sacks succeeded Lord Jakobovits as Chief Rabbi on the first of September 1991 at the age of forty-three. He was born in London and educated at Cambridge, Oxford and London. He studied at the Yeshivat Tomhei Temimim in Israel and was ordained at Jews College, London. Sacks lectured in moral philosophy at Middlesex Polytechnic, and Talmud and Jewish philosophy at Jews' College where in 1982 he was the first incumbent of the Lord Jakobovits Chair in Modern Jewish Thought. In 1983 he was appointed Director of the Rabbinic Faculty there and in 1984 became Principal of the College. At the same time Sacks held successive rabbinic appointments at Golders Green Synagogue (1978-1982) and Marble Arch Synagogue (1983-1990). He also held academic appointments at London University and the University of Manchester and was Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the University of Essex. He was a member of the Central Religious Advisory Committee to the BBC and the IBA. In 1990 he gave the Reith Lectures.

Jonathan Sacks launched several initiatives early in his Chief Rabbinate and emphasised the need to reach out to Jews who felt in some ways neglected by the Jewish community; women, the young, people in small communities and in the provinces. He proclaimed a Decade of Renewal and in 1993 founded Jewish Continuity, a community-wide organisation aiming to invest in Jewish culture and education and in particular to encourage younger Jews to take interest in or further develop the study of their heritage. A Walkabout in Hyde Park was organised for the summer of 1992 and registered charities were invited to participate from both the orthodox and other sections of the community. An application was received from the Jewish Lesbian and Gay Helpline and the group was barred from taking part.

For the first time women were allowed to be full members of synagogue management boards and members of the United Synagogue Council. The Chief Rabbi set up a commission headed by Rosalind Preston, then a vice-president of the Board of Deputies. A report was published two years later. Certain advances were made. Sacks was criticised for not addressing some of the grievances.

In 1993 the Chief Rabbi's Awards for Excellence were introduced whereby ordinary people of merit throughout the country whose work had hitherto been unrecognised by the Jewish community at large received public awards.

The Chief Rabbi is a prolific author. His many books, articles, and papers have attracted wide attention. He is a gifted speaker and broadcaster. Like his predecessor, Lord Jakobovits, he is a prominent national figure and a much-noted publicist within and beyond the Jewish community.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, 1988-1999, including correspondence and publications predating Sacks' election as Chief Rabbi; correspondence; administrative files; papers relating to the United Synagogue; papers relating to organisations including the Jewish Memorial Council, the Jewish National Fund, the Joint Israel Appeal, the Zionist Association, the Jewish Marriage Council, and provincial organisations; correspondence relating to the patronage of the Chief Rabbi; papers relating to education including papers of the Jewish Educational Development Trust, correspondence with various schools and universities including the Jews' Free School, Immanuel College, Jews College, Anglo-Jewish Youth, and the Union of Jewish Students; correspondence with welfare organisations including Jewish Care and the Central Council for Jewish Community Services.

Papers relating to political issues including community relations, medical ethics, shechita [slaughtering practices], kosher foods, kashrut [food laws], women in the community, Soviet Jewry, circumcision, Middle East peace talks, anti-Semitism and racism, the Shoah and the Holocaust, business ethics and inner cities; papers relating to overseas congregations including Israel, United States of America, Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Europe and Russia; papers relating to the media including correspondence with journalists and broadcasters, copies of articles, interviews, press cuttings, addresses, speeches and lectures, broadcasts, and press statements; papers relating to interfaith organisations including the Council of Christians and Jews, and correspondence with Lambeth Palace, the Islamic community and the Vatican; papers relating to campaigns organised by the Chief Rabbi including the Community Walk for Charity, Jewish Continuity, the Initiative for Developing Education in Adults and the Chief Rabbinate Awards for Excellence; and newsletters from the office of the Chief Rabbi.

PLEASE NOTE: Records can only be accessed with the written permission of the depositor. Contact the Chief Executive, Office of Chief Rabbi, 735 High Road, North Finchley, London NW12 OUS.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Archives have been arranged into the following series, which reflect the order of the filing scheme used by the Chief Rabbi's staff.:
ACC/2805/08/01 Chief Rabbi Elect
ACC/2805/08/02 Day files
ACC/2805/08/03 Administration
ACC/2805/08/04 United Synagogue
ACC/2805/08/05 Organisations
ACC/2805/08/06 Individuals
ACC/2805/08/07 Education
ACC/2805/08/08 Welfare
ACC/2805/08/09 Political Issues
ACC/2805/08/10 Overseas
ACC/2805/08/11 Media
ACC/2805/08/12 Interfaith
ACC/2805/08/13 Campaigns
ACC/2805/08/14 Practical Rabbinics
ACC/2805/08/15 Newsletters and miscellaneous.

Conditions governing access:

Records with personal information concerning named individuals have been closed.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited as part of several accessions of material from the Office of the Chief Rabbi. Records from 1991-1996 were deposited at London Metropolitan Archives in September 1997.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Description prepared in March 2010.

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