Gordon Brown honours Lord Sacks’ ‘enduring relevance’ for post-Coronavirus world
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Gordon Brown honours Lord Sacks’ ‘enduring relevance’ for post-Coronavirus world

Former prime minister speaks at LSJS pre-Pesach event on the challenge of strengthening social justice and civic society featuring Gila Sacks and Stuart Roden

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown told more than 450 people that the late Rabbi Lord Sacks’ teachings have “enduring relevance” in healing society after Coronavirus.

Addressing the London School of Jewish Studies BIG Super Seder Day, he was joined by Lord Sacks’ daughter Gila and philanthropist Stuart Roden.

Reflecting on his illustrious career and contribution in numerous fields, Brown told the audience, Rabbi Sacks “taught me the importance of civic society, the limits of markets, the indispensability of a public morality”.

“This new century has been shaped by extraordinary upheavals.. but at all times, and throughout these crises, Jonathan was a powerful voice, explaining how learning from these events we can come together and change the world for good.

On tackling Covid, Brown bemoaned the lack of global co-operation, saying “it’s only when you stand back to reflect on the scale of the global disaster.. that you can begin to truly understand the colossal failure of us as an international community to work together in the last year to protect lives against this disease. 

“When there are so many global problems in need of global solutions, why can nation states not find a way to cooperate?”

Drawing on the teachings of Lord Sacks’, Brown said 2020 has “made us more aware of the benefits of contact and communication. We have discovered that we depend on each other more than we thought.”

“Jonathan’s book Morality tells us we have no choice but to manage globalisation well rather than badly, and do so by cooperating for the common good.”

The event, entitled, The Politics of Freedom – the challenge of strengthening social justice and civic society today and the influence of Rabbi Sacks, was chaired by LSJS Dean, Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum,

Thanking participants, who were all “very special people to my father”, Gila Sacks, who is director of public health reform at the Department of health, said she “could not think of many things which would have made him happier than the idea of the four of us talking Torah together”.

Roden recalled having many long walks with Rabbi Lord Sacks on Hampstead heath, reflecting on Sacks’ “massive multidisciplinary approach”. 

“He read about economics, philosophy, psychology, science, all the secular texts to help build a better insight into Torah and Jewish laws.”

Dean of LSJS Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum said “What Jewish ideas, texts, values, music and art could best help us prepare for Pesach this year? That question was at the heart of our Super Seder Day.” 

You can purchase the video from the LSJS shop: LSJS.ac.Uk

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