Lord Sacks’ modesty and chesed stood out
Outpourings of grief and tributes have been paid after the loss of our beloved Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. For his outstanding contributions to the Jewish world and the world at large, as a leading voice on ethics and morality, as a scholar of unequalled depth and breadth of academia, an erudite orator and a giant among giants. However, I place greater emphasis on his exceptional personal character traits.
As his student at Jews’ College for six years and a family friend, the two personal qualities that stand out were his extreme modesty and chesed. He was self-effacing, yet made everyone feel a somebody, encouraging and inspiring us to reach our potential. Rabbi Jonathan rejoiced in everyone’s semachot and achievements, however insignificant. He knew the true meaning of chesed – unrequited love for a fellow being.
Flora Frank, Edgware
Care must come before costs
I note that Jewish Care is consulting on redundancies. I wonder how service users will be cared for, since modern technology has yet to devise a way of taking people to the lavatory or giving them showers or feeding them virtually. I may be mistaken and the carers may be remaining while excess office staff are shed. After all, the former category cost less in wages than the latter, and if the carers are not needed, then, logically, neither are their managers. However, making managers redundant would cost more than making carers redundant. Will costs take priority over care? Surely not.
Ruth Hart, Edgware
Stamford Hill not badly hit
In my letter to Jewish News of 15 October, I wrote that the 27,000-strong strictly-Orthodox community of Stamford Hill may have already achieved herd immunity due to their unwillingness to follow rules.
Despite this, they don’t seem to have suffered more deaths aside from the initial hit. My estimate, based on 10 percent of Jewish deaths, are as follows: 27 March to 30 April (one month) – 36 deaths. From
1 May to 3 Nov (six months) – 20 deaths.
Anthony Kerstein, Ilford
Trump did right by Israel
Criticise Donald Trump for many things if you will, but his attempts to right a number of wrongs against Israel should not just be belittled and dismissed in the face of political bias.
Trump should always be recognised as a true friend, as Israel seems to have no difficulty accumulating foes.
Stephen Vishnick, Tel Aviv
Corbyn and the underdogs
Palestinian Arabs are underdogs, therefore, as a leftie, Jeremy Corbyn always supports the underdog. This is despite the fact he is supporting, knowingly, a Palestinian agenda, which is right-wing and wants to destroy the Jewish homeland. A left-wing MP supporting a right-wing cause. How bizarre. What could the reason be?
Mike Abramov, by email
Tribute in verse
I’d like to share my poem about the late Lord Sacks:
You glided magnificently
Like an eagle of the first order,
Your brow so earnest
Lined up perfectly
With your stare,
Fixed on truth
Your eyes gleamed
Like precious gems,
And today and forever,
how we miss you
In graceful flight
James Martin, By email
Were condolence messages the best use of donations?
I was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Lord Sacks and read the many obituaries in both the Jewish and secular press. However, with the current economic difficulties of every charity and charitable organisation, was it really necessary for them all to spend so much on advertising their individual messages of condolence?
Every organisation with connections to Rabbi Sacks was affected by his loss, but surely the donors to these organisations would rather their money was spent more usefully.
Ruth Temerlies, By email
Hope lights our path during the long days of lockdown
Hope is essential for surviving existential threats such as Covid. As we approach Chanukah, we recall Rabbi Hugo Gryn’s moving account of how he and his father celebrated the festival in a concentration camp in 1944.
When his father lit a wick dipped in their precious meagre ration of melted margarine, Hugo protested: “We need food and can’t afford to waste it on a candle.” His father replied: “You and I have seen that it is possible to live up to three weeks without food. We once lived almost three days without water, but you can’t live at all without hope.”
Public announcements should highlight harsh health and economic realities, but always balance these with hope to light up our path.
Trevor Lyttleton, NW11
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