Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has said the “enduring memories” of the coronavirus period will be the acts of kindness it evoked.
He made the comments on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day on Friday morning, at the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, the theme of which is kindness.
The former Chief Rabbi said kindness was also the theme of the biblical book of Ruth, which is read by Jewish community members next week over the Jewish festival of Shavuot, Pentecost.
“One of the enduring memories of the coronavirus period will be the extraordinary acts of kindness it evoked, from friends, neighbours, and strangers, those who helped us, kept in touch with us, or simply smiled at us,” he said.
“When fate was cruel to us, we were kind to one another. Human goodness emerged when we needed it most. And Mental Health Awareness Week reminds us that some need it more than most.”
His comments echo those he made in a March interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis, in which he said “Bad events like the coronavirus certainly bring out the worst in us, but they also bring out the best.
“All across the country people are asking the elderly and vulnerable whether they can help, young people are delivering medicines to those in-need. It’s a little like the wartime spirit.”