Lord Sacks’ youngest daughter told mourners “no child could have wished for more”, in a heartfelt tribute at the former Chief Rabbi’s funeral on Sunday.
Gila Sacks, speaking on behalf of her siblings Joshua and Dina, paid her respects following the death of her much-loved father on Saturday, aged 72. She said: “I don’t know how I can process and sum up what kind of father my dad has been to us, or begin to know how to say thank you to him. That will take time.”
Discussing the relationship Rabbi Sacks had between his family life and his teachings, Gila said: “We used to joke that if you bumped into my dad in the kitchen, he’d probably want you to work out how to solve global antisemitism while the kettle boils. But he did, because why wouldn’t he? Problems are there to be solved. Everything he taught, he wrote, were mainly in the things he chatted to us about while the kettle boiled.”
Recalling a conversation she had with a colleague about whether coronavirus was solvable, Gila added: “I had a moment of clarity about what my dad had given me: that single belief that nothing was inevitable, that no problems were too big for people to try and solve. That things could always be changed and people could always change them: that belief shaped everything else.”
Finishing by reflecting on what she felt after her father passed away, Gila said: “I felt his love overwhelmingly, because that is what he gave us above all. He loved us so much.”
The funeral was held under Covid-compliant guidance with 30 people in attendance.
During the ceremony, eulogies, or ‘hespeds‘ were read by Rabbi Mordechai Ginsbury on behalf of Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who is isolating.
Other hespeds were delivered by Senior Rabbi of St John’s Wood synagogue Dayan Ivan Binstock, Rabbi Lionel Rosenfeld of Western Marble Arch Synagogue and Rabbi Dr Harvey Belovski from Golders Green Synagogue.
In a recent interview on Newsnight, Rabbi Sacks had said conducting funerals during the pandemic were “heart-breaking”, but everyone needs to understand that they have to be restricted and that “when this is all over we will remember, we will come together. This is not something that is going to last forever.”
Watch the full eulogy here:
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