On behalf of the European Commission, I would like to express our deepest condolence at the passing of Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks z’’l. Europe has lost an outstanding thinker, a charismatic leader and above all a mensch.
As philosopher and theologian, he enriched the debate in European institutions participating in the European Commission’s High-level dialogue with religious leaders. He was a bridge builder between cultures and faiths, focusing on communalities rather than differences, emphasizing the responsibility of the individual to contribute to society: “God has given us many languages, but only one world to live in. Rights come with responsibility.”
In an unforgettable speech at the European Parliament some four years ago, he warned that the “appearance of antisemitism in a culture is the first symptom of a disease, the early warning sign of a collective breakdown.” A Cassandra of modern times and a powerful orator, he urged the European Union to address the rise of antisemitism for the sake of the Jews, but above all for Europe. May his words continue be a driver to our action and his legacy of reconciliation be an inspiration to all. We will miss him.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and the Jewish communities.
May his memory be a blessing. ברוך דיין אמת
Katharina von Schnurbein, Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life
- Obituary (435 Kb)