LSJS holds its first Rabbi Sacks Learning Fellowship Shabbaton
Rabbi Sacks zt”l devised a course over 40 years ago, with the aim of introducing the main themes and challenges of Jewish faith, practice, theology, and philosophy.
Using this as a springboard, the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS) has updated and re-imagined the course, designing a programme that navigates contemporary modern living through an honest engagement with Jewish thought, teachings, and wisdom.
Taking place at South Hampstead Synagogue, the eighteen ambitious young professionals who are participating in this LSJS programme inspired by the late Chief Rabbi gathered together for the inaugural Shabbaton on parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei, 17-18 March, a week in the Torah cycle where Rabbi Sacks famously taught about the importance of community and the value of coming together to do good. It is all the more fitting, then, that the Sacks Fellows travelled, variously, from London, Manchester, Sheffield, Baltimore (USA), and Israel for this first Shabbat together.
Highlights of the Shabbaton included a conversation between Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum, LSJS Rabbi Sacks Chair of Modern Jewish Thought, and Rabbi Sacks’ daughter, Gila Sacks, about Rabbi Sacks the scholar, the leader, and the father.
Rebbetzin Dr Lynndy Levin of South Hampstead Synagogue spoke about Rabbi Sacks’ legacy, and Rabbi Shlomo Levin taught the fellows the Chabad Niggun (song) that Rabbi Sacks requested as part of his ‘Desert Island Discs’ selection – including words that are, at his request, on his epitaph.
Michael Rainsbury, Head of Adult Education at LSJS, said:
“The rabbinic team and community of South Hampstead welcomed and inspired us, and forged an incredible bond with our fellows that made this Shabbat unforgettable for all involved. We are so grateful to our generous sponsor for enabling all this to happen”.
Matt Marks, a participating fellow, said:
“The social and spiritual dimensions of this incredible Shabbaton was the perfect complement to the rigorous study of Rabbi Sacks’ thought that we have delved into over the year.”
Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum was scholar-in-residence for Shabbat in the community and gave two keynote talks.
Joanne Greenaway, Chief Executive at LSJS, and also a Sacks Scholar, addressed the fellows on Shabbat afternoon. She said:
“The Sacks fellows are an exceptional bunch of bright young thinkers who have so much to offer the community. It was a real joy to have the opportunity to bring them to such as exemplary warm community for a Shabbat of learning and celebration.”