Communities in Conversation
An annual day of learning, in memory of Rabbi Sacks, to mark the anniversary of his passing.
4 November 2023 · 20 Marcheshvan 5784
“Judaism is the ongoing conversation of the Jewish people with itself, with Heaven, and with the world.” – Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt”l
Communities in Conversation is a global day of learning in memory of Rabbi Sacks, marking his yahrzeit, the anniversary of his passing.
Please join us in November to remember Rabbi Sacks’ impact on the Jewish world and beyond, learning and teaching his Torah.
The 2023 theme is “The Home We Build Together”, a concept that resonated deeply with Rabbi Sacks. Whether you choose to invite guest speakers, explore Rabbi Sacks’ teachings, or utilise our provided resources, communities, groups, and individuals are encouraged to plan events in their own unique way.
If you have any questions about getting involved, please contact Louise at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View a special message from Gila Sacks, Rabbi Sacks’ youngest daughter, recorded for the first Communities in Conversation in 2021:
Perhaps the most defining feature of my father’s life, one that I don’t think I fully appreciated until after he died, was that he learned, and learned, and continued to learn every single day, until his last. He learned from books, from text, from laws. He learned from history and from world events. But, mainly, he learned from people. He would seek out people to learn from, from every possible path of life. And he would seek out what he could learn from everyone he met.
And he would do this through conversation, through talking and listening. So for him, conversation was a defining and spiritual act, a way of opening ourselves up to something beyond ourselves, of being challenged, the only way we could really become more than we were before. A training, perhaps, for opening ourselves up to God.
In this coming week’s parsha, Chayei Sarah, we read that before meeting his future wife for the first time, vayeitse Yitzchak lsuach basader lifnot arev, “Yitzchak had gone out in the field before evening to meditate.”
The Talmud in Brachot commenting on the choice of the word lasuach, usually meaning ‘to talk’ or ‘to converse’, states ein sicha ela tefillah, “There is no conversation without prayer.” Or, as my father explains it, conversation is a form of prayer.
He writes on this parsha, “Conversation is a prayer, for in true conversation I open myself up to the reality of another person. I enter his or her world. I begin to see things from a perspective, not my own. A genuine human conversation is a preparation for and a microcosmic version of the act of prayer.”
Prayer, the prayer model by Yitzchak specifically, is not monologue, but dialogue. Prayer as sicha, conversation. So it is fitting that through this initiative, Communities in Conversation, all over the world, individuals, communities, and organisations will mark my father’s yahrzeit, not simply from learning from what he wrote, but through conversation, coming together, asking, challenging, listening, and learning from each other.
It means more than I can say to us, his family, that you were helping to carry forward his teaching in this beautiful way. He wrote of Moshe’s death at the end of the Torah, “We will not complete the journey. Therefore, we each must inspire others to continue what we began.”
Thank you for continuing the work my father began, and may the work he began be a blessing for all of us.
Registration will open soon to be part of this inspirational global initiative.
Download the official Communities in Conversation logo to utilise when promoting your community’s event or learning sessions around this year’s Yahrzeit.
May the soul of Rabbi Sacks be elevated in merit of the learning we will do in his memory.