The 2023 Sacks Conversation took place at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Oct. 31, serving as a significant contribution to the ongoing dissemination and celebration of the teachings of the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. The event, titled “To Heal a Fractured World,” gained even greater relevance in the wake of the devastating terrorist attacks on Oct. 7 and the subsequent conflict.
Shari Redstone, chair of Paramount Global, delivered an emotional keynote, in which she revealed that due to the Hamas terror attacks, she felt compelled to rewrite her speech. She said: “We’ve been here before, we know where it leads, and we cannot be silent.”
She added that “Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, of blessed memory, loved to share an old Chassidic teaching that saw the Jewish people as a living Torah scroll with each person as one of its letters. For Rabbi Sacks, this offered a radical insight about human dignity. If a single letter in a scroll is damaged or missing, a Torah is considered invalid. If we ignore or dismiss a single person’s humanity, our collective humanity suffers.”
This sentiment was reiterated in an interfaith panel discussion featuring Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Imam Abdullah Antepli and Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik. These leaders from different faiths joined forces in condemning the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks and underscored the significance of mutual understanding.
Imam Abdullah Antepli said: “The world was fractured enough before October 7. But after the barbaric savagery and monstrous terrorism that has been committed in the name of Palestinian suffering or in the name of Islam, as a Muslim it cuts much deeper. For those of us who are Muslim, the least we can do is condemn in the clearest terms possible this barbaric savagery without ‘ands’ and ‘buts’ to make sure this is unacceptable. No values or scripture of Islam can justify this. I cannot even find the words to express how broken and shaken I am for what I have seen.”
Andrew Klaber, chair of the U.S. Board of the Rabbi Sacks Legacy, said: “In honoring Rabbi Sacks’ memory, we are called to conversation, to grow in understanding and to listen.”
The event closed with guidance from Gila Sacks, daughter of Rabbi Sacks, urging the gathering to keep hope and stand by their faith through action to make the world “a place of justice and compassion.”
The full event can be viewed at: www.rabbisacks.org/sacks-conversation.
About The Rabbi Sacks Legacy:
In the aftermath of Rabbi Sacks’ tragic and untimely passing on 7th November 2020, The Rabbi Sacks Legacy was established with a mission to promote the timeless and universal wisdom of Rabbi Sacks as a teacher of Torah, a moral voice, and a leader of leaders. The Legacy aims to inspire people across society to connect deeper to their faith and to make a meaningful and positive impact on the world. There is a huge amount to do and a remarkable legacy to perpetuate and grow.