Jewish 100: Yisrael Meir Lau – Religion
Yisrael Meir Lau
Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv
Discovered as a child under corpses in Buchenwald, Rabbi Lau arrived in Haifa, Israel after the Holocaust and has been a leading Israeli rabbinical voice ever since. The 38th generation in an unbroken family chain of rabbis, Rabbi Lau served as Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1993-2003. A brilliant orator and powerful advocate for Jewish and universal moral causes, Rabbi Lau has been characterized as the “consensus rabbi,” respected internationally by Jews and non-Jews alike, and by diverse segments of the Jewish community, both secular and charedi, both Sephardic and Ashkenazic. His lengthy and lauded career in the rabbinate earned him the prestigious Israel Prize in 2005. The current Chairman of Yad Vashem, he recently met U.S. President Barack Obama and relayed the story of how his liberators at Buchenwald, where he was an inmate, had apologized for being “too late.” He implied that when it came to Iran it was advisable Obama not have to make the same apology.