UK’s Prince Charles Leads Tributes to ‘Light Unto Nations’ Lord Jonathan Sacks at Memorial Service
The UK’s Prince Charles led tributes to late former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks during a virtual ceremony on Sunday to mark the 30 days, or shloshim, since Sacks’ death from cancer last month.
The 72-year-old heir to the British throne spoke warmly of Sacks at a memorial that featured contributions from numerous political, religious and academic leaders, including former UK Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Prince Charles recalled that he and Sacks “were exact contemporaries, born in the year of the foundation of the State of Israel  and, over many years, I had come to value his counsel immensely.”
“He was a trusted guide, an inspired teacher and a true and steadfast friend,” the prince added. “I shall miss him more than words can say.”
The prince said Sacks’ “sudden and unexpected death is an irreplaceable loss to the Jewish community, to this nation and to the world — but most of all to his family, to whom he was utterly devoted.”
Through his writings, sermons and broadcasts, “Rabbi Sacks touched the lives of countless people with his unfailing wisdom, with his profound sanity and with a moral conviction which, in a confused and confusing world, was all too rare,” the prince noted.
At the dinner to honor Lord Sacks on his retirement as chief rabbi, the prince remembered, “I said — deliberately misquoting Isaiah — that he was ‘a light unto this nation’ and said I hoped he would keep that light burning for many years to come.”
He continued: “That was only seven years ago. But, in the years that he was given to us, how brightly that light burned, how many lives were brightened, how many dark places were illuminated. He was, truly, or lagoyim, a light unto the nations.”
In his remarks, Blair recalled that he and Sacks “often used to discuss the Bible together.”
“He taught me how the wretched weakness of humanity is so clear when absent from God,” Blair said. “And when united with God, that extraordinary potential for human achievement.”
Brown told the gathering that Sacks had “combined the passion of a great teacher with the compassion of a great humanitarian.”
Other speakers at the event included the president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, the archbishop of Canterbury, Rev. Justin Welby, and the president of Yeshiva University in New York, Rabbi Ari Berman.