Two Australians were among a group of 26 Jewish educators and communal professionals who convened in Jerusalem last week for an immersive learning experience led by the Rabbi Sacks Legacy.
The four-day retreat served as the launching point for a year-long initiative to cultivate a network of Rabbi Sacks-inspired scholars. Following the retreat, participants will partake in 10 monthly online seminars led by global leaders in Jewish education, academia and politics.
During the introductory conference in Jerusalem, the scholars immersed themselves in discussions on the Torah and philosophical teachings of Rabbi Sacks, while exploring his unique approach to leadership that can be imparted to communities.
The sessions included moderated panel discussions, lectures and roundtable conversations held at landmark locations across the city, such as the Lord Sacks Forest, the Italian Synagogue, the Museum of Tolerance and HaMiffal arts centre.
Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton of Sydney’s the Great Synagogue and Simon Lawrence of the Carmel School in Perth made up the Australian contingent.
“The program was excellent in every respect, with outstanding presenters and meaningful conversations,” Rabbi Elton said.
“For me the highlight was the other participants, who came from Australia, the UK, North America and Israel, each one a leader in their field. They came from a wide range of areas, including community leadership, academic philosophy, education, the rabbinate and social work. Each person brought not only their skills, ideas and insights but also a profound humility and kindness.
“I think we all came away wanting to enhance Rabbi Sacks’ legacy in the way that each one of us is best able to contribute. I was very struck by the reiteration of Rabbi Sacks’ thought on community, leadership and responsibility which is so important to my work in Sydney.”
He added, “As part of my scholarship I am available to talk about Rabbi Sacks’ ideas in the Jewish community. If anyone is interested in that I am very happy to come and speak.”