A global religious leader, philosopher, award-winning author and respected moral voice, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks was recently named the winner of the 2016 Templeton Prize in recognition of his “exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.” Described by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales as “a light unto this nation” and by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as “an intellectual giant”, Rabbi Sacks is a frequent and sought after contributor to radio, television and the press both in Britain and around the world.
Since stepping down as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth – a position he served for 22 years between 1991 and 2013 – Rabbi Sacks has held a number of professorships at several academic institutions including Yeshiva University and King’s College London. He currently serves as the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor at New York University. Rabbi Sacks has been awarded 17 honorary doctorates including a Doctor of Divinity conferred to mark his first ten years in office as Chief Rabbi, by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey.
The author of over 25 books, his work has addressed some of the most pressing questions of our time. His latest work Not in God’s Name (2015) confronts the thorny issue of violence committed in the name of religion. Extracted in The Wall Street Journal, it was awarded a 2015 National Jewish Book Award in America and was a top ten Sunday Times bestseller in the UK. Past works have included The Great Partnership (2013) which analyzed the relationship between religion and science, arguing that the two disciplines can and must live in coexistence, not competition. The Dignity of Difference (2002), published a year after 9/11, won the Grawemeyer Prize for Religion in 2004 for its success in defining a framework for effective interfaith dialogue between people of all faith and of none.
In recognition of his work, he has also received several international awards, including the Jerusalem Prize in 1995 for his contribution to diaspora Jewish life and The Ladislaus Laszt Ecumenical and Social Concern Award from Ben Gurion University in Israel in 2011. Rabbi Sacks was named as The Becket Fund’s 2014 Canterbury Medalist for his role in the defense of religious liberty in the public square. He was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 2005 and made a Life Peer, taking his seat in the House of Lords in October 2009.