Jonathan Sacks Quotes

- Notable Jonathan Sacks Quotes Index -

Born: March 8, 1948,
Birth Country:
Occupation: Politician

1.
A perfect storm is in the making: financial uncertainty, economic downturn, government cuts, rising unemployment and a future that looks less clear the more we try to fathom it.
- Jonathan Sacks

2.
A society in which there are high levels of voluntary activity will simply be a better, happier place than one where there are not.
- Jonathan Sacks

3.
A survey carried out across the U.S. between 2004 and 2006 showed that frequent church- or synagogue-goers are more likely to give money to charity.
- Jonathan Sacks

4.
Britain, relative to the U.S., is a highly secular society. Philanthropy alone cannot fill the gap left by government cutbacks. And the sources of altruism go deep into our evolutionary past.
- Jonathan Sacks

5.
Dreams are where we visit the many lands and landscapes of human possibility and discover the one where we feel at home. The great religious leaders were all dreamers.
- Jonathan Sacks

6.
Europe is dying. That is one of the unsayable truths of our time. We are undergoing the moral equivalent of climate change and no one is talking about it.
- Jonathan Sacks

7.
Focus on the mind and the soul. Read. Study. Enrol in a course of lectures. Pray. Become a member of a religious congregation. Study the Bible or other ancient works of wisdom.
- Jonathan Sacks

8.
Follow your passion. Nothing - not wealth, success, accolades or fame - is worth spending a lifetime doing things you don't enjoy.
- Jonathan Sacks

9.
Food prices are often kept artificially high. The result is that the Millennium Development Goals set out by the United Nations at the start of the new millennium are not being reached. Fine words have not yet been turned into deeds.
- Jonathan Sacks

10.
Freedom begins with what we teach our children. That is why Jews became a people whose passion is education, whose heroes are teachers and whose citadels are schools.
- Jonathan Sacks

11.
Freedom is not won by merely overthrowing a tyrannical ruler or an oppressive regime. That is usually only the prelude to a new tyranny, a new oppression.
- Jonathan Sacks

12.
Frequent worshippers are also significantly more active citizens. They are more likely to belong to community organizations, especially those concerned with young people, health, arts and leisure, neighborhood and civic groups and professional associations.
- Jonathan Sacks

13.
God's forgiveness allows us to be honest with ourselves. We recognize our imperfections, admit our failures, and plead to God for clemency.
- Jonathan Sacks

14.
Governments cannot make marriages or turn feckless individuals into responsible citizens. That needs another kind of change agent.
- Jonathan Sacks

15.
If the history of the Day of Atonement has anything to say to us now it is: never relieve individuals of moral responsibility. The more we have, the more we grow.
- Jonathan Sacks

16.
If we are to negotiate the coming years safely, we may need a new kind of leadership. To put it more precisely, we need the rediscovery of an ancient kind of leadership that has rarely been given the prominence it deserves. I mean the leader as teacher.
- Jonathan Sacks

17.
If you want a free society, teach your children what oppression tastes like. Tell them how many miracles it takes to get from here to there. Above all, encourage them to ask questions. Teach them to think for themselves.
- Jonathan Sacks

18.
In an ecology of love, people can relate in trust and face the future without fear. They do not need to play it safe. They can take uncertainty in their stride.
- Jonathan Sacks

19.
In the post-enlightenment Europe of the 19th century the highest authority was no longer the Church. Instead it was science. Thus was born racial anti-Semitism, based on two disciplines regarded as science in their day - the 'scientific study of race' and the Social Darwinism of Herbert Spencer and Ernst Haeckel.
- Jonathan Sacks

20.
In thinking about religion and society in the 21st century, we should broaden the conversation about faith from doctrinal debates to the larger question of how it might inspire us to strengthen the bonds of belonging that redeem us from our solitude, helping us to construct together a gracious and generous social order.
- Jonathan Sacks

21.
In virtually every Western society in the 1960s there was a moral revolution, an abandonment of its entire traditional ethic of self-restraint.
- Jonathan Sacks

22.
Jews have deep respect for the Queen and the royal family. We say a prayer for them every Sabbath in synagogue. We recite a special blessing on seeing the Queen.
- Jonathan Sacks

23.
Jews know this in their bones. Our community could not exist for a day without its volunteers. They are the lifeblood of our organizations, whether they involve welfare, youth, education, care of the sick and elderly, or even protection against violence and abuse.
- Jonathan Sacks

24.
Jews read the books of Moses not just as history but as divine command. The question to which they are an answer is not, 'What happened?' but rather, 'How then shall I live?' And it's only with the exodus that the life of the commands really begins.
- Jonathan Sacks

25.
Jews survived all the defeats, expulsions, persecutions and pogroms, the centuries in which they were regarded as a pariah people, even the Holocaust itself, because they never gave up the faith that one day they would be free to live as Jews without fear.
- Jonathan Sacks

26.
Make space in your life for the things that matter, for family and friends, love and generosity, fun and joy. Without this, you will burn out in mid-career and wonder where your life went.
- Jonathan Sacks

27.
Much can and must be done by governments, but they cannot of themselves change lives.
- Jonathan Sacks

28.
Part of the beauty of Judaism, and surely this is so for other faiths also, is that it gently restores control over time. Three times a day we stop what we are doing and turn to God in prayer. We recover perspective. We inhale a deep breath of eternity.
- Jonathan Sacks

29.
Religion creates community, community creates altruism and altruism turns us away from self and towards the common good... There is something about the tenor of relationships within a religious community that makes it the best tutorial in citizenship and good neighborliness.
- Jonathan Sacks

30.
Religion is the best antidote to the individualism of the consumer age. The idea that society can do without it flies in the face of history and, now, evolutionary biology.
- Jonathan Sacks

31.
Religion survives because it answers three questions that every reflective person must ask. Who am I? Why am I here? How then shall I live?
- Jonathan Sacks

32.
Religiosity turns out to be the best indicator of civic involvement: it's more accurate than education, age, income, gender or race.
- Jonathan Sacks

33.
Science will explain how but not why. It talks about what is, not what ought to be. Science is descriptive, not prescriptive it can tell us about causes but it cannot tell us about purposes. Indeed, science disavows purposes.
- Jonathan Sacks

34.
Since Hiroshima and the Holocaust, science no longer holds its pristine place as the highest moral authority. Instead, that role is taken by human rights. It follows that any assault on Jewish life - on Jews or Judaism or the Jewish state - must be cast in the language of human rights.
- Jonathan Sacks

35.
Since the 18th century, many Western intellectuals have predicted religion's imminent demise.
- Jonathan Sacks

36.
Some years ago there was a study to discover the most stressful occupation. It turned out not to be the head of a large business, football manager or prime minister, but rather: bus driver.
- Jonathan Sacks

37.
Stabilizing the euro is one thing, healing the culture that surrounds it is another. A world in which material values are everything and spiritual values nothing is neither a stable state nor a good society. The time has come for us to recover the Judeo-Christian ethic of human dignity in the image of God.
- Jonathan Sacks

38.
Technology gives us power, but it does not and cannot tell us how to use that power. Thanks to technology, we can instantly communicate across the world, but it still doesn't help us know what to say.
- Jonathan Sacks

39.
The faith religious believers have in God is small compared to the faith people put in politicians, knowing how many times they have been disappointed in the past but still insisting that this time it will be different.
- Jonathan Sacks

40.
The Jewish festival of freedom is the oldest continuously observed religious ritual in the world. Across the centuries, Passover has never lost its power to inspire the imagination of successive generations of Jews with its annually re-enacted drama of slavery and liberation.
- Jonathan Sacks

41.
The message of Passover remains as powerful as ever. Freedom is won not on the battlefield but in the classroom and the home. Teach your children the history of freedom if you want them never to lose it.
- Jonathan Sacks

42.
The people of Israel are entitled, as is any other nation, to live in peace and safety.
- Jonathan Sacks

43.
The royals - all of them, especially Prince Philip and Prince Charles - have done outstanding work with the faith communities.
- Jonathan Sacks

44.
The world we build tomorrow is born in the stories we tell our children today. Politics moves the pieces. Education changes the game.
- Jonathan Sacks

45.
There's always hope. You can lose everything else in the world, but Jews never lose hope.
- Jonathan Sacks

46.
To defend a country you need an army, but to defend a civilization you need education.
- Jonathan Sacks

47.
True freedom requires the rule of law and justice, and a judicial system in which the rights of some are not secured by the denial of rights to others.
- Jonathan Sacks

48.
We are biological creatures. We are born, we live, we die. There is no transcendent purpose to existence. At best we are creatures of reason, and by using reason we can cure ourselves of emotional excess. Purged of both hope and fear, we find courage in the face of helplessness, insignificance and uncertainty.
- Jonathan Sacks

49.
We believe that what we possess we don't ultimately own. God is merely entrusting it to us. And one of the conditions of that trust is that we share what we have with those who have less. So, if you don't give to people in need, you can hardly call yourself a Jew. Even the most unbelieving Jew knows that.
- Jonathan Sacks

50.
We do not always appreciate the role the Queen has played in one of the most significant changes in the past 60 years: the transformation of Britain into a multi-ethnic, multi-faith society. No one does interfaith better than the Royal family, and it starts with the Queen herself.
- Jonathan Sacks

51.
We from every religion feel comfortable in Britain because there is a host. The Church of England is a good host, it has been a major force in shaping England into such a tolerant society.
- Jonathan Sacks

52.
We need to rediscover the idea of the common good and work together to build a home.
- Jonathan Sacks

53.
What creates freedom? A revolution in the streets? Mass protest? Civil war? A change of government? The ousting of the old guard and its replacement by the new? History, more often than not, shows that hopes raised by such events are often dashed, sooner rather than later.
- Jonathan Sacks

54.
Which European leader today would not relish the wonder-working powers of a Moses? Budget deficit? Unpopular cuts? How about just a little miracle, an overnight increase in gold reserves, a new oil field, or the next world-changing communications technology? Surely that's not too much to ask.
- Jonathan Sacks

55.
While everyone else is thinking about economics and politics, executive salaries and the future of the euro, do the opposite, even if it's hard. Invest in the spirit.
- Jonathan Sacks

56.
While we can remember the past, we cannot write the future. Only our children, the future of our community, can do that.
- Jonathan Sacks

57.
Whole communities are growing up without fathers or male role models. Bringing up a family in the best of circumstances is not easy. To try to do it by placing the entire burden on women - 91% of single-parent families in Britain are headed by the mother, according to census data - is practically absurd and morally indefensible.
- Jonathan Sacks

58.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the holy of holies of Jewish time. It is that rarest of phenomena, a Jewish festival without food. Instead it is a day of fasting and prayer, introspection and self-judgment when, collectively and repeatedly, we confess our sins and pray to be written into God's Book of Life.
- Jonathan Sacks

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