The Power of Prayer
Sir Jonathan Sacks
Chair: Andrew Renton
George Webber Memorial Evening
Is Jewish prayer an eternal constant or does its role evolve in a contemporary world?
In a recent interview, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explained that “prayer was a conversation with the voice within that is also the voice beyond. In prayer books, three times a day, we remind ourselves that God lifts the fallen, heals the sick and asks us to do what He does and be His partner.”
The publication of the new Siddur with translation and commentary by the Chief Rabbi is a landmark moment in Anglo-Jewry. It could be seen to define the approach to prayer of a generation. Rabbi Sacks discussed the place of prayer today with Leon Wieseltier, whose celebrated book, Kaddish, is an exhaustive, deeply personal meditation on the obligations and meaning of daily prayer.
Sir Jonathan Sacks has been Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth since 1991. He has received honorary degrees from universities around the world and was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for his contribution to diaspora life. He is the author of more than fifteen books, most recently The Dignity of Difference and To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility. Rabbi Sacks was knighted in 2005.
Leon Wieseltier has been the literary editor of The New Republic since 1983. A graduate student in Jewish history at Harvard University, he also attended Columbia University and Oxford University. He is the author of Nuclear War Nuclear Peace, Against Identity, and Kaddish.
Andrew Renton is a writer and curator. He is Director of Curating at Goldsmiths, University of London.
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