The Power of Prayer

Jonathan Sacks, Leon Wieseltier

27/02/2007 2:00 pm

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.

Jonathan Sacks

Jonathan Sacks is a global religious leader and philosopher, sits in the House of Lords, and is the author of 25 books and the recipient of many international prizes. He is currently Professor of Judaic Thought at New York University and Professor of Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University. He is also Professor of Law, Ethics and the Bible at King’s College London. He served as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth between September 1991 and September 2013. Image c. Blake Ezra

Leon Wieseltier

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

Andrew Renton is director of the Marlborough Contemporary gallery and Professor of Curating at Goldsmith’s College, University of London.