Another Way, Another Time: Religious Inclusivism and the Sacks Chief Rabbinate (Judaism and Jewish Life)

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9781936235100: Another Way, Another Time: Religious Inclusivism and the Sacks Chief Rabbinate (Judaism and Jewish Life)

British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks -- now Baron Sacks of Aldgate in the City of London -- launched his tenure of office in 1991 with the aim of an inclusivist Decade of Jewish Renewal. Within a few years, fulfilling his installation prediction that 'I will have failures, but I will try again, another way, another time,' he was attracting calls, from opponents and supporters, for his resignation and the abolition of his office. Reviewing Sacks' early writings and pronouncements on the theme of inclusivism, Another Way, Another Time demonstrates how, repeatedly, the Chief Rabbi said 'irreconcilable things to different audiences' and how, in the process, he induced his kingmaker and foremost patron, Lord (Stanley) Kalms, to declare of Anglo-Jewry: 'We are in a time warp, and fast becoming an irrelevance in terms of world Jewry.' Citing support from a variety of sources, this study contends that the Chief Rabbinate has indeed reached the end of the road and explores other paths to the leadership of a pluralistic -- and, ideally, inclusivist -- community.

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About the Author:

Now a freelance writer and editor, Meir Persoff edited the London Jewish Chronicle’s news, features, arts, Judaism, letters and obituaries sections during a distinguished 40-year career on the paper. He has written extensively on Jewish topics – notably Jewish art and Judaica – and served on the Jewish Book Council and as president of the Israel-Judaica Philatelic Society. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, he holds a London University MA (with distinction) in Hebrew and Jewish Studies, having specialised in modern Jewish history and the history of anti-Semitism, and earned his PhD from Middlesex University, London, for his research into the British Chief Rabbinate’s relationship with the non-Orthodox movements. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace for the Middlesex Commission Area in 2001.

Review:

‘'[Persoff] has been able to deploy his material against the background of an extensive knowledge of the inner world of British Jewry, gathered over a lifetime reporting and commenting upon it without fear and without favour. Another Way, Another Time will certainly not be the last word on Jonathan Sacks. But all who write on this subject hereafter will need to measure their efforts against the yardstick Dr Persoff has fashioned, and which he now sets before us.’' (Geoffrey Alderman, Michael Gross Professor of Politics and Contemporary History at the University of Buckingham)

"[Persoff's] indefatigable journalist's instinct and connections have served him well in what is undoubtedly the best-researched book on contemporary Anglo-Jewry." (Jewish Quarterly)

"Meir Persoff's 'Another Way, Another Time' is a devastating indictment of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks' 20-year tenure [as Chief Rabbi]. It illustrates in embarrassing detail the yawning gap between learning and erudition, which the incumbent has in spades, and wisdom and maturity, which he seems to be lacking to an even higher degree. But perhaps nobody could have done better, because the office itself has become obsolete. The book is replete with examples. On the one hand, the chief rabbi is trying to present Judaism as an open and inclusive faith calculated to make a good impression on the gentiles. On the other, he sees himself as an advocate of an Orthodoxy, the right-wing of which is determined to "out-frum" him. The radicalism that has come to dominate the Orthodox world has no room for alternatives in Judaism and no respect for other faiths. By now, many of those who once supported him seem to realize that his office has become irrelevant. Some may even wish that he'd retire now as a first step towards abolishing the Victorian institution (which the British mandate bequeathed to the yishuv and from which Israel is now suffering). This may even help revitalize Anglo-Jewry, which the dwindling community badly needs and richly deserves." (Canadian Jewish News)

"There is probably no one better qualified than Persoff to write such a book, having been at the heart of communal matters in his career at the Jewish Chronicle for more than 40 years and, since his retirement to Israel, having the time to research archive material - and the knowledge of what to look for - not only in England but in America as well. He set out with the aim of proving that the Chief Rabbinate will not - indeed should not - survive. Personally, I hope he is wrong because, among other things, it brings prestige to Anglo-Jewry from the outside world. Having read the book, however, I am beginning to have doubts." (Hyam Corney Jerusalem Post)

"Another Way, Another Time" is the first full-scale study of the Sacks chief rabbinate, and the picture presented is devastating. With the aid of copious original sources such as newspapers, correspondence and interviews, British historian and veteran journalist Meir Persoff shows how Sacks's top priority has been staying in the good graces of the Haredi, or strictly Orthodox, faction, whose high birthrate has made it the fastest-growing component of British Jewry. To achieve this, he has repeatedly acted to delegitimize the non-Orthodox movements - Reform, Liberal and Masorti - sometimes in ways personally insulting to their leaders. He has even gone so far as to delegitimize himself, withdrawing the first edition of a book he published in 2002 that aroused Haredi complaints, and rewriting the offending passages before republication. Ironically, it is clear from the documentation that Persoff has gathered that the Orthodox circles Sacks strives to placate will never consider him Orthodox enough no matter what he does. Persoff makes his case that Sacks, by nature a thinker rather than a politician, made a poor career choice in seeking the chief rabbinate. But the book does not come to grips with the question of whether even someone far more politically adroit could have succeeded, given the structural constraints of the position that Persoff himself describes in detail. Simply put, a man who represents only the most moderate form of Orthodoxy - which used to be, but is no longer, professed by most British Jews - cannot also speak for the entire spectrum of the Jewish community, which today ranges religiously from far left to far right. In that sense Sacks may be an unfortunate victim of history. If so, the book's title is certainly apt: the position of Chief Rabbi was "another way" for "another time," but not for the religiously fractured present." (Forward)

"[The book’s] major achievement is to gather abundant primary source material, much of it taken from contemporary printed material (e.g. The Jewish Chronicle, Manna and other Jewish journals) and from archival collections at the London Metropolitan Archives and the Hartley Library at the University of Southampton. In addition, the author was given access to the private papers of Rabbis Immanuel Jakobovits, Louis Jacobs, and Sidney Brichto. . . . The sources presented by Persof . . . are balanced. . . . Persoff has provided abundant documentary evidence about how fraught with pitfalls the position is for a new Chief Rabbi today." (Marc Saperstein, King’s College London Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, Nov. 2013)

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Book Description Academic Studies Press. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 398 pages. Dimensions: 9.1in. x 6.1in. x 1.1in.British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks now Baron Sacks of Aldgate in the City of London launched his tenure of office in 1991 with the aim of an inclusivist Decade of Jewish Renewal. Within a few years, fulfilling his installation prediction that I will have failures, but I will try again, another way, another time, he was attracting calls, from opponents and supporters, for his resignation and the abolition of his office. Reviewing Sacks early writings and pronouncements on the theme of inclusivism, Another Way, Another Time demonstrates how, repeatedly, the Chief Rabbi said irreconcilable things to different audiences and how, in the process, he induced his kingmaker and foremost patron, Lord (Stanley) Kalms, to declare of Anglo-Jewry: We are in a time warp, and fast becoming an irrelevance in terms of world Jewry. Citing support from a variety of sources, this study contends that the Chief Rabbinate has indeed reached the end of the road and explores other paths to the leadership of a pluralistic and, ideally, inclusivist community. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9781936235100

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