(Vatican Radio) Britain’s former Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, has been awarded the 2016 Templeton Prize for the spiritual insights he has brought to the public arena through the media, lectures and more than two dozen books.
During his time as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013, Sacks led what many consider to be the revitalization of Britain’s Jewish community, a feat he accomplished in the face of dwindling congregations and growing secularization across Europe. During his tenure he built up a network of organizations that introduced a Jewish focus in areas including business, women’s issues and education, urging British Jews to share the ethics of their faith with the community at large.
A statement from the Templeton Foundation said on Wednesday that central to Sacks’ message is the appreciation and respect of all faiths, stressing that recognizing the values of each is the only path to effectively combat the global rise of violence and terrorism. Rabbi Sacks welcomed Pope Benedict to an interfaith meeting at St Mary's University College in London in 2010 and was received by the German pontiff in the Vatican in December 2011.
The statement noted that Sacks also “boldly defends the compatibility of religion and science, and recognised the need for the “strengthening of ethics in the marketplace long before the financial crisis.”
The Templeton Prize, valued at over a million pounds, is given annually to an individual who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. Rabbi Sacks, who is married with three children and eight grandchildren, will receive the award at a public ceremony in London on May 26th.