James Martin and Jessica Elgot – JC
The House of Lords Appointments Commission has today recommended the appointment of Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks as a Life Peer.
He will sit as a cross-bencher.
Sir Jonathan Sacks said: “I am honoured by this appointment. I am proud to be following in the footsteps of my predecessor, Lord Jakobovits, who served in the House of Lords. I will be combining both my rabbinical responsibilities and the opportunities that membership of the House of Lords offer me to speak on issues that matter.
“The cross-benches of the House of Lords have a significance in providing objective, independent, considered thought to debate. The moral and faith voice needs to be heard in our national conversation and I look forward to taking part in ensuring that voice is heard.”
The Chief Rabbi’s Office was keen to make clear that the appointment was made by Lords Appointment Commission, an advisory body set up by the Prime Minister to make recommendations for non-party-political peerages, rather than by Gordon Brown, to whom the Chief Rabbi is particularly close.
Vivian Wineman, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews said: “On behalf of the Board of Deputies, I send warm congratulations to the Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks on this richly deserved honour.
“This is an honour for the community as a whole as well as a reflection of the Chief’s extraordinary talents. A towering figure both inside and outside the community, the Chief Rabbi is a role model in pure decency, offering unique intellectual insights and moral clarity as a great communicator.”
Andrew Balcombe, chairman of the Zionist Federation, said: “The Zionist Federation is absolutely delighted that one of our patrons, who is a real Zionist leader, has received this honour”
Simon Morris, Jewish Care’s Chief Executive said: “I’m delighted to hear the Chief Rabbi has been recommended to be a life peer. It validates the excellent work the Chief Rabbi has done to foster good relations with inter-faith communities.”