Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Jew of the Week: Jonathan Sacks

The Rabbi Baron

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Jonathan Henry Sacks (b. 1948) was born in London, England, and studied at some of London’s finest schools, earning a Ph.D in philosophy in 1981. In the same year, he received his orthodox rabbinic ordination from Jew’s College, the world’s oldest rabbinic seminary. He went on to become principal of that seminary, while also serving as a community rabbi. In 1991 he was appointed as the British Commonwealth’s Chief Rabbi. He remained in this role for 22 years until retiring last September. Over the years, he taught as a visiting professor at several universities. He also authored 25 books, among them award-winning bestsellers. He was a popular guest on BBC Radio and TV programs, and wrote a regular column for The Times. Sacks holds 16 honourary degrees, together with a number of international awards for his work in promoting social justice and religious liberty, scholarly achievement, leadership, and inspiring Jewish life around the world. In 2009, he was introduced to England’s House of Lords, and was granted the title “Baron”. He was invited to the wedding of Prince William and Kate as the representative of the Jewish community. The Prince of Wales described Sacks as a “light unto this nation… whose guidance on any given issue has never failed to be of practical value and deeply grounded in the kind of wisdom that is increasingly hard to come by.” Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown described him as “…the greatest scholar I know, the greatest philosopher, the greatest writer I know, one of the greatest thinkers in the world…” Sacks continues to teach as a professor at New York University, Yeshiva University, and King’s College London. He is also a vegetarian.

Words of the Week

“A good leader creates followers; a great leader creates leaders.”

“To defend a country you need an army, but to defend a civilization you need education.”

“Technology gives us power, but it does not and cannot tell us how to use that power. Thanks to technology, we can instantly communicate across the world, but it still doesn’t help us know what to say.”

– Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Jew of the Week: Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was born near Prague to Yiddish-speaking parents, the grandson of a shochet (kosher meat slaughterer). His Jewish education culminated with his bar mitzvah, after which he went to the prestigious Altstädter Deutsches Gymnasium. He enrolled to study chemistry in university, but quickly switched to law. After graduating, he worked for various insurance companies – a job that he despised, but which allowed him to make a living. The little time that he had off work he would spend writing. Kafka composed dozens of stories, novels (most of them unfinished), essays, letters and diaries. Ninety percent of these he burned. In his will, he instructed his friend Max Brod to destroy the remainder of his writings. Brod ignored the request, and published them instead. Thus, Kafka was virtually unknown in his own lifetime, but became hugely famous after his death. It is believed that there are still thousands of unpublished Kafka works. He is considered by many to be the greatest writer of the 20th century, and some of his writings have been ranked among the most influential of that century. He has inspired the adjective “kafkaesque”, and has an asteroid named after him. Besides writing, Kafka was an avid swimmer, hiker, and rower, studied alternative medicine, and was a vegetarian. After once seeing a Yiddish play, he immersed himself in Jewish study. In addition to Yiddish, Kafka spoke German, Czech, French, and studied both Hebrew and classical Greek. Towards the end of his life he intended to immigrate to Israel. This wish did not come to be, as Kafka succumbed to tuberculosis at a young age. His three sisters perished in the Holocaust. For what would be his 130th birthday today, he is honoured with a Google Doodle.


Words of the Week

Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
– Franz Kafka 

Jew of the Week: Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein – Genius

The “father of modern physics”, Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was born in Germany, lived in Italy, and received his higher education in Switzerland. In 1905, Einstein exploded onto the science scene with 4 revolutionary papers on the subjects of the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity, and mass/energy equivalence. By 1919 his research and theories were world-famous, with The Times reporting “Revolution in Science – New Theory of the Universe – Newtonian Ideas Overthrown”. He won the Nobel Prize two years later, for the photoelectric effect (not relativity!) In 1922, Einstein travelled the world, with a 12-day stop in Israel, during which he said “I consider this the greatest day of my life.” In 1933, he moved permanently to the US due to the Nazi rise to power. The Nazis raided his house, publicly burned his writings, and even put a bounty on his head worth $5000! Of them, he said, “I must confess that the degree of their brutality and cowardice came as something of a surprise.” Fearing the Nazis would develop an atomic bomb, Einstein penned a letter to President Roosevelt persuading him to start a nuclear weapon research program. Einstein would later call this the greatest mistake of his life – but a necessary one.

Einstein Predicts the Future...?

Einstein Predicts the Future…?

He spent the rest of his life researching, teaching and writing, based primarily at Princeton. He was a member of the NAACP and fought for civil rights in America. Becoming a vegetarian, Einstein believed mankind as a whole would benefit greatly by adopting such a diet. Three years before his death he was offered to be President of Israel, but was “saddened and ashamed” to decline, humbly admitting he would have no idea how to run a country. Einstein passed away while working on a speech for Israel’s 7th Independence Day. His brain was preserved to be studied, the rest of his body cremated and scattered. Receiving countless awards, Einstein would publish over 300 scientific works, and an additional 150 non-scientific ones. He revolutionized the fields of thermodynamics, light, quantum physics, energy, relativity, cosmology, statistics, motion and momentum, magnetization, refrigeration and a host of others. He was also a musician. So great is his legacy, that “Einstein” has become synonymous with “genius”.

Words of the Week

Einstein in 1947

Einstein in 1947

Gems from Albert Einstein:

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.