CST’s Special Bond With Rabbi Sacks z”l

12 Nov 2020 by CST

The sad passing of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l has been marked by a huge outpouring of tributes and obituaries.

Rabbi Sacks’ intellectual and moral brilliance was obvious to everyone, but CST will best remember him by his generosity of spirit, his compassion and humanity. This is because we had a special personal bond with Rabbi Sacks that came from our being his bodyguards for 22 years.

One of our staff wrote to CST’s personnel, recalling his deep memories of protecting Rabbi Sacks throughout this time. Those memories say so much about Rabbi Sacks that we have decided to share them publicly:

For those that don't know, for five years I was one of only five full time Protection Officers to work for Lord Sacks during his 22 year tenure.

Working so closely with such an outstanding man was the greatest honour of my life and of my colleagues. For some just to hear him speak or be in his presence was often inspiring. Royalty, prime ministers and world leaders would often contact him for advice and
counsel, but for us to be with him day after day, year after year, often hours alone in the car together meant that a special relationship was formed. We shared the happiest and saddest of times together. The first call I received after both of my children were born was from him. However, I will never forget that on the saddest day of my life, it was Chief Rabbi Sacks together with Lady Sacks who attended my mum's levoya [funeral] and delivered the eulogy. As he said publicly, we became part of the family.

Many volunteers from his protection team received calls on simchas, yet he was also there to offer his condolences. Several members of the team had the honour of being married by the Chief Rabbi as it was his way of saying thanks.

Chief Rabbi Sacks had an overwhelming love for CST, its leadership, staff and in particular its volunteers. He loved the fact that CST volunteers came from all walks of life and would often refer to CST as the greatest shidduch
[match] maker in the Jewish community, something I can testify to myself. When arriving at events, shuls or schools he would often speak about the security team, normally mentioning how cold it was and how they must be freezing standing outside all the time. But he also understood why CST does what it does. He more than anyone understood the threat the community faces and never once took the work of CST for granted.

On Friday nights, we sing the traditional song Shalom Aleichem, the words of which include Malachei Ha-Shalom which speak about angels of peace. Chief Rabbi Sacks would often refer to this part of the Friday Night Kiddush, but add, today the angels come with earpieces and protective vests. This was the sort of person he was, able to bring the old and the new together in a way everyone was able to understand.

Last Shabbat the world lost a giant, CST lost its spiritual leader and together with so many others, I lost a friend. On behalf of everyone at CST, our thoughts and prayers are with Lady Sacks, his children Joshua, Dina and Gila, his brothers and the entire family.


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