Britain’s Former Chief Rabbi Wins Templeton Prize Worth $1.5M

U.S.-based John Templeton Foundation has awarded Britain’s former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, the 2016 Templeton Prize, i.e. worth 1.1 million pounds, to praise his efforts to help steer young people away from the message of extremists by encouraging religions to connect with them. According to the foundation, 67-year-old Sacks delivered a crucial message of respect for all faiths and argued that recognising the values of each religion could counter violence and terrorism.

One of the world’s richest prizes, Templeton Prize, is awarded to an individual who has made “exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” In his comments, Mr Sacks stated that he was “absolutely knocked sideways” to have won, adding that “it just felt very thrilling and so my wife and I did a little dance together.” During an interview earlier this week, he explained that it was “not something we do that often, but it was lovely.” Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013, Sacks was the leading spokesman for British Jews wo revitalised Britain’s Jewish community.

In his comments, Sacks elucidated that “today the most powerful religious voices are coming from the extremes and I think that is terribly dangerous. They are speaking to young idealistic kids and turning them really into murderers and we can’t sit still and just let that happen,” adding that “I think religious leaders have to give the same power and passion to the forces of reconciliation, compassion, forgiveness, love, friendship across the boundaries between faiths.” He stressed that “we really need to connect young people to the sources of positive idealism and I am afraid those voices have tended to be screened out by what I see as quite a self-indulgent secular culture of the west right now.”

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