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Grapevine: Archive acquisition

The Rothschilds have come to the rescue yet again.

For more than 150 years, members of the Rothschild family have been contributing individually and collectively to the development of the country which for almost 76 years has been known as the State of Israel. Rothschild generosity helped to transfer the personal archive of the late Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who was widely recognized as one of the most remarkable thinkers and orators of our times.

Respected by Jews and non-Jews around the globe for his clear moral vision, Sacks had amassed an extraordinary archive, which arrived at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem in 50 large boxes, which, when digitized, will certainly add to the library’s prestige.

Sacks was chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years and was greatly admired by Jews and non-Jews in many parts of the globe.

A letter written by Sacks just before Passover 1998 relates to a period of disunity within the Jewish world.

“The Haggadah is not predicated on a simple concept of Jewish unity,” he wrote. “It presents to us a portrait of four children around the table. They are not the same. One is wise, one a rebel, one is simple, and one unable to ask. Their perspectives are different. Their voices are not in harmony. But they sit at the same table. They are members of the same family. They tell the same story.

“We are the people who carried with us the indelible recollection of centuries of suffering, not because we revel in it, not because we see ourselves as victims, but in order to remember that whatever else divides us, history unites us.”

Lady Elaine Sacks stated that her late husband had expressed great enthusiasm for the new National Library of Israel, which he had described as “the Home of the Book for the People of the Book.”

“It is fitting that his personal archive will be housed there,” she said.

The Rothschild branch that supported the acquisition of the archive was the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe.

What’s interesting is that although the Rothschild family has played a significant role in the development of Israel through its support of education (including pioneering educational television), culture, industry, healthcare, women’s rights, archaeology, and national buildings such as the Knesset and the Supreme Court, not all the Rothschilds were or are Zionists; some are not halachicly Jewish, and some are not Jewish at all.

Yet the Rothschild name is indelibly linked with Israel, and during emergencies when footing of the bill does not fit in with the national budget, it’s often a Rothschild who picks up the tab.

April 27th 2024


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