Sacks throws rab­bis a credit crunch life­line

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - By Si­mon RockeR

The Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, is plan­ning a spe­cial sem­i­nar next month to equip rab­bis to deal with the im­pact of the fi­nan­cial cri­sis on their con­gre­gants.

its aim is to help them pro­vide pas­toral care, en­cour­age sup­port net­works and be aware of the sort of help avail­able, such as the em­ploy­ment Re­source Cen­tre.

he is also invit­ing some busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives to ad­vise rab­bis on how com­mu­ni­ties can help.

“i think it will be mat­ter of deal­ing with in­di­vid­u­als qui­etly and con­fi­den­tially,” he said. “i do think the Jewish com­mu­nity is at its best when we’re there as net­works of sup­port for peo­ple go­ing through dif­fi­cult times. “i felt rab­bis ought to have a range of ad­vice and know what ex­per­tise is avail­able.”

he said that a few weeks ago at the an­nual pre-high holy Day con­fer­ence for rab­bis, he had warned them that dif­fi­cult times lay ahead and that they should do what they could to lift peo­ple’s spir­its.

“We don’t know how the chips are go­ing to fall,” he said. “i was pick­ing up enough over Rosh hashanah to make me re­alise we had to set things in mo­tion now.

“We have quite a lot of peo­ple in their 20s and 30s who were work­ing in the big banks and fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and a num­ber have lost their jobs. Some of them had shares in the busi­ness when some of the banks went un­der. Some of our young peo­ple have suf­fered con­sid­er­ably.”

Rabbi Yitzchak Scho­chet, chair­man of the Rab­bini­cal Coun­cil of the United Syn­a­gogue, said: “The credit crunch is af­fect­ing many of our mem­bers right across the spec­trum, whether in terms of gen­eral fear or in­deed ac­tual re­dun­dan­cies.

“As a rab­binate we need to be on top of it — to gain per­spec­tive from leaders of in­dus­try and to be on hand to of­fer the prac­ti­cal sup­port where so re­quired.”

The Chief Rabbi took of­fice dur­ing the last re­ces­sion in 1991. One of his of­fice’s first ini­tia­tives, he re­called, had been to launch the Jewish As­so­ci­a­tion for Busi­ness ethics.

“They have a mar­ket and morals cur­ricu­lum which they of­fer to all schools in the coun­try,” he said.

“The phrase ‘mar­kets and morals’ has come into pub­lic dis­course in the past cou­ple of weeks. The Prime Min­is­ter used it in his UJiA speech and it’s go­ing to do the rounds. There has been a real prob­lem of over-reach and short-ter­mism.”

Bad news: Lehman Broth­ers staff leave Ca­nary Wharf last month

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