This past week, our world lost two important people. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l, Emeritus Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, passed away from cancer at age 72 on Saturday, November 7th. On Sunday, November 8th, notable Jeopardy host Alex Trebek z”l passed away from cancer at age 80. While both men had incredibly different lives, they each made important impacts in our world.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks was a champion of the Jewish people. He was known for his philosophical thinking, and extraordinary intellect. A skillful speaker and writer, Rabbi Sacks provided insight for Jews and non-Jews alike. Whether speaking about something simplistic, or delving deep into an intricate topic, Rabbi Sacks communicated with wisdom and grace. In fact, after he published the book Not in God’s Name, about people who start religious wars, we tried to get him to come to our community, but unfortunately, we were not able to secure him. However, I highly recommend this fascinating and scholarly book.
Also held in high regard for his intellect, Alex Trebek will forever be known as the host of the quintessential quiz show – Jeopardy. For 36 years, Alex became a part of families across the country, and he was always a part of mine. I watched the current Jeopardy throughout the years, as well as the original Jeopardy, hosted by Art Fleming. My favorite contestant was James Holzhauer, who made an already legendary show elevate to a pop culture phenomenon. But Alex was always at the heart of the show.
During each 30-minute episode, Alex created an atmosphere where families could connect, learn, and have fun. This isn’t surprising, as Alex was well known as a family man and hard worker. His commitment to his job was so strong that he filmed up until 10 days before his death.
Both Rabbi Sacks and Alex Trebek leave behind a legacy that will live on in the lives of those they have touched. Whether it be the person who developed a deeper connection to their Judaism through Rabbi Sacks’ teachings, or the person who learned to speak English as a child while watching Jeopardy, each gentleman left a lasting impact in our world.
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