Dec. 3, 2020

Jonathan Goldstein on Genesis 18 – “A Divine Interruption”

Mark is delighted to welcome Jonathan Goldstein to today’s episode. Jonathan is the Chief Executive and Founder of the private investment firm, ]([Cain International, the Chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, the umbrella body of British Jewry’s central organizations and charities, as well as the Chair of the Chief Rabbinate Trust. He has also served as Vice Chair of Jewish Care and Chair of Governors of Kerem School in Hampstead Garden Suburb, as Chair of Partnerships for Jewish Schools, and, with his wife, he is an inaugural Honorary President of Camp Simcha, a charity working to improve the quality of life of children suffering from life threatening illnesses. The passage he has chosen to discuss with Mark is Genesis 18.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Jonathan begins by offering his summary of the passage and then he and Mark engage in an extensive analysis of both this passage and others that share similarities with it. In so doing, they touch upon a number of topics such as divine experiences, determining the impact we can have upon the world and others, the primacy of helping others over prayer, and ensuring the continuity of the Jewish people. Jonathan also shares his perspective on the most important Jewish holidays, his advice for parents, his stand against Jeremy Corbyn, and the experience of British Jews. He concludes the episode with his thoughts on our biggest legacy, small acts of kindness, and the lessons about humankind which he has learned. So much of what is shared today by these two enthusiastic thinkers can be summed up in one of Jonathan’s final statements, “Stand up, be counted as a Jew, make your difference, engage with your heritage” – valuable advice and guidance inspired by this eternally relevant test.

Episode Highlights:

· His summary of the passage and its meaning for him · The purpose of a divine experience · Determining what impact we can make on the world and others · Committing to Judaism · The primacy of helping others over prayer · Ensuring the continuity of the Jewish people · Jonathan’s perspective on the most important Jewish holidays · Jonathan’s advice for parents · His stand against Jeremy Corbyn · Comparing the experiences of American Jews and British Jews · Our biggest legacy · Small acts of kindness · The lessons about humankind that Jonathan has learned


“It talks about a man of action. It talks about a man who understands his place in the world, and that he’s here to do something.”

“Okay God, if You could just hold on a minute, I’ve got some business to attend to. I’ve got some people that I need to look after.”

“Say a little, and do a lot.”

“There are many ways to approach God…you can get close to God and not be a Jew.”

“It is a miracle that we, as a Jewish people, have continued.”

“These are words and text that have huge relevance in our day-to-day lives.”

“Sometimes we forget our own heritage.”

“There are times in your life when you need to make a stand.”

“We live in a generation that’s been blessed.”

“We, as Jews, have never had it better.”

“You have to do the joyful things first.”

“It’s what we do in our own homes that’s our biggest legacy.”

“Our walls know us best, don’t they?”

“Have empathy for your fellow man or woman.”

“Keep yourself grounded.”

Genesis 18 -


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