Lord Jakobovits has been described by one commentator as Mrs Thatcher’s father confessor. A staunch defender of Victorian values and family life, he has propounded his views with a forthrightness and vigour which have often placed him at the centre of controversy and have given him national prominence.
And yet, if extremely conservative on some issues, he can be surprisingly liberal on others, and he is the only Orthodox rabbi of any eminence to have openly expressed his misgivings about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and to have called for territorial concessions in the West Bank and Gaza. He is in fact difficult to categorise, and this vividly written, authorised biography attempts to reconcile the apparent contradictions in his views. It also describes the man, his colourful, vivacious wife, the circumstances and convictions which have helped to shape him, and the communities who identities he has helped to guide. Though not uncritical, it adds up to a remarkable portrait of a remarkable man.