Letter: L'Chaim has no wish to compete at Oxford

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The Independent Online
Sir: I would like to thank you for your interest in the L'Chaim society ('Oxford's irresistible rabbi', 28 October). I would like to clarify, however, the relationship between L'Chaim and the Oxford Union. Notwithstanding the complete inability of an organisation such as L'Chaim (with a religious, cultural, moral and ethical role to play in Oxford) to compete with the mighty and world-famous Oxford Union, we have absolutely no desire to do so. By commenting that our sights are set on the union, I meant simply to highlight their political and educative part in Oxford life and how we have sought to emulate their ambitious and glorious programme. Both Prime Minister Rabin and former Prime Minister Shamir will speak this term at joint Oxford Union-L'Chaim events, and we would not have been able to welcome Mr Rabin here without the Union's support and interest.

I would like to comment once again on ambition and goodness - lest my role as a rabbi here be forgotten. We should all measure our greatness in terms of our service to humanity. Ambition contributes to our drive to reach our goals, some of which will afford us the luxury of being generous, and some of which lead us to put our friends, loved ones and community before ourselves. This was the meaning of my remarks that 'I do this job because I want to be a somebody.' I measure how much of a somebody I am by how I do for my fellow man.

Yours sincerely,

SHMUEL BOTEACH

L'Chaim Society

Oxford

29 Septmber

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