(JTA) — Britain’s Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks was not criticizing Steve Jobs when he said the late co-founder of Apple created a selfish society based on consumerism, the rabbi’s office said.
In a clarification sent out Sunday, Sacks office said that "The Chief Rabbi meant no criticism of either Steve Jobs personally or the contribution Apple has made to the development of technology in the 21st century. He admires both and indeed uses an iPhone and an iPad on a daily basis. The Chief Rabbi was simply pointing out the potential dangers of consumerism when taken too far."
Last week, according to the Telegraph newspaper, Sacks said at an interfaith reception that "The consumer society was laid down by the late Steve Jobs coming down the mountain with two tablets, iPad one and iPad two, and the result is that we now have a culture of iPod, iPhone, iTune, i, i, i. When you’re an individualist, egocentric culture and you only care about ‘i’, you don’t do terribly well.”
Sacks told the 70th anniversary meeting of the Council of Christians and Jews that a "consumer ethic" makes people "aware all the time of the things you don’t have instead of thanking God for all the things you do have."
Sacks also called for cooperation between Christians and Jews, and said that "the answer to the consumer society is the world of faith."
He said the Jewish Sabbath counteracts the consumer society because it is a day on which you cannot shop and which you spend with family.
Jobs died of cancer on Oct. 5 at the age of 56.
Queen Elizabeth II attended the meeting, the Telegraph reported.