Published in Jewish Chronicle 12th November 2010

When asked in 2006 how her life had changed as a result of her son Jonathan becoming the Chief Rabbi, Libby Sacks succinctly replied "Not one bit". Her simple response exemplified a lifelong quiet independence. She lived by her own values, devoting herself to her family, her community and to helping other people.

Given the name Louisa at birth but always known as Libby, she grew up in Stoke Newington, the youngest of the four children of Rachel and Elias Frumkin. Her parents managed the Frumkins' Wines shop, an institution of the Jewish East End. As a child, her health was delicate, and she almost died at age three from pneumonia, measles and diphtheria. At age eleven, she made up her mind to attend the Skinners Girls grammar school, irrespective of parental wishes. After matriculating she started work at the family wine shop.

When World War II began, she volunteered to work part-time in civil defence, and became the senior fire guard for her Stoke Newington area. She switched to full-time fire duties once the Germans started launching the V-1 flying bombs in 1944, and was awarded the Defence Medal for her service.

She married Louis Sacks in 1946, having previously declined a "shidduch" with Immanuel Jakobovits because she did not want to marry a rabbi. Her first son Jonathan was born in 1948, and sons Brian, Alan and Eliot were born at four year intervals thereafter. Having spent the early part of married life living with Libby's parents, the family moved to a new house in Finchley in 1950. Libby lived in this house for the rest of her life.

Louis was instrumental in developing the Finchley Central Federation Synagogue from the early nineteen fifties, and Libby immediately involved herself with its Ladies Guild. She served as Chair-person for two years until Louis became disenchanted with the synagogue, but expressed her independence from him by remaining active in the guild for more than fifty years.

Libby delivered 'Meals on Wheels' within the community for 35 years until the age of 80, and also made the local 'Jewish Women's Week' collection for the same period. She visited the Jewish patients at the Whittington Hospital in Highgate under the auspices of the Jewish Visitation Committee, again for more than 35 years.

Libby was a fine bridge player and loved word games, crosswords and Royal Family history and trivia. However she had no pretensions of being an intellectual and wished for her eldest son to write one book that she could understand.

Libby was never judgemental and never spoke badly of others. Comfortable in her own skin, she was modest and never sought external recognition. For these traits and others she will be greatly missed.

Libby Sacks is survived by her four sons, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.