Jewish Chronicle and COLlive
1,400 guests packed the S. John’s Wood Synagogue in London on Sunday afternoon to celebrate the installation of Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis as England’s new Chief Rabbi.
The South-African born Mirvis is the 11th Chief Rabbi since 1704. He formerly served as Chief Rabbi of Ireland and was minister of one of the United Synagogue’s largest congregations, Finchley, for 17 years.
He was escorted in by the Prince Charles of Wales and the celebrated outgoing Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who has retired after 22 years in office.
Rabbi Mirvis said the 3 pillars of his chief rabbinate would be enhancing Jewish education, building and developing Jewish communities and encouraging social responsibility.
Strengthening values of friendship and communal togetherness was another important aim – he noted that the community had been damaged by “totally unnecessary in-fighting.”
The ceremony featured specially composed choral music and readings by Jewish schoolchildren. In attendance were Labour’s Jewish leader Ed Miliband, dozens of Chabad rabbis and representatives from across the community.
Chabad Rabbi Aaron Lipsey, vice-chair of the Rabbinical Council of the Provinces, was invited to read the prayer for the Royal Family.
In the crowd were Britain’s Head Shliach Rabbi Nachman Sudak and Rabbi Bentzi Sudak of Chabad UK, educator Rabbi Shmuel Lew, Rabbi Faivish Vogel, Rabbi Leivi Sudak of Lubavitch Edgware, Rabbi Pesach Efune of Lubavitch Brighton and others.
Captured live on the BBC broadcast was Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, the outspoken rabbi of the Mill Hill Synagogue and former chairman of the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue. He is a personal friend of Mirvis.
Lord Sacks, describing the Chief Rabbinate as “one of the great positions of rabbinic leadership”, told Rabbi Mirvis, “You are the right man in the right job at the right time.”