Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis Installed as New Chief Rabbi of Britain
Britain's Prime Minister has tweeted out greetings to Britain's new Chief Rabbi. In a message on his Prime Ministerial account (Number Ten), David Cameron wrote a message that read “"A warm welcome to new @chiefrabbi Mirvis,” welcoming Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis as Britain's new chief rabbi.
Cameron also thanked Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who is retiring from the position. In his message, the Prime Minister wrote “my thanks to Lord Sacks for special contribution he made to our whole country as #ChiefRabbi.”
Cameron could not make Rabbi Mirvis' inauguration Sunday, but among the 1,400 guests at St John's Wood synagogue in north London, but several other notables did, including Prince Charles – the first member of the royal family to attend an inauguration of the Chief Rabbi – Labour party leader Ed Miliband, who is Jewish, and the Metropolitan London Police Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe.
Speaking at the event, Rabbi Mirvis said that he had three goals for his time in office – increasing Jewish education, building and strengthening the Jewish community, and increasing “acts of loving kindness” among Jews. He also promised to respect different perspectives and ideologies within the Jewish community, saying that when that respect was present, we can produce beautiful and marvelous harmony for our entire society.”
He also praised the government for its efforts to fight anti-Semitism. “I'm proud of the fact that in our country the fight against anti-Semitism is being led by successive governments and parliament and that is because it is correctly recognized that a threat against the Jews is a threat against our society,” he said.
Rabbi Mirvis, born in 1956 in South Africa, is the former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, and was designated to take the post last December, after Rabbi Sacks, who also is in the House of Lords, announced that he would retire next year after 11 years in office. He was most recently rabbi at Finchley United synagogue.