Chief Rabbi makes plea for weak and vulnerable

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The weak and the vulnerable in Britain must not be forgotten, the new Chief Rabbi has warned.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis spoke of his pride in the record of the British Jewish community in charitable giving as he was formally inducted as 11th Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the UK and the Commonwealth.

“I am privileged to become the spiritual head of a most wonderful and remarkable community which fully appreciates the value of giving, which is there not only for members of our community but there for those who require assistance throughout the country and so we need to be committed to one and all,” he said

Chief Rabbi Mirvis was speaking as he was formally inducted by his predecessor Lord Sacks at St John’s Wood Synagogue in north London in the post, widely viewed as figurehead for the British Jewish commmunity..

An audience of around 1,400 guests was present for the ceremony including the Prince of Wales, the first member of the royal family to attend an installation of the Chief Rabbi, and Labour leader Ed Miliband.

In his sermon, Chief Rabbi Mirvis repeated concerns about the rise of anti-semitism and spoke of his hope of a lasting peace between Israel and its neighbours.

“As I stand before you today hostility is rife in Syria and we are witnessing some terrible atrocities and also at this time Israel and the Palestinians are set on holding negotiations with an eye towards establishing a true and lasting peace,” he said.

“In years to come I would love people to look back on this day and associate it with the time when finally we were on the path to beating swords into ploughshares in Israel and throughout the Middle East.

“May Almighty God bless our leaders with the wisdom to make wise and responsible decisions through these days, weeks and months of challenge.”

Charles, who wore his own blue velvet Kippah, or skull cap, decorated with the Prince of Wales’ feathers, was guest of honour at the ceremony. He was applauded by guests after he was praised by Chief Rabbi Mirvis, who also congratulated him on the birth of his first grandchild.

“Your Royal Highness, your presence today is a great honour, not just an honour for me personally but an honour for our entire community,” Chief Rabbi Mirvis said. “It is a reflection of the passion you have to work with the faith communities in this country.

“It is an expression of your desire to bring unity and to promote all the good things that we stand for.”