Office of the Chief Rabbi

Chief Rabbi’s Annual Rabbinic Conference

This week more than 100 Rabbis from communities across the UK will gather in London for the Chief Rabbi’s Annual Conference. The conference, which takes place in the run up to Rosh Hashanah, provides an opportunity for Rabbis to prepare for the High-Holy Days. Traditionally the Chief Rabbi provides his Rabbis with sermon material for the upcoming festivals.

This year, as well as providing ‘Chomer le’drush’, sermon material relating to the upcoming festivals, the Chief Rabbi will use the annual gathering of Rabbis to address the key areas of communal engagement with Israel as well as the ongoing challenge of antisemitism. The Chief Rabbi believes these should be a focus for Rabbis in addressing their communities during the holiday period.

In his ongoing desire for Rabbis to be well informed and to speak about current challenges, the Chief Rabbi has invited top speakers to address the conference. The speakers include the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau, who will discuss Israel’s recent conflict with Gaza and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Minister for Faith, Eric Pickles MP, who will brief on the government’s commitment to tackling antisemitism. Israeli Ambassador, HE Daniel Taub, will also speak to the Rabbis. Together with his wife Valerie, the Chief Rabbi will host a dinner for the Rabbinate. The dinner address will be delivered by Col. Richard Kemp.

The idea of educating and equipping Rabbis has been key throughout the Chief Rabbi’s first year in office. Only a few months ago the Chief Rabbi led 50 Rabbis to Israel in order that they gain a deeper understanding of the wonders and complexities of modern day Israel.

“Knowledge is key” said Chief Rabbi Mirvis. “The better informed our Rabbis are, the better placed they are to lead our communities.”

The Chief Rabbi will tell his Rabbis:

“This has been a difficult and challenging summer for our community. Our responsibility as spiritual leaders is to be aware, to show understanding and to offer our communities guidance. We must be a symbol of hope”.

ShabbatUK

The Chief Rabbi has also designated prominent conference slots to discuss ShabbatUK, the Chief Rabbi’s nationwide Shabbat experience taking place over the weekend of 24/25 October. He is expected to call upon his Rabbis to

“lead from the front” and “use the beauty and power of Shabbat to build and inspire our communities”.

Centre for Rabbinic Excellence

The Chief Rabbi’s Centre for Rabbinic Excellence will also feature. Launched over the summer, to provide seed funding for community programming, the Chief Rabbi is determined that

“Rabbi’s will use the CRE as a vehicle to turn our synagogues from houses of prayer into power houses of social, cultural and educational activity”.

Dayan Gelley elevation celebrated

Uniquely this year, the conference will see presentations from both the newly appointed Rosh Beth Din of the London Beth Din, Dayan Menachem Gelley, following an address from the man he succeeds, Emeritus Rosh Beth Din, Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu, in recognition of the Chief Rabbi’s recent elevation of Dayan Gelley to this role.

The Chief Rabbi’s Annual Conference is another important vehicle for the Chief Rabbi to reach out, educate and inspire his Rabbinate, and in turn, the community. This follows a number of engagements in recent weeks where the Chief Rabbi met with student leaders, university Chaplains and grassroots activists.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is the 11th Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. Chief Rabbi Mirvis was installed on 1 September 2013 in an historic ceremony attended by HRH the Prince of Wales, the first time a member of the Royal Family has attended a service for the Installation of a Chief Rabbi.

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