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Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis KBE

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Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis is only the 11th Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth since the office was introduced in 1704. He was installed on 1st September 2013 in an historic ceremony attended by His Majesty The King, then Prince of Wales, the first time that a member of the Royal Family has attended a service for the installation of a Chief Rabbi.

Background and Education

Born in 1956 into a Rabbinical family in South Africa, Chief Rabbi Mirvis studied at Herzlia High School, Cape Town (1968 – 73), Yeshivat Kerem BeYavneh (1973 – 76) and Yeshivat Har Etzion (1976 – 78). He received his Rabbinic ordination from Machon Ariel, Jerusalem (1978 – 80) and gained a BA in Education and Classical Hebrew from the University of South Africa. He also received a teaching qualification from the Yaacov Herzog Teachers College in Israel.

Communal Positions

Chief Rabbi Mirvis has held educational and community positions in Israel, Ireland and the UK. His first position was Rabbi of the Dublin Hebrew Congregation (1982 – 84). He was the Chief Rabbi of Ireland (1984 – 92), a position previously held by Lord Jakobovits, and Rabbi of the Western Marble Arch Synagogue in London (1992 – 96), a position previously held by Rabbi Lord Sacks z”l. Chief Rabbi Mirvis was appointed Senior Rabbi at Finchley United Synagogue (known as Kinloss) in 1996, a position which he held until becoming Chief Rabbi in 2013.

Before becoming Chief Rabbi he was the founding Rabbi and Honorary Principal of Morasha Jewish Primary School in Finchley, as well as founder and President of the Kinloss Community Kollel. Today, he is President of Mizrachi UK, Associate President of the Conference of European Rabbis and President of the London School of Jewish Studies.


Chief Rabbi Mirvis served as the President of the Irish Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) from 1985 to 1992. He has participated in dialogue with Church leaders in the UK at Windsor Castle and Lambeth Palace. He has given addresses at the Synod of the Church of England and the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

In 2016 the Chief Rabbi launched the successful ‘In Good Faith’ programme, in partnership with the Archbishop of Canterbury as a way of bringing Anglican and Jewish clergy together in order to encourage their congregations to collaborate on interfaith projects together.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis was the first United Synagogue rabbi to host an address by an imam, Dr. Mohammed Essam El-Din Fahim, in his synagogue and led a delegation of members of his community to the Finchley Mosque. In 2017, he became the first Chief Rabbi to host an ‘Iftar’ in his home for Muslim friends and the first to make an official visit to an Arab state when he attended the Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace in 2022.

Social Responsibility

The Chief Rabbi speaks often about the Jewish principle of ‘Achrayut’ – responsibility. This encompasses our responsibility to family, community, wider society, Israel and all of humanity. As Chairman of the Irish National Council for Soviet Jewry (1984 – 1992) he advocated for the freedom of Soviet Jewry.

In 2015, the first Chief Rabbi led a delegation of Rabbis to a refugee camp on the northern border of Greece and Macedonia. The trip succeeded in raising the profile in the Jewish community of the plight of refugees escaping from Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Eritrea.

In 2016, the Chief Rabbi launched the Ben Azzai Programme, which teaches a select group of the most talented Jewish Students from around the UK about how global issues such as the Climate Crisis, International Development, Global Public Health and the Refugee Crisis are informed by Jewish tradition. The students go on to become ambassadors for tackling these issues in their communities.

Other Areas of Interest

In 2012 Chief Rabbi Mirvis appointed the United Kingdom’s first female halachic adviser (Yo’etzet Halacha) at Finchley Synagogue and he has made expanding the roles of women in Jewish communities a priority since becoming Chief Rabbi. In 2016 he launched the ‘Ma’ayan’ programme, training women as advisers on Jewish law in the area of family purity and as high calibre adult educators. He has placed great emphasis on encouraging women to avail of more Jewish educational opportunities, with large scale learning events as well as smaller, more localised initiatives and courses.

The Chief Rabbi has a passion for music and has learned voice and chazanut (Jewish cantorial music) in Jerusalem. He is also a trained Shochet (expert on the religious slaughter of animals for food) and Mohel (circumcision practitioner).

In 2015 he was awarded the Freedom of the London Borough of Barnet and has received Honourary Doctorates from Touro College, New York, and Middlesex University.

In 2023, The Chief Rabbi received a Knighthood for his service to the Jewish community, Interfaith relations and education.


Chief Rabbi Mirvis is the son of the late Rabbi Dr Lionel and Freida Mirvis. His wife, Valerie, is the Lead for the Assessed & Supported Year of Employment Programme for newly qualified social workers in family services in the London Borough of Barnet. Chief Rabbi and Mrs Mirvis’s eldest child, Liora Graham, passed away in 2011, following a long battle with cancer. They have a son-in-law, Jonathan, together with his wife Batya, and four sons, Hillel and Melanie, Daniel and Althea, Noam and Tikva and Eitan and Ariella as well as seventeen grandchildren.