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Remembrance 2014: AJEX March and new Armed Forces prayer

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The Chief Rabbi today honoured the last of his engagements related to Remembrance Day, attending the Association of Jewish Ex-Service Men and Women’s annual parade.

After meeting non-marchers outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Chief Rabbi took up his position as part of the officiating clergy beside the Cenotaph, having been there a week previously for the national memorial ceremony. The Chief Rabbi and Valerie Mirvis joined royalty and dignitaries in observing a two-minute silence, paying solemn tribute to the Armed Forces’ members felled on the battlefield as they fought to defend the United Kingdom’s right to peace, security and democracy.

Prior to the ceremony Chief Rabbi Mirvis announced an amendment to the Jewish community’s Prayer for the Royal Family, having incorporated a brief addition that acknowledged and praised the contribution of the Armed Forces. The line runs thus: “May He Bless and protect Her Majesty’s Armed Forces”, and marks what the Chief Rabbi called “an important and timely change.” Explaining the alteration in an Op-Ed for the Jewish News, he noted the respect that we already afford the Royal Family, reasoning that by extension we should be consistently reminding ourselves of the “the hard work, the high standards and the sacrifices of the Armed Services.” He echoed his considerations in a later recording for BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought show, which you can listen to here.