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Remembrance Day: the Chief Rabbi honors Her Majesty’s Armed Forces

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The Chief Rabbi and Valerie Mirvis joined prominent politicians, fellow faith leaders and a royal delegation in paying their respects to British Armed Forces members who lost their lives on the battlefield.

They attended the Remembrance Sunday service led by the Queen at the Cenotaph memorial, and observed a two-minute silence to reflect on the many sacrifices made by brave men and women to ensure the security of our nation. BBC Radio 4’s coverage of the event included the Chief Rabbi’s reflections of remembrance, which were recorded 5 months previously when he visited Bergen Belsen concentration camp. “In Jewish tradition remembrance has a double purpose: to remember the past in order to appreciate what took place and…to [inspire] action.” Acknowledging the horrors and mistakes of the past is crucial for preventing their reoccurrence, he said.

On Remembrance Day, Chief Rabbi Mirvis released a statement saluting the bravery of those defending peace and democracy, while commemorating the lives lost while doing so:

“Today, as we affix the red poppy to our lapels and bow our heads in memorial, we remember the courageous men and women who gave their lives in defence of freedom, in pursuit of harmony and the hope of a better future. We must honour their memory by safeguarding the values they fought to preserve – democracy, security and peace between nations. May their memories be for a blessing.”