The Prince of Wales is to attend the installation of the new Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis at St John’s Wood Synagogue on Sunday. It will the first time a royal presence has graced such an occasion, according to the Office of the Chief Rabbi.
Just two months ago, Prince Charles led the praise at a tribute dinner for Lord Sacks, who is retiring after 22 years in office.
The prince will be among the 1,400 guests on Sunday who will also include Opposition leader Ed Miliband and Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, as well leaders from across the Jewish spectrum.
Head boys and girls of Jewish schools will also take part in the ceremony where Lord Sacks will hand over the reins to his successor — the eighth Chief Rabbi since 1802 — whom he describes as “the right man in the right job at the right time”.
In the address he will deliver on Sunday, Rabbi Mirvis says his priorities will be to “focus on enhancing and strengthening Jewish education, building and developing our communities and realising fully our potential for social responsibility”.
British Jewry has “much to be proud of”, he says. “It is filled with passionate, learned and caring people who give generously of their time to create stronger communities and a better society. I know that, together, we will be able to take this contribution to even greater heights.”
He also looks forward to “building on the strong relationships we have with other faith communities in this country”.
Rabbi Mirvis, who will turn 57 at the end of next week, has already announced one plan to further his objectives — he is setting up a Centre for Rabbinical Excellence to fund initiatives by synagogue rabbis.