In her capacity as constituency MP, Theresa May visited Maidenhead Synagogue to open its walkway through history — a stretch of paving stones with carvings taking the Jewish story from the patriarchs and matriarchs to the State of Israel.
The Prime Minister and husband Philip were taken on the history tour by Maidenhead’s Rabbi Jonathan Romain. After the ceremony, she stayed on to chat to some of the 320 guests. It was her first visit to the Reform-affiliated shul since becoming PM.
“This was arranged four or five months ago and we were worried a major crisis would prevent her attending,” Rabbi Romain told the JC.
“She looked very relaxed — pleased to have a break from Brexit and Trump. She’s very good at her constituency work. She’s quite a frum Christian. She takes her faith seriously so she takes other people’s faiths seriously.”
The walkway is seen as both a decorative addition and an educational tool.
As the biggest shul in Berkshire, involving around 2,000 people, Maidenhead was “inundated” with requests for visits from schools, youth organisations, Women’s Institute parties and other faith groups, Rabbi Romain said.
Eight volunteers were on call to give talks at its premises and the rabbi estimated that it welcomed several thousand visitors annually.
Other local clergy and school religious education teachers were among those at Sunday’s ceremony.