Chief Rabbi 'disinvited' from major Talmud study event at Wembley Arena

His spokesperson decries 'the petty politics of a small minority' which 'distracts from what should be a wonderful celebration of Torah'


The Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis did not appear at a major event on Tuesday evening to celebrate the completion of the Day Yomi Talmud study programme, after it was indicated he was no longer welcome.

The Charedi blogger Ifyoutickleus reported that a "reliable source" had said Rabbi Mirvis was “disinvited” to the event at Wembley Arena, which is organised by Stamford Hill-based Agudath Yisroel.

A spokesman at the Office of the Chief Rabbi confirmed to the JC that is the case, saying: “How sad that the petty politics of a small minority should distract from what should be a wonderful celebration of Torah.”

There have rumours that some Charedi rabbis would boycott the event if the Chief Rabbi appeared or that some in the audience would stage a protest by walking out.

It is understood the Chief Rabbi was originally invited to have a seat on the dais along with other prominent rabbis but then told there would be no room for him on it.

His predecessor, Lord Sacks, previously attended a similar Daf Yomi event where he was seated on the platform of dignitaries.

In 2018, Rabbi Mirvis ruffled feathers among parts of the Orthodox right when he published a guide on the duty of care towards LGBT+ pupils in Orthodox schools.

In particular, his co-operation with the organisation that promotes LGBT+ inclusion in the Jewish community, KeshetUK, was seen as problematic – although the Charedi establishment avoided openly attacking him.

Charedi leaders have been trying to resist pressure from the Department for Education and Ofsted to talk about LGBT+ equality in schools.

Senior figures from the London Beth Din stayed away from the event in solidarity with the Chief Rabbi. Some others also boycotted it.

Rabbi Michael Pollak, who taught a daf yomi class at the independent Orthodox Ner Israel Synagogue in Hendon, said: “Seven years of absorbing Torah ideals culminated yesterday in a celebration of the abandonment of the most precious of those ideals – respect for talmidei chachamim [Torah scholars].

"We could not be part of such a travesty. We stayed away, met up and learned together as we have every night for the last seven years. We heard the sound of the angels cheering.”

Daf Yomi, which involves the study of the entire Babylonian Talmud by learning a folio every day over the course of seven and a half years, was inaugurated by the Agudath Israel movement in Europe in 1923.

This week marks the completion of the 13th seven-and-a-half-year cycle of the programme, the first completed Daf Yomi cycle since Rabbi Mirvis became chief rabbi in September 2013.

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