Chief Rabbi gets tested by pupils at Hertsmere primary school

Sir Ephraim Mirvis put up a mezuzah at the school


What Are the Chief Rabbi’s working hours? Does his voice ever get tired with all that praying out loud?

These were just two of the questions fired at Sir Ephraim Mirvis when he paid a visit to Hertsmere Jewish Primary School in Radlett on Monday.

After being entertained by the school’s choir, the Chief Rabbi was asked questions by several pupils during the special school assembly. Quizzed about whether his job was difficult, he said: “Yes, it is hard. If you are not in a job that is hard, then it is not challenging enough.”

Reassuring the children that his voice doesn’t get tired, Rabbi Mirvis went on to say that his work never stopped. “I’m very lucky because I have a job where it is left up to me what my working hours are. I work non-stop because,  ultimately, whatever we are doing, we should squeeze out of every moment of life every possible opportunity to make the best of it.”

Calling the school “tremendous”, he told pupils that seeing them “makes me feel proud”, adding: “We, as the Jewish people, will only have a strong future if our children grow up being loyal to our Jewish traditions.” 

After enjoying food in the school’s succah and visiting the youngest pupils in their classrooms, Rabbi Mirvis affixed a large mezuzah to the school’s entrance. 

Headteacher Rita Alak-Levi told the Chief Rabbi about plans to enlarge the school’s main hall, which is currently too small for all 417 pupils.

Head of Jewish studies Malki Kaye said the children had been “extremely excited” about the Chief Rabbi’s visit. “A lot of them had only ever seen him on screen, so to know that he was going to be in our building was amazing.”

Year two pupil Jacob Alter, aged six, said: “It was special because he is head of all the rabbis. I liked his voice because it sounded really nice.”

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