Revealed: the Chief Rabbi’s Limmud plan


Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis will make more than a token visit to the Limmud education conference, according to a draft schedule seen by the JC.

He will present two sessions on successive days at the cross-communal event, which starts in a fortnight at Warwick University.

His programme suggests he has been unfazed by the attack from former London Beth Din head Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu and other Charedi rabbis on his decision to be the first chief rabbi to go there.

According to the conference programme, “Ephraim Mirvis” — rabbinic and academic titles are eschewed by Limmud convention — will speak on “lessons for our time” from the Torah portion for that week and “the Torah guide to conflict resolution”.

At least eight other United Synagogue rabbis are also due to speak at the conference — significantly more than the solitary US rabbi who appeared last year. Several other Orthodox rabbis from the UK associated with education or student institutions are also going.

But one US rabbi said that the Charedi attack on Orthodox participation in the event had dissuaded some of his colleagues from attending. Some rabbis, he said, were worried whether their children would be able to attend strictly Orthodox schools if they went.

A varied Israel agenda includes one debate with a West Bank settler, former Israeli government spokesman Miri Eisen and a member of anti-occupation soldiers’ group Breaking the Silence.

The usual eclectic mix runs from scholarly lectures to a session on the Jewishness of Bugs Bunny.

But one potentially controversial speaker will be Marcus Weston, a director of the London branch of the celebrity-patronised Kabbalah Centre.

Orthodox Rabbi Alan Kimche last month said the “bogus mysticism” of the centre was one reason for his opposition to Limmud.

A Limmud spokesman, asked about Mr Weston, said it “welcomes presenters from across the world who bring a range of opinions, viewpoints and ideas”.

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