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Watch Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis' Installation, 1st September 2013

Below is a report and video of the full induction ceremony. If you would specifically like to watch Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis sermon, scroll the video along to the 49th minute. 

On 1st September 2013, our new Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales, was installed into office at a moving ceremony at St John’s Wood United Synagogue.

The service began with the Shabbaton Choir performing a beautiful new arrangement of the song Baruch Habah, whilst His Royal Highness, accompanied by Chief Rabbi Mirvis and Emeritus Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks entered and took their seats.

Dayan Ivan Binstock, Dayan of the London Beth Din and Rabbi of St John’s Wood United Synagogue, delivered a welcome speech, noting how fitting it was that Chief Rabbi Mirvis was being installed just before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, observing that Chief Rabbi Mirvis was born on Rosh Hashanah.

Emphasising the worldwide reach of the position of Chief Rabbi, three readings taken from the Book of Psalms were made by Dayan Menachem Gelley, senior Dayan of the London Beth Din, Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, Chief Rabbi of Moscow and President of the Conference of European Rabbi, and Rabbi Dovid Freilich, Senior Rabbi of Perth Hebrew Congregation and Immediate Past President of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australia.

The ceremony continued with the opening of the Ark by Rabbi Dr Lionel Mirvis, Chief Rabbi Mirvis’ father, and Dr Stanley Kaplan, Rebbetzen Valarie Mirvis’ father. The Torah scrolls were carried by Chief Rabbi Mirvis’ four sons, Hillel, Daniel, Noam and Eitan.

Rabbi Aaron Lipsey, Vice Chairman of the Rabbinical Council of the Provinces then read the Prayer for the Royal Family and Rabbi Baruch Davis, Chairman of the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue and Rabbi of Chigwell & Hainault United Synagogue read the Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel. Afterwards, Chief Rabbi Mirvis read his acceptance prayer before the Torah scrolls were returned to the Ark.

Readings were then delivered by Leora Robinson, Deputy Head Girl of JFS, Charlotte Smith, Head Girl of King David, Liverpool, Daniel Moses, Head Boy of Immanuel College, Hayden Pitch, Head Boy of King Solomon High School, Ellie Hyman, Head Girl of King David, Manchester and Jessica Franklin, Head Girl of Yavneh College.

Emeritus Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks gave his induction address, at the beginning of which he remarked that St John’s Wood’s proximity to the Abbey Road recording studios was most appropriate for the ceremony as, in the words of the Beatles song: “You say hello, and I say goodbye.”  Emeritus Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks also added that he knows Chief Rabbi Mirvis will serve the position "with distinction, wisdom and grace, as he has done throughout his rabbinic career until now.” He finished his induction address by noting that Chief Rabbi Mirvis’ initials are now C.R.E.M, and commented that he is assuredly ‘Crème de la crème’. Emeritus Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks then conducted the induction prayer after which, he embraced the new Chief Rabbi and escorted him to the Chief Rabbi’s seat.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis then delivered a passionate sermon. Speaking without notes for a little over half an hour he highlighted three “major pillars” for his Chief Rabbinate: enhancing Jewish education for one and all, building and developing great Jewish communities in the UK and throughout the Commonwealth, and acts of loving-kindness and social responsibility. He cited the Mishna in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) which speaks of the importance of the Torah, Avodah and Gemilut Chasadim which also lie at the heart of the United Synagogue’s work in Jewish Living, Learning and Caring.  He spoke about the importance of the Rabbis, his colleagues, who are there for everyone, enabling all to know that in Synagogue “you have a home away from home.” He emphasised that “great Rabbis will make great communities”. His sermon concluded with a reiteration that “The Torah is a tree of life for all those who grasp it,” and he called for everyone to "come with me" to work together with him to have a “thrilling and wonderful” future.

The ceremony concluded with the singing of the National Anthem, and Hatikvah – Israel’s National Anthem and Adon Olam.   

Click the slideshow below to view photos:

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