British chief rabbi urges more inclusiveness for LGBTQ Jews
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'Let no person feel they have no place in our shuls'

British chief rabbi urges more inclusiveness for LGBTQ Jews

Ephraim Mirvis 'appalled' by outrage directed at London rabbi who hailed acceptance of gays

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis gives a speech as he attends a Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony at Central Hall Westminster, January 27, 2015. (AP/Chris Jackson)
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis gives a speech as he attends a Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony at Central Hall Westminster, January 27, 2015. (AP/Chris Jackson)

British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis called on a meeting of more than 100 Orthodox rabbis to be more inclusive toward the LGBTQ community.

On Tuesday, at his annual pre-High Holidays conference for the rabbinate, Mirvis called for extra concern for other special groups as well.

“Every person is precious. Single parents, women, the unaffiliated, LGBT Jews – let no person feel they have no place in our shuls,” Mirvis said at the conference, this year titled “Every One Counts.”

His remarks came on the heels of the controversy surrounding Rabbi Joseph Dweck, Britain’s top Sephardi rabbi, who was nearly pushed out of his position this summer following his comments welcoming the growing acceptance of homosexuality.

Dweck, who serves as senior rabbi at London’s S&P Sephardi Community, came under fire after saying at a July lecture that societal acceptance of homosexuality is a “fantastic development” because it opens the door to a more loving society.

"Every person is precious. Single parents, women, the unaffiliated, LGBT Jews: let no person feel that they have no…

Posted by Chief Rabbi Mirvis on otrdiena, 2017. gada 5. septembris

His remarks sparked outrage in the Orthodox world, with leaders from all over the world calling on him to be fired.

Rabbi Joseph Dweck. (Screen capture: YouTube)

In the wake of the controversy, Dweck apologized for some of his comments and agreed to step down from his position as a judge on a rabbinical court as well as to have his rulings vetted by senior colleagues. He was allowed to keep his job under a deal reached between Mirvis and senior rabbis from the London Beth Din.

Following the resolution of the controversy, Mirvis said he was “appalled” by the behavior of those who rejected Dweck’s teachings.

At the end of Tuesday’s conference, Mirvis said: “As rabbis, we have now a responsibility to carry the inspiration we have taken from the last two days and use it build ever more engaging and inclusive communities, which would be inclusive of every person,” the London-based Jewish Chronicle reported.

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