Mirvis first UK chief rabbi to attend Limmud

Newly instated leader welcomes ‘opportunity to teach Torah to large numbers of people who want to learn’

UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (YouTube screenshot)
UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (YouTube screenshot)

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis will be the first sitting British chief rabbi to participate in a Limmud conference, his office said in a statement.

Mirvis, who was installed early this month as chief rabbi, will present at the conference being held Dec. 22-26 at the University of Warwick in Coventry.

“One of my primary functions is as teacher of the community,” Mirvis said in a statement. “I see Limmud as an opportunity to teach Torah to large numbers of people who want to learn.”

Some 2,500 participants are expected to participate in the lectures, workshops and debates on Jewish issues at Limmud Conference 2013.

By virtue of his position, Mirvis is officially the head of the Orthodox United Synagogue movement.

His predecessor as chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, was an early supporter of Limmud but did not attend any of the conferences due to pressure from the ultra-Orthodox sector, according to Haaretz.

The chief rabbi’s office said Mervis consulted on the issue of his attendance at Limmud with his rabbis along with the rabbinical judges of the London Bet Din and the leadership of the United Synagogue Movement.

The statement also said that Mirvis “will welcome any rabbi who chooses to attend Limmud but believes it is for each rabbi to decide on attendance for themselves and those decisions, whatever they may be, should be respected by all.”

Ultra-Orthodox judges dominate the London Bet Din , or rabbinical court, according to Haaretz.

In a statement released in response to the announcement that Mirvis would attend Limmud, the court’s judges said they “remain seriously concerned that the attendance of Orthodox rabbis at Limmud blurs the distinction between authentic Orthodox Judaism and non-Orthodox beliefs and practices,” Haaretz reported.

The statement added that the judges have “every confidence” and offer “every support” to Mirvis.

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