Ephraim Mirvis became the first sitting British chief rabbi to address the annual Limmud conference, defying the opposition of prominent ultra-Orthodox rabbis in England.
Mirvis, who received a standing ovation Monday upon entering the packed auditorium at the University of Warwick, did not directly address the controversy in his session on this week’s Torah portion.
Referring to Moses’ talent in drawing together the Jewish people, he suggested that single strands are easier to break than a rope.
“We need to concentrate seriously on binding the Jewish people, rope-like, together,” Mirvis said.
The chief rabbi was to give a second session on Tuesday titled “A Torah guide to conflict resolution.”
The critics had said the conference, which draws thousands of participants from all walks of Jewish life, represented a danger to British Jewry because of its inclusion of non-Orthodox religious perspectives.
Mirvis told the audience of several hundred that he was moved by the acts of voluntarism he had witnessed.
“Here at Limmud, you can’t escape the fact that it’s great to be Jewish, and I’m delighted to be a part of this,” he said, smiling broadly.
full article at Haaretz – Sunday Dec 29, 2013