The centuries’ old Prayer for the Royal Family is to be amended to included a special blessing for Britain’s Armed Forces, the Chief Rabbi has announced.
The historic addition – “May He bless and protect Her Majesty’s Armed Forces” – will be included in the prayer recited at UK and Commonwealth synagogues under Ephraim Mirvis’ auspices from this Shabbat – a day ahead of Remembrance Sunday.
The Chief Rabbi – who described the prayer as a “mark of deep respect and admiration as well as a sign of the Jewish community’s loyalty to Her Majesty” – said: “I believe that it is appropriate that we continuously ask the Almighty to bless and protect the brave servicemen and women who risk their lives in places of conflict in the name of Her Majesty and on behalf of us all.
“They courageously seek to preserve our peace and security and the freedoms we enjoy.”
While the community often recites prayers for the Armed Forces such as AJEX Shabbat and British Armed Forces Shabbat, the Chief Rabbi decided such a tribute should be part of the prayer for the Royal Family which is recited every Saturday and on festivals. The Chief Rabbi has also urged his Rabbinate to reflect with their communities on the role played by the Armed Forces, for which 50,000 have served.
Lord Astor, the Government’s Defence Spokesperson in the Lords, said “This gesture is a fitting tribute to our Armed Forces who risk their lives to protect our interests and help keep every community in the UK safe.
“It is particularly poignant that this amendment to the Chief Rabbi’s Prayer will begin in the centenary year marking the outbreak of the First World War, in which more than 50,000 Jewish men and women bravely served their country.”
The Chairman of the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen Jeffrey Fox said: “This initiative of the Chief Rabbi is most welcome & appreciated. The significant contribution made by Jewish men and women in service to the Sovereign, for over three centuries, is often unrecognised. The Chief Rabbi’s words will make sure it is never forgotten.”