The Chief Rabbi has urged a gathering of more than 100 Orthodox rabbis to include “every person” including gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer Jews, in a speech intended to set the tone for the year ahead.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’s comments were made at his Pre-Yamim Noraim Conference. It follows a year of after controversy surrounding Senior Sephardi Rabbi Joseph Dweck, who was criticised for saying “the entire revolution of feminism and homosexuality in our society is a fantastic development for humanity”.
In his speech ahead of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Mirvis said: “Every person is precious. Single parents, women, the unaffiliated, LGBT Jews – let no person feel they have no place in our shuls.”
In July, Mirvis said “the recent controversy about Rabbi Joseph Dweck’s teachings has brought the polarisation of Orthodox Jewry,” and lambasted those who were engaged in “poisonous invective, demonising other Jews”.
His speech at the Pre-Yamim Noraim Conference, which was preceded by an address from Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev, was held under the banner of “Every One Counts,” and is given to teach and inspire rabbis ahead of the High Holy Days.
Rabbanim heard presentations from Rabbi Josh Spinner, the chief executive of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, and Dr Jonathan Mirvis from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. They also took part in group discussions focusing on education, interfaith activity and social responsibility.
Following the conference, the Chief Rabbi 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.”