Over 100 rabbis from across the UK gathered in London for the Chief Rabbi’s Annual Conference this week, to hear how they can encourage engagement with Israel and reassure their communities at a time of rising anti-Semitism.

Mervis conference

Mervis conference

In a letter to participants, Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged that the theme of the conference would likely revolve around security, following this summer’s Gaza offensive, which has inflamed passions across the country.

“I know that many in our Jewish communities are feeling anxious at this time,” the prime minister wrote. “As we reflect on events this summer, it is now more important than ever to say that there can never be any excuse for anti-Semitism.”

He added: “A Jewish friend once asked me whether it will always be safe for his children and grandchildren to live in Britain. The question to that question will always be ‘yes’.

I hope that in years to come that question will not even need to be asked.”

The conference, which takes place in the run-up to Rosh Hashanah, helps rabbis to prepare for the High-Holy Days, with the Chief Rabbi providing sermon material for the upcoming festivals.

“This year, the Chief Rabbi will use the gathering to address the key areas of communal engagement with Israel and the ongoing challenge of anti-Semitism,” said a spokesperson.

“He believes these should be a focus.”