The Chief Rabbi visited Middlesex University in London this week, telling Jewish students and others about outward-facing Judaism.
Discussing the political divisions in the world, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis made the distinction between “drawbridge down” and “drawbridge up” ideologies, arguing that Jewish faith and culture encompasses both.
“We genuinely believe that we as a Jewish people cannot give a contribution of immense value to our society unless we are strong in our tradition,” he said. “In our Jewish tradition the particular and the universal co-exist. And one is there for the sake of the other.”
Mirvis used the opportunity to commend the work of Benjamin Perl, who was among the guests in the audience, and who has helped set up several Jewish schools in the UK, including Yavneh College.
The Chief Rabbi also spoke about his Ben Azzai programme to assist communities in developing countries, with the University’s J-Soc vice-president Devorah Roselaar having recently participated, visiting Ghana.
Middlesex University Vice-Chancellor Tim Blackman said: “I will be taking away the message that travelling to a more inclusive and tolerant society that we all want, we need to reflect on where we’re all coming from.”