The Chief Rabbi has joined forces with 10 other British faith leaders in endorsing an initiative to bring communities from across the Commonwealth together.

The head of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth backed the ‘Big Lunches’ scheme, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury this week.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis said he is “delighted to send my very best wishes to all those ‘breaking bread’ with one another”, at events designed to celebrate Commonwealth links.

Explaining the importance of making a blessing over bread in Judaism, he said it “teaches us the powerful lesson.. If we take responsibility for investing the effort into growing the crops, processing them into ingredients and then taking the time to mix and bake them, only then will we be rewarded with the staple food for our physical sustenance”.

The lunches have so far received supportive messages from faith leaders including Ibrahim Mogra and Maulana Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, representing the Muslim community, Trupti Patel, President of the Hindu Forum of Britain, as well as Buddhist, Jain, Zoroastrian and Baha’I figures.

Although meetings have been taking place since 12 March, and will carry on until 22 April, Commonwealth Big Lunch in the UK events will happen this week, to coincide with the meeting of 53 Commonwealth heads of Government in London.

The religious backing follows royal support from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cornwall, who attended Commonwealth Big Lunch preparations last month.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis

Earlier this week, Luminaries from the Indian and Jewish communities attended a Commonwealth Big Lunch ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit in London.

The event – fuelled by a kosher Indian lunch – was organised by the Indian Jewish Association and the Commonwealth Jewish Council.

Those in attendance at the event, organised by IJA trustee Zaki Cooper, included those from worlds of business, politics, education and charity included Lords Monroe Palmer, Stuart Polak, Jitesh Gadhia as well as philanthropist Lloyd Dorfman and CB Patel, publisher of Asian Voice.

Mike Whine, founding trustee of IJA, said: “The Commonwealth Heads of State conference was a great opportunity for both organisations to demonstrate our admiration for the Commonwealth and our cooperation and friendship for each other.”

Lord Mendelsohn, president of the CJC, said: “The tradition of Big Lunches started with reaching out to neighbours so we are very pleased to participate in the Commonwealth meetings and celebrations by reaching out to the 53 nations and helping to bring people together and make connections.”

Lord John Mendelsohn, president of the Commonwealth Jewish Congress speaks at a Commonwealth Big Lunch
Credit: Marc Morris