Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has introduced a new prayer for Holocaust survivors at a service led by survivors’ grandchildren in Hendon.
Mirvis’s prayer was composed by Bernard Pentol, 82, from Wembley United Synagogue, and translated into Hebrew by the Chief Rabbi. It will be read each week during the service at Jewish Care facilities.
The Chief Rabbi referred to Holocaust survivors as role models for the whole community who have “rebuilt their lives after the unspeakable horrors they experienced”.
He referred to the minyan as a “gem” and a “jewel in the crown of Jewish Care” and expressed his admiration of the younger generation for taking on the obligation of ensuring that there is always a minyan.
The minyan was organised by a Holocaust survivor 40 years ago for elderly residents in a Jewish Care home, moving to Holocaust Survivors’ Centre when the home was redeveloped into retirement apartments.
The minyan now serves as a focal point for honouring survivors past and present and is attended by survivors and the local community, many of whom find it difficult to walk to other shuls.
The service was led by the grandchildren of survivors, and the 80 congregants enjoyed a hot kiddush lunch with chulent and kugel after the service.
Shul chair Anthony Pack said: “I am so grateful to the Chief Rabbi and [his wife] Valerie for honouring us with their presence on Shabbat. The shul is a very special place where people from all generations come together. It is our hope that other shuls will also adopt the custom of reciting this special Survivors’ Prayer”.