Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has praised a virtual interfaith book of remembrance launched today by St Paul’s Cathedral to commemorate victims of Covid-19 in the UK.
Rabbi Mirvis was among senior faith leaders hailing the Remember Me project, which has been supported by the businessman and philanthropist Sir Lloyd Dorfman.
Members of the public of all faiths and none can register for free the details of a loved one lost to the virus on the website Remember Me, including their name, photograph and a short tribute.
The online book is set to become a physical memorial at the cathedral, which has already approved designs, subject to funding.
Sir Lloyd, who has helped St Paul’s Cathedral lead the project backed by his foundation, said: “It is a privilege and an honour to be supporting this much needed interfaith initiative from St Paul’s Cathedral. It will enable family, friends and loved ones from every corner of the country to memorialise those who have so tragically passed away due to the effects of Covid-19.
“For all those we have lost, of all faiths and none, it is especially powerful coming from St Paul’s Cathedral for all that it symbolises historically. This ‘Remember Me’ campaign will ensure they are not forgotten.”
Rabbi Mirvis commended the memorial, saying it “provides a timely and meaningful outlet for that to begin to take place.”
He added: “I hope that this focal point for our collective grief also generates a measure of comfort for the loved ones of the deceased, enabling them to record their recollections for posterity. May the memories of those inscribed in this commemorative space be for a blessing.”
Other voices of support came from the Gompertz family, who drew coverage in this week’s Jewish News after setting up a Facebook group encouraging bereaved families to display a yellow heart in their window.
The family hailed the online memorial as “a fantastic way to continue the message the Yellow Hearts to Remember initiative was founded upon- that our relatives are not just numbers, but people, all of whom have families and friends who are grieving for them.”
“Anything that gives comfort to people at this difficult time is to be welcomed and we hope that this new online and physical memorial will provide families with an enduring place to remember and celebrate the lives of those we love and so sadly have died too soon,” they added.
Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales said in a pre-recorded video message the memorial “is here to help us remember; not just to recall our loss and sorrow, but also to be thankful for everything good that those we have loved brought into our lives, and all that they have given to others.”
To serve as an anthem for the memorial, the cathedral’s choristers recorded a special performance of Lift Thine Eyes composed by Felix Mendelssohn, who was a German Jewish convert to Christianity.