On November 3, Ottawa’s Jewish community will have a rare opportunity to hear from one of the world’s foremost Jewish leaders, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth.
Rabbi Mirvis took office September 2013 succeeding Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who called the accomplishments of the new chief rabbi “the stuff of legend.”
Rabbi Mirvis was born in South Africa and received his rabbinic ordination in Israel. In 1984, at age 28, he became chief rabbi of Ireland, a position he held for eight years. He then moved to London, England where he started the Kinloss Learning Centre, a community education program which other Jewish communities have since replicated, as well as the Morasha Jewish Primary School, of which he remains honorary principal.
As a strong proponent of interfaith dialogue, Rabbi Mirvis served as president of the Irish Council of Christians and Jews from 1985 to 1992. Following his move to London, he often engaged with church leaders, including meetings at Windsor Castle and Lambeth Palace. Prior to becoming chief rabbi, he was the first United Synagogue rabbi to host an imam, Mohammed Essam El-Din Fahim, in his synagogue, and organized a public service day on December 25 between his synagogue and the Finchley mosque.
Mizrachi Canada is organizing the official visit of Rabbi Mirvis to Canada, which will also include stops in Toronto and Montreal. While in Ottawa, Rabbi Mirvis will meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other officials.
Rabbi Mirvis will speak on the “Jewish Response to our New Divided World” at Congregation Machzikei Hadas on Thursday, November 3, 8 pm. A question-and-answer session will follow. The event is being chaired by Bram Bregman and Ron Prehogan.
“This is truly a historic occasion,” said Rabbi Idan Scher of Machzikei Hadas. “The office of the chief rabbi is one of the most respected religious positions in the world, and this is the first time in over 30 years that our community will have the great honour of hosting a public address by the chief rabbi.”
The event is open to the entire community and is free of charge. Visit www.cmhottawa.com for more information.