London – Chief Rabbi Encourages Jews To Join Police Force

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has encouraged more Jewish men and women to join the police force.

He said British Jews should “be part of that protection force, for all of our society”.

Rabbi Mirvis made the comments on Wednesday at his annual conference for rabbis from around the country.

He was speaking following a briefing by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, who told the rabbis of the terror threat facing Britain.

Rabbi Mirvis said he would host a reception for the Jewish Police Association later this year. It is thought there are around 200 Jews in the Met.

The Chief Rabbi later blessed Sir Bernard, describing him as “a great friend of our people – we are indeed indebted to you for so much”.

Britain’s leading officer had told the 150 rabbis at Finchley Synagogue, north London, that the terror threat was “severe” and that it was understandable the Jewish community felt “vulnerable”.

Sir Bernard asked the rabbis to encourage congregants to report antisemitic attacks to the police.

“Antisemitism is not a normal thing, it is a bad thing. We do know people don’t tell us about everything. We do our best to encourage reporting,” he said.

Referring to Shomrim security group volunteers wearing police-style uniforms and driving cars with fluorescent markings, he added: “I have to be frank, I would like them not to look like police officers.

“We are having a discussion about that and I’m sure we will get to a positive resolution.”

The two-day conference saw Rabbi Mirvis pledge that by 2017 every barmitzvah boy would lead prayer services to celebrate the occasion, rather than only reading from the Torah.

The event also marked the apparent rekindling of the friendship between the Chief Rabbi and Rabbi Shraga Faivel Zimmerman, one of the most significant figures in Gateshead’s strictly Orthodox community.

Rabbi Zimmerman attended after being invited by Rabbi Mirvis, despite signing an open letter in 2013 which condemned participation in Limmud.

The letter was published after the Chief Rabbi’s decision to speak at the cross-communal conference.

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