Chief Rabbi fol­lows the foot­steps of prime min­is­ters and princes with a visit to Eton

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY CHAR­LOTTE OLIVER

IT IS one of the old­est and most tra­di­tional schools still stand­ing in the United King­dom, with an on-site Chris­tian chapel whose choir is as in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned as its list of aris­to­cratic alumni.

You would be for­given, then, for un­der­es­ti­mat­ing the Jewish pres­ence at Eton Col­lege in Wind­sor.

But last Sun­day, Eton’s Jewish con­tin­gent was out in force as the fa­mous school wel­comed Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis through its gates.

Rabbi Mirvis was in at­ten­dance along­side Univer­sity Jewish Chap­laincy as part of the school’s an­nual Faiths Fo­rum event. There, he told the school’s pupils and staff how Jewish teach­ings hold uni­ver­sal res­o­nance.

Ap­peal­ing to his au­di­ence of schoolb o y s , t h e Chief Rabbi used a rugby metaphor to e n c o u r a g e them “to be a mbi t i o u s by run­ning with the ball and not set­tle for medi­ocre re­sults”.

H e s a i d : “You must be brave and take risks cau­tiously. Above all, learn from your mis­takes.”

He then fielded ques­tions from an au­di­ence of more than 150 pupils of all

faiths, be­fore be­ing pre­sented with a copy of The Eton Col­lege Sid­dur by pupil Joseph Ri­gal, sec­re­tary of the school’s Jewish so­ci­ety.

Fol­low­ing his ad­dress, Eton head­teacher Si­mon Hen­der­son joined forces with Chap­laincy and Rabbi Mirvis to in­vite more than 20 of the school’s Jewish pupils and their par­ents to a kosher-catered re­cep­tion.

Over lunch, they heard from Uri Gold­berg, Chap­laincy chair­man, who ex­plained how the or­gan­i­sa­tion vis­its more than 500 Jewish pupils in non- Jewish schools ev­ery year. They also cel­e­brated the work of Eton’s Jewish Stud­ies teacher, Jonathan Paull.

It may be known for pro­duc­ing 19 Bri­tish prime min­is­ters, as well as ed­u­cat­ing nu­mer­ous mem­bers of the royal fam­ily, but lit­tle is men­tioned about

from pupil Joseph Ri­gal and

poses along­side head­teacher Si­mon Hen­der­son, Chap­laincy chair­man Uri Gold­berg and Eton Provost Lord

Wil­liam Walde­grave Eton’s re­li­giously di­verse stu­dent body. The school, which was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI, has run a Jewish so­ci­ety for more than 100 years.

The group meets ev­ery Sun­day and also holds weekly Shab­bat ser­vices on a Fri­day evening.

PHOTOS: JOHN RIFKIN

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis re­ceives The Eton

Col­lege Sid­dur

(inset)

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