Chief Rabbi follows the footsteps of prime ministers and princes with a visit to Eton
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.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis receives The Eton