A les­son break to crown them all

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY ROSADO HERTY

Prince Charles had two widely-pub­li­cised en­gage­ments with the Jewish com­mu­nity this week

A SEA of Union Jacks greeted Prince Charles as the royal Bent­ley drove into the en­trance of Yavneh Col­lege in Bore­ham­wood on Wed­nes­day morning.

There were “oohs” and “aahs” from pupils — and shouts of “we love your car”.

The two-hour visit, 18 months in the plan­ning, was largely down to Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who the Prince said had “con­vinced” him to go to Yavneh.

He was shown class­rooms and the main hall, where pupils show­cased so­cial ac­tion ac­tiv­i­ties such as prepar­ing items for dis­tri­bu­tion at a lo­cal food bank.

Stu­dents and staff were amused when the Prince par­tic­i­pated in a bal­loon crown-mak­ing ses­sion for the Gift char­ity. The royal “crown” will go to a child with spe­cial needs.

“The Chief Rabbi was very in­sis­tent that I come and see it,” he told pupils. “Of course, I to­tally un­der­stand now on com­ing here what a truly re­mark­able place it is.”

Apol­o­gis­ing for be­ing “an ap­palling dis­rup­tion to your stud­ies”, he con­tin­ued: “For me it has been a re­mark­able in­sight into the way in which this par­tic­u­lar Jewish school is run. “I have been enor­mously im­pressed by so many of you, who do so much com­mu­nity in­volve­ment and fit sev­eral dif­fer­ent things into your school pro­gramme.”

He met pupils in­volved in so­cial ac­tion through pro­grammes in­clud­ing the Yoni Jes­ner and Duke of Ed­in­burgh awards. He also talked to stu­dents who be­long to JLGB, which works along­side the school to pro­vide a frame­work of na­tional vol­un­teer­ing ac­tiv­ity.

Eight-year-old Shen­ley JLGB mem­bers Maya Larholm, Abi­gail Tay­lor and Al­liyah Man­del were thrilled to meet the Prince. Shen­ley ju­niors are funded by Youth United, a Prince of Wales ini­tia­tive.

“He spoke to us but I was so ex­cited I’ve for­got­ten what he said,” Maya con­fided. “Oh no.”

“Don’t worry Maya, me too,” Al­liyah as­sured her. “It was so ex­cit­ing we just can’t re­mem­ber.”

Prince Charles also vis­ited the food tech­nol­ogy room where stu­dents showed off chal­lah and cakes they had pre­pared for those in need in the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Keen to show off his Jewish knowl­edge, the Prince asked if the fruit cake was kosher and for Purim, at which point Rabbi Mirvis had to ex­plain the next fes­ti­val was Tu Bish­vat.

As part of the tour, Prince Charles ad­di­tion­ally spent time in the Yavneh tech­nol­ogy room where he talked to 14-year-old Josh Bond, who showed him how to make a mo­bile phone case out of plas­tic.

“He told me it was very clever and good that it goes to chil­dren in hos­pi­tal,” Josh said. “It was re­ally cool talk­ing to him — I’m still shak­ing.”

The royal tour ended with a school as­sem­bly. Stu­dents were on their best be­hav­iour as the Prince en­tered the hall, ac­com­pa­nied by lo­cal MPs and coun­cil­lors.

Rabbi Mirvis said dur­ing the visit: “Today is a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate the achieve­ments of Yavneh Col­lege.

“It is also a day to recog­nise the in­valu­able con­tri­bu­tion that so many ex­cel­lent faith schools make to life in mod­ern Bri­tain.

“In a con­text where faith com­mu­ni­ties of­ten feel that there is a lack of ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the in­valu­able role that their schools play in cre­at­ing a fairer so­ci­ety, the pres­ence of His Royal High­ness pro­vides us with an op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate faith as a pow­er­ful force for good.”

The Prince had not in­tended to ad­dress pupils but, in­spired by what he had seen, changed his mind.

“Clearly the school is go­ing to pro­duce some very spe­cial peo­ple at the end of the whole process,” he told them. “As I get older and older, I shall look for­ward to see­ing what you all go on to do.

“You will make a great con­tri­bu­tion to the fu­ture of this coun­try and it is down to the ed­u­ca­tion and the en­cour­age­ment that you have had here.”

Spencer Lewis, the school’s head, was “par­tic­u­larly proud to show how the fan­tas­tic work our stu­dents do in the lo­cal and wider com­mu­ni­ties are not only done out of a sense of so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity, but also out of an un­der­stand­ing that im­prov­ing the world around them is a fun­da­men­tal ax­iom of Jewish be­lief”.


1. The Prince is greeted by flag-wav­ing pupils 2. JLGB mem­bers Maya Larholm, Abi­gail Tay­lor and Al­liyah Man­del 3. The Prince un­veils a me­mento of his visit 4 & 5. The royal guest checks on what’s cook­ing at Yavneh


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