The Chief Rabbi visits Moriah

November 21, 2014 by Roz Tarszisz
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After an overnight flight from Perth, the Chief Rabbi of the United Synagogues of the Commonwealth, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis went from Sydney airport directly to Moriah College in Queens Park to address high school students and to make presentations to the Jewish day school’s kindergarden class.

Moriah captain Dean Nathanson presented the Chief Rabbi with a gift    All photos: Henry Benjamin

Moriah captain Dean Nathanson presented the Chief Rabbi with a gift All photos: Henry Benjamin

Rabbi Mirvis told students he was happy to be at such a great College and spoke about his own school days in South Africa.

In primary school, aged 11, he was thrilled to be chosen to play soccer for his school. When the team got to the big final, he had a problem. He did not want teammates to see his tzitzis when they were in the change rooms and wanted to leave them at home. However his parents would not allow this, even for one day.

He need not have worried. When a teammate first spied the tzitzis he told the team that Ephraim was wearing “lucky strings” and that all the boys should touch the “strings” for good luck. The team won, he scored two goals and the boy learned two valuable life lessons.

Year K's Sam Kramer received his first Tallit from the Chief Rabbi

Year K’s Sam Kramer received his first Tallit from the Chief Rabbi

The first was to always have respect for ones Jewishness so that the rest of the world will respect us.   Rabbi Mirvis also realised that if we do not run away from committing mitzvot, that brings luck.”

He felt that these truths are as relevant today as they were for him all those years ago.

Inspired by the Shabbat Project – he initiated ShabbatUK last month. It brought UK Jewish communities together and was a great success. The event attracted mainstream media interest in advance the Chief Rabbi gave many interviews as the project was seen as a very positive thing. The Times newspaper ran an article praising the idea.

Rabbi Mirvis told students that the notion of having a day off with “digital detox” was something to consider. He told students that they are privileged to attend such a fine school and urged them to “take advantage and make the best of their Jewish heritage”.

Sam Kramer receives a blessing from his parents

Sam Kramer receives a blessing from his parents

Nichole Schwartz thanked Rabbi Mirvis for his inspiring words and Dean Nathanson presented him with a challah cloth and history of Moriah.

Before departing the school, Rabbi Mirvis addresses Year K , the youngest students on campus and presented kindergarden boys with a tallit and the girls with shabbat candlesticks.

The Chief Rabbi has speaking engagements in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and North Shore. He will officiate at the inauguration of Rabbi Meltzer in Canberra and hold public meetings in Melbourne.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis is expected to visit many Jewish day schools during his visit to Australia.

 

 

 

Chief Rabbi Mirvis with schoolfriend Bram Binary in Perth.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis with schoolfriend Bram Binary in Perth.    Pic: Eli Rabinowitz

Eli Rabinowitz reports from Perth:

Rebbetzin Valeri Mirvis, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Rabbi David Freilich and Rebbitzin Aviva Freilich   Photo: Eli Rabinowitz

Rebbetzin Valeri Mirvis, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Rabbi David Freilich and Rebbitzin Aviva Freilich Photo: Sas Saddick

In Perth, the Chief Rabbi renewed an old acquaintanceship with Bram Beinart, classmates at Herzlia School Cape Town. (Matriculated 1973). Mirvis was at Herzlia High School from 1968 to 1973. Bram told J-Wire: “The last time I saw the Chief was when we were at school. ”

He also visited Chabad WA and the Perth Hebrew Congregation where he and his wife Rebbetzin Valerie Mirvis met with Rabbi David and Rebbetzin Aviva Freilich.

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