Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and his wife Valerie visited our congregation from Friday 15 May to Sunday 17 May. It was a truly unforgettable weekend for everyone who attended one or more of the many events that took place.
The Chief Rabbi arrived in Bournemouth on Friday afternoon and visited Hannah Levy House. Later in the day, the twenty-five or so congregants who attended the Friday night service got to meet the Chief Rabbi and talk to him in a relaxed and informal environment.
The Shabbat morning service was a very special occasion when we were treated to a wonderful service taken by Tony Nairn, Cantor Anton Ereira and Rabbi Jesner, ably supported by the Shul Choir led by Frank Morris. The service was also attended by the Bishop of Salisbury, The Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, the Rector of Bournemouth Town Centre, the Rt Rev Dr Ian Terry, the Mayors of Bournemouth and Christchurch and the Chief Inspector of Bournemouth Police Michael Claxton. The sermon, given by the Chief Rabbi, was fun as well as being thought provoking. At the heart of his sermon was the message that we must treat all our fellow human beings with kindness and dignity.
After the service 170 people attended Shabbat lunch in the Menorah Suite organised by the Ladies Guild. The 3-course meal was delicious as always. In between the courses, the Chief Rabbi gave another talk, the theme of which was the importance of giving gifts to others, reminding us that the giver gets more out of giving than the receiver.
Later during Shabbat evening, the Chief Rabbi participated in the Seudah Shlishit.
On Sunday morning the Chief Rabbi joined us again for the morning service and took part in a special breakfast laid-on in honour of Yom Yerushalayim. After that the Chief Rabbi addressed the members of the Bournemouth Jewish Community in a packed Menorah Suite. After his speech the Chief Rabbi took questions from the audience.
This was the first time many of us had had the opportunity to meet Chief Rabbi Mirvis in person. It would be fair to say that we were all very impressed with his warm personality and what he had to say; we can’t wait to welcome him and Valerie to Bournemouth again.
Here are some photos from the events of Sunday morning courtesy of Mahir Ozdamar. (As usual, you can click on the photos to enlarge them or to save them onto your computer).