LONDON (JTA) — At a reception of faith leaders at Buckingham Palace the day after Queen Elizabeth’s death in September, King Charles pulled Britain’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, aside for a word.
The reception was pushed earlier in the day than originally planned to accommodate Mirvis, since it fell on a Friday. But it ran long and Shabbat was approaching. According to Rabbi Nicky Liss, head of the Highgate Synagogue, Charles asked Mirvis what the rabbi was doing sticking around — didn’t he have to get home by Shabbat?
The protocol is that no one is allowed to leave the room before the king does, Mirvis responded. Charles then promptly told him to get home.
Both men are expected to bring that spirit of mutual respect to Charles’ coronation day on Saturday, as the new king will include a range of faith leaders who have never before been featured in a royal ceremony of this magnitude.
While much of the ceremony is still rooted in Christian rituals, representatives of Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Bahai and Zoroastrian communities will be incorporated into the proceedings. In fact, non-Jewish faith representatives will enter Westminster Abbey before Anglican clerics. Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh members of the House of Lords will hand Charles objects of the royal regalia. And in a notable cross-cultural mash-up, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is Hindu, will read a passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, which includes language on the “loving rule of Christ over all people and all things.”
There is one large obstacle for observant Jewish participants and onlookers: The ceremony falls on Shabbat. But Charles has invited Mirvis to sleep in his home on Friday night — Clarence House, located a 15-minute walk from Westminster Abbey, the site of the coronation — so he can easily get to the event without using electricity (he will attend an early morning Shabbat service on his way). And when religious leaders recite a “spoken greeting in unison” to Charles at the end of the ceremony, Mirvis will not use a microphone.
While many Orthodox interpretations of Jewish law hold that Jews should not enter churches, London’s top rabbinical court ruled in the 1970s that chief rabbis may do so if their presence is requested by the monarch. Coronations have held at Westminster Abbey since 1066; the last time one was held on Shabbat was in 1902.
The Chief Rabbi will be walking in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor, Chief Rabbi Hermann Adler, as he represents the Jewish communities of the United Kingdom & the Commonwealth at the coronation of King Charles III. pic.twitter.com/znjeDxQrNy
— Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis (@chiefrabbi) May 4, 2023
Some Jews around London this week were not excited about the Shabbat timing, and like many other Britons, were still mourning Queen Elizabeth, Charles’ mother whose 70-year reign guided the kingdom through the second half of the 20th century and through the upheaval of the 21st.
“It’s a shame that we can’t fully participate in it but we do need to acknowledge that we’re such a minority and I don’t expect them to take us into account,” said Naomi Joseph, who was walking around Golders Green, a heavily Jewish neighborhood, on Tuesday. “But it does make me feel less enthusiastic. It’s like not being invited to a party.”
“The queen’s funeral did feel more poignant than the coronation,” said Keren Rechtschaffen, who researches Judeo-English, a local dialect. “People seemed more invested in it. We haven’t had a chance to see how Charles is going to reign. Although I’m sure he’s going to be great.”
But many Jewish congregations and families have for weeks been in the royal spirit, which engulfs England in an excited frenzy — and creates a huge market of monarch-themed merchandise. Some congregations will close off the roads near their synagogues to have celebrations on the street. Others will hold ceremonies and services of their own to honor the king, but a week later — so their members can watch the coronation live on TV on the day.
Musical celebration and tribute is a recurring theme. United Synagogue, the union of British Orthodox synagogues, commissioned a new children’s choir recording of “Adon Olam,” a prayer perhaps most recognizable as the conclusion of Shabbat services, and dedicated it to the new king. The Shabbaton Choir, a group that frequently records for radio and television shows, created a new musical version of the Prayer for the Royal Family that’s recited by British Jewish congregations every week.
“We’ve waited a long time for this coronation. It’s exciting,” said Sahar Dadon, an Israeli who runs a pita restaurant and has lived in London for 20 years. “We bless the king with shem malchut [of God’s name]. It’s a divine thing.”
He added, “My wife feels it more. She’s English and goes to all the ceremonies. The kids are very excited, too.”
The Jewish connection to the coronation ceremony will get literal, too — the king and the soldiers involved will wear at least some pieces stitched by Kashket & Partners, a Jewish family-owned tailoring company that is the main supplier for Britain’s armed forces. Baroness Merron of Lincoln, a former chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, will hand Charles the long Imperial Mantle robe, which was first made for George IV in 1821.
“We’ve got our day-to-day business going on too but obviously the coronation takes priority over everything else,” Cheryl Kashket told the London Jewish Chronicle. “There is nothing more important than what is going on. It is very exciting and we realize how fortunate we are to be a part of history.”
Israeli President Isaac Herzog will be in attendance on Saturday, too; a kosher caterer will provide food for him and Mirvis.
Ivan Binstock, a longtime senior leader for multiple London Jewish communities, said the actual coronation ritual, which involves anointing the new king with oil consecrated in Jerusalem, was especially resonant for the Jewish community.
“The most significant part of the coronation, that is shielded from public view, is in fact biblical,” he said, noting that the ritual has its roots in the anointing of high priests in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. “It’s a source of great pride.”
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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