Ephraim Mirvis, the senior rabbi of Great Britain, will spend Shabbat with King Charles the night before the coronation.
The coronation of King Charles will occur on Saturday, May 6, 2023, and Rabbi Mirvis and his wife, Valerie Mirvis, will spend the evening of Friday, May 5, at Clarence House.
The Mirvises stay with the royal couple because they cannot drive or take other forms of transportation on the Jewish holy day.
They will instead travel on foot from Westminster Abbey to Clarence House.
The Chief Rabbi “will also celebrate the Shabbat occurring during coronation weekend with local communities,” the Telegraph reports.
Only one other coronation in recent history has occurred on Shabbat: King Edward VII, the son of Queen Victoria, was crowned on Saturday, August 9, 1902.
Initially set for Thursday, June 26, 1902, the coronation of Edward VII was postponed two days due to an appendicitis diagnosis.
Hermann Adler, the British Chief Rabbi at the time, attended the coronation on Shabbat.
According to the Jewish Chronicle, Rabbi Adler stayed close at the Western Synagogue and led Shabbat morning prayers there before going on foot to Westminster Abbey.
Unlike his predecessor, Rabbi Mirvis will spend the night at Clarence House, the residence of King Charles.
Following the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth, King Charles was similarly considerate of Rabbi Mirvis’s Shabbat observance and changed the time of reception with religious leaders so that the Chief Rabbi could go back to his neighborhood synagogue before nightfall on Friday.
When asked about the King’s hectic itinerary at the time, a source informed the Jewish Chronicle that moving things around out of respect for the Chief Rabbi and Shabbat was a significant gesture.
It’s not like the Chief Rabbinate had warned them that Shabbat would be a problem.
Don’t worry; we’ll move it for you because we recognized it might conflict with Shabbat and took the initiative to call and tell them.
They did a beautiful thing, and the King would have approved.
A few days later, Rabbi Mirvis stated on BBC that this demonstrated his genuine concern and regard for people of other faiths.
It’s lovely that he is now the leader of the church and also a supporter of other religions.