Chief Rabbi says ‘we are on a journey’ as Church apologises for anti-Jewish laws

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Chief Rabbi says ‘we are on a journey’ as Church apologises for anti-Jewish laws

Rabbi Mirvis praised the 'glorious' service in Oxford marking the anniversary of the 1222 Synod of Oxford rulings that led to the expulsion of Jews from England

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has insisted “we are still on a journey” after the Church of England apologised during a historic service for anti-Jewish laws passed 800 years ago that led to the expulsion of Jews.

Jewish and Christian leaders Christian gathered for a historic service on Sunday to mark the anniversary of laws traced back to the Synod of Oxford in 1222.

One bishop spoke of the “painful and shameful” history of persecuting Jews during a service of “penitence” at a Church of England cathedral.

Speaking after a service took place on Sunday to mark the anniversary, Rabbi Mirvis said:“Let us not forget that we are still on a journey. There is still so much that needs to be done.”

The Chief also called for Christian and Jewish relations to be “strengthened” to enable the fight all forms of “hatred, racism and bigotry” to continue.

The Chief Rabbi did not go inside the cathedral itself for reasons of tradition, but he said outside afterwards that it had been a “glorious, special, amazing and historic occasion”.

The service was “deeply appreciated by our Jewish community”,he added, and Rabbi Mirvis said he hoped it would lead to a “strengthening” of the friendship between Christians and Jews.

At the service itself, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain of Maidenhead Synagogue gave a reading in Hebrew and said that the English Jews who faced persecution, massacres and forced exile in the 12th and 13th centuries “would have been astonished and pleased to hear words in Hebrew ring out in this cathedral”.

Board of Deputies chief executive Michael Wegier also took part in the service later tweting:”I spoke about our positive work with the C of E and I stressed the importance of Christians engaging with Jews in the UK, Israel and globally.”

The Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Rev Dr Michael Ipgrave, said: “So much antisemitism and anti-Judaism can be traced back to distorted Christian teaching.”

He added that this had been “largely forgotten”.

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