Watch as Keir Starmer discusses the meaning of Rosh Hashanah in synagogue

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Watch as Keir Starmer discusses the meaning of Rosh Hashanah in synagogue

Wearing a kippah, the Labour leader is filmed listening intently to Rabbi Gabriel Botnick and Rabbi Rose Prevezer of Belsize Square Synagogue, as they tell him what the High Holy Days mean to them

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Sir Keir Starmer has been filmed listening intently to an account from two rabbis of what the Rosh Hashanah period means to them, in a new video released by Labour.

Starmer is seen wearing a kippah as he talks about the forthcoming festivals with Rabbi Gabriel Botnick and Rabbi Rose Prevezer of Belsize Square Synagogue.

The Labour leader also told Jewish News that after reflecting on the past year he feels “grateful to have strengthened my ties and deepened my relationships with Britain’s Jewish community.”

Starmer is also understood to have telephoned Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl this week to personally wish her “Shana Tova.”

Filmed inside the shul, Rabbi Botnick discusses the ideas around “wiping the slate clean” for the new year.

Rabbi Prevezer tells of the period of “deep introspection” that takes place between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur,  as well the coming together of the extended family for yom tov meals in what she jokes is similar to a “Jewish Christmas.”

Starmer responds,”That’s the part of it, having everyone around, enjoying those traditions that are part of it.”

In a message to the community, the Labour leader added:”As Jewish communities across Britain and around the world prepare for the most significant period in the calendar, I wish to extend my warmest good wishes for a sweet, peaceful and above all, a healthy New Year.

“As I heard from Rabbi Botnick and Rabbi Prevezer at Belsize Square Synagogue recently, Rosh Hashanah – followed by Yom Kippur – is a time of solemn reflection, but it is also a time for friends for families.

“This year we are very aware that for many in the community and indeed across the country the cost of living crisis will place an extra burden on us all.

“But I have seen first-hand the Jewish community’s spirit of togetherness, which will continue to carry many through difficult times.

“As Rabbi Botnick told me, we must all help one another, because ‘a rising tide raises all ships.’

“In preparation for this celebration, I’ve been reflecting on my last year.

“I’m grateful to have strengthened my ties and deepened my relationships with Britain’s Jewish community.

“And as we enter the solemn days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, may you all be inscribed in the Book of Life.”

The Leader of the Opposition, whose wife has a Jewish family background,  ends by saying “Shana Tova.”




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