British chief rabbi to attend Limmud for first time

(JTA) — Newly installed British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis will attend and present at the 2013 Limmud Conference.

It is the first time that a sitting British chief rabbi will participate in Limmud, according to a statement from the chief rabbi’s office.

“One of my primary functions is as teacher of the community. I see Limmud as an opportunity to teach Torah to large numbers of people who want to learn,”Mirvis said in a statement.

Limmud Conference 2013, will be held December 22-26 at the University of Warwick in Coventry. About 2,500 participants are expected to participate in the conference’s lectures, workshops, and debates on Jewish issues.

By virtue of his position, Mirvis is officially the head of the Orthodox United Synagogue movement.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, an early supporter of Limmud, did not attend any of its conferences due to pressure from the haredi Orthodox sector, according to Haaretz

According to the chief rabbi’s office, Mervis consulted on the issue of his attendance at Limmud with his rabbis and also with the rabbinical judges of the London Bet Din and the leadership of the United Synagogue Movement. The statement also said that Mirvis “will welcome any rabbi who chooses to attend Limmud but believes it is for each rabbi to decide on attendance for themselves and those decisions, whatever they may be, should be respected by all.”

The London Bet Din , or rabbinical court, is dominated by Haredi Orthodox judges, according to Haaretz. In a statement released in response to the announcement that Mirvis would attend Limmud, the judges said that they “remain seriously concerned that the attendance of Orthodox rabbis at Limmud blurs the distinction between authentic Orthodox Judaism and non-Orthodox beliefs and practices.” The statement continued that the judges have “every confidence” and offer “every support” to Mirvis, according to Haaretz.