Britain’s chief rabbi-designate is Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis of Finchley Synagogue, the Jewish Chronicle reports. Rabbi Mivris, who is is not British-born, will be England’s 11th chief rabbi.
Rabbi Mirvis, 56, was born in South Africa, the son and grandson of religious leaders. He has spent a large part of his career serving Anglo-Saxon communities. He was Chief Rabbi of Ireland from 1985 to 1992, and before that was minister of Dublin’s Adelaide Road Synagogue.
Rabbi Mirvis’s grandfather, Rev Lazar Mirvis, was a minister in Johannesburg. His father, Rabbi Dr Lionel Mirvis, led the Claremont Synagogue and also the Wynberg Hebrew Congregation in Cape Town. His mother, Freida, was principal of the Athlone Teachers Training College, which, during the apartheid years, was the only college for black teachers of pre-school instruction in South Africa.
Rabbi Mirvis is married to Zimbabwe-born Valerie Kaplan, a former senior social worker with Jewish Care, who now works for a local authority in the same capacity.. The couple have four sons.
Since 1996 Rabbi Mirvis has become synonymous with the ever-growing Finchley Synagogue, one of the biggest congregations in London.
A member of his congregation told the Chronicle: “The congregation is torn. They know he is the best candidate to be chief rabbi. But they will miss him desperately. They think he is irreplaceable.”