Queen Elizabeth will grant Israeli Haredi Rabbi Yitzchak Shapira one of the Commonwealth’s highest civilian honors with an appointment as Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, the British Embassy announced Tuesday.
Rabbi Shapira is the son of former Haredi Knesset Member Rabbi Avraham Yosef Shapira. The Embassy said he will be honored at Buckingham Palace for “strengthening the ties between the UK and the Haredi community.”
The rabbi responded to the announcement by seeing he is “deeply honored” and that Britain has displayed“ warmth “and a “supportive attitude” towards Haredim.
Rabbi Shapira has “helped us build a friendship and understanding between Britain and the Haredi community,” said British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould. “Isaac ]Yitzchak] has devoted a huge amount of time over many years to helping me and my predecessors get to know this vital and important part of Israeli society.”
The award does not grant him the title of “Sir.”
Playing both sides of the street, Britain also announced it is awarding a similar honor to American-born Reform Rabbi Mark Winer, a British subject and a U.S. citizen.
Winer, 71, received the honor for services to interfaith dialogue and social cohesion in the United Kingdom. He said in a statement that he was “humbled and thrilled” to accept the honor. He is founder of the international interfaith charitable initiative FAITH: The Foundation to Advance Interfaith Trust and Harmony.
British Rabbi Herschel Gluck, founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum, also received an OBE for services to interfaith understanding.
Another American-born recipient of the OBE award is Brett Wigdortz, 39, for his efforts as founder of the education program Teach First.
Among the other recipients of New Year’s honors from the Queen are several Jews, both born in Britain and elsewhere.
David Kustow, former chair of UK Jewish Film, was awarded an OBE for services to film and for his role in the signing of the British-Israeli film cooperation treaty. Raymond Dwek, an Oxford University professor who co-chairs the UK-Israel Life Sciences Council, was awarded a Commander of the British Empire, or CBE award, for his services to scientific collaboration.
Philanthropist Michael Heller received a knighthood for his charitable services.
An Auschwitz survivor, Mayer Hersh, was honored as a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his work in the field of Holocaust education.
Penny Ur, a British-born Israeli who studied at Oxford, was awarded an OBE for exceptional work in English teaching.
In total, more than 1,000 people were honored by the queen in advance of the new year, a British tradition since at least 1890.
JTA contributed to this report.Jewish Press News Briefs