King Charles reschedules meeting with chief rabbi to accommodate the onset of Sabbath

“Of all the things the royal staff have to consider, with the crazy schedule the king has at the moment, to move things around out of respect for the Chief Rabbi and Shabbat is quite a gesture.”

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

King Charles III rescheduled a meeting with faith leaders on Friday evening so that British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis could return to his synagogue in time for Shabbat.

The move was made on Buckingham Palace’s own initiative, and not at the request of chief rabbi’s office, the Jewish Chronicle reported.

The Chief Rabbi was one of several high-profile religious figures to have been invited to the palace to meet the new king on Friday at 6 p.m. But the timing would have meant that Rabbi Mirvis would likely not have made it back for prayers at his own synagogue in north London, with the sabbath beginning less than an hour later at 6.59 p.m.

The leaders were then informed that the meeting with the monarch had been brought forward to 5:30 p.m.

A source told the JC: “Of all the things the royal staff have to consider, with the crazy schedule the king has at the moment, to move things around out of respect for the Chief Rabbi and Shabbat is quite a gesture.

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“It wasn’t like the Chief Rabbi’s office told them Shabbat would be an issue. The palace took the initiative and phoned up and said, don’t worry about it, we have realized it will clash with Shabbat, so we will move it for you.

“It was absolutely wonderful of them, and characteristic of the king.”

King Charles has close ties with the UK’s Jewish community.

In contrast to his late mother, the new king has visited Israel. While there, he visited the tomb of his grandmother – Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg – on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Princess Alice was honored as a Righteous Gentile for hiding a Jewish family in her home in Athens during the Nazi occupation.