50 Influential Jews: Sir Ephraim Mirvis - No. 31

The successor to the late Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, South Africa-born UK Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis has been the leader of British Jewry for 10 years.

 UK Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis. (photo credit: REUTERS)
UK Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The leader of the United Kingdom’s Jewish community for the past decade, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (KBE) took over as the 11th holder incumbent in this most influential position from the late Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in 2013. Born in South Africa, Rabbi Mirvis got most of his religious higher education in Israel where he received semicha (rabbinic ordination) in 1980.

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Before becoming chief rabbi of the UK, Mirvis served as chief rabbi of Ireland between 1984 and 1992 and then led smaller congregations in London before stepping into his current role. Aside from his role leading the Jewish community in the UK, Rabbi Mirvis is also president of Mizrachi UK, an organization that connects British Jews to Israel, and associate president of the Conference of European Rabbis. Mirvis has also participated in various programs and events with Muslim and Christian leadership across the UK and Ireland.

In July 2023, Sir Ephraim was knighted by King Charles III, with whom he shares a close friendship. When the chief rabbi was inaugurated in 2013, the then-prince of Wales became the first royal family member to attend such a service. Similarly, Rabbi Mirvis participated in the King’s coronation in May.

As the coronation ceremony was held on Shabbat, accommodations were made for him and his wife throughout the weekend to enable them to take part in the events without having to violate the religious laws of Shabbat.