President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal are left for London on Thursday to attend the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday
Herzog will be the first president of Israel to attend a coronation in Britain.
President Yitzhak Ben Zvi did not attend the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 but was represented by then-Israel ambassador Eliahu Elath.
Herzog and his wife will join Sir Ephraim Yitzchak Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, and his wife Valerie in walking together to Westminster Abbey for the coronation ceremony, given that Jews are not permitted to ride in a carriage, a car, a bus or a train on the Shabbat.
Mirvis is not the first chief rabbi to attend a coronation. Rabbi Dr. Israel Brodie, who was then the chief rabbi of the British Empire, attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II as did Jewish members of the House of Lords and several other Jewish dignitaries. Incidentally, he was not the first rabbi to attend a coronation.
Neither Mirvis nor Herzog had yet been born when Elizabeth became queen. Both will celebrate their birthdays in September. Mirvis will be 67 and Herzog 63.
What events will Herzog take part in?
On Friday, the Herzogs, together with royalty, heads of state and prime ministers from around the world, will attend a pre-coronation reception that King Charles will host at Buckingham Palace.
President Herzog attended a similar reception when he flew to England last year for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth. The reception this time, will be a much happier event.
Presidents of Israel, no matter what the level of their religious observance in private life, are always careful when spending a Shabbat abroad, to avoid any public desecration. Herzog, as the grandson of a former chief rabbi of Israel, will make doubly sure to properly observe Shabbat.
As for dining, as is always the case when chief rabbis and Orthodox Jews attend a royal lunch or dinner, new dishes will be unpacked, and the menu will be given to a kosher caterer so that those who observe the Jewish dietary laws, will eat the same meal, but prepared in a kosher kitchen and with kosher utensils and ingredients.
The late Lady Amelie Jakobowitz, who was married to former chief rabbi Immanuel Jakobowitz, used to tell the story that it was always easy to detect the kosher portions because they were always bigger than the rest.
What most people in England will be eating in the coming days will be Coronation Quiche which was selected by King Charles and Queen Camilla and is described as "a deep quiche with a crisp pastry case, and delicate flavors of spinach, broad beans and fresh tarragon."
The pastry includes lard, which is a no-no for Jews, Muslims, vegetarians and vegans, but butter or margarine can be substituted for the kosher version. It can be eaten hot or cold with a green salad and boiled new potatoes.
Many British expats living in Israel will also be dining on quiche during the coming week including the clientele at the Kumkum Tea Shop in Jerusalem where proprietor Elisheva Levy has not forgotten her British roots.