5/6 May 2023, 15 Iyyar 5783

Whether Republican or Royalist or somewhere in between, this coming Shabbat will be a memorable one. My mother leads a reminiscing group at Hammerson House care home and this week’s topic was recalling the last coronation in 1953, 70 years ago. I wonder whether our children will recall this weekend’s coronation of King Charles III. I like being reminded that the prayer for the Royal family given in most synagogues has the historical significance of being the first vernacular prayer in any synagogue here. We noted with interest when it was skipped in the Shabbat service of Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue. At my Shabbat table with FPS congregants last week, we were full of talk of the coronation and its cost – right down to the hand-made buckles on shoes.

I am always drawn to the prophet Jeremiah’s insistence to his people in the 6th century . . . seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.

And so this week my colleague and president of LJ Rabbi Alexandra Wright has written a prayer for us all for this Shabbat for the coronation of King Charles and it is hard to disagree with her thoughtful words and hopes for him.

May he foster an environment in which people of all faiths and beliefs may live freely. May he find the freedom and strength to speak out against cruelty and injustice and to lead by example, living in harmony with nature, conserving its resources, diversity and beauty for future generations so that they too may reap in joy.

May his reign be governed by truth, judgement and peace, as it is said, ‘These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to one another, render true and perfect justice in your gates’ (Zechariah 8:16).

Along with other LJ and MRJ synagogues, we will bring our Shabbat service earlier to 10.00 am and follow with a shared kiddush and opportunity to watch the coronation together if you so wish. Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis Chief Rabbi if the United Synagogue has been invited to stay the night at Clarence House for Shabbat so he and his wife can walk to the Abbey. It will be Shabbat as usual for us here at FPS and those who want to mark this moment can do so.

Shabbat Shalom,