Chief Rabbi and Archbishop create a unique moment in time at the Western Wall.
Visitors to the Western Wall in Jerusalem witnessed a slice of history being made when Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Ephaim Mirvis, the Chief Rabbi, prayed together in front of the wall. This is the first time an Anglican church head and British Chief Rabbi have visited Jerusalem together.
The Archbishop has embarked on a trip to Jordan and Israel. The duration of this trip is 10 days. He has invited the Rabbi to meet him in Jerusalem. The two also visited a number of other holy sites within the city. They went to Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial as well.
For the Archbishop of Canterbury, the trip was more than visiting Israel. He met with refugees from Iraq on May 2 in Jordan. He requested the suffering Christians to stay back in the Middle East, the place where Christianity was born. This request was made after a number of Iraqi refugees asked Archbishop to assist them to leave the Middle East.
For Rabbi Mirvis, it was a special day. He said it was enjoyable for him to walk the Archbishop through the city's Jewish quarter. He showed the Christian head places in the city of which he has fond memories. The Rabbi and his wife lived in Jerusalem for two years. He said that he enjoyed his stay and breathe the air of the historical city. The walk culminated with the two of them praying together at Kotel. He added that the event can be considered as a special moment in history.
— Daniel Kraus (@rabbidkraus) May 3, 2017
According to Rabbi Mirvis, the presence of Archbishop of Canterbury in Jerusalem is an indication of positive and historic developments. The Archbishop has prayed for reconciliation and peace. All these efforts will lead to a better Anglican-Jewish relationship. The Jewish head said that he wants to send a personal message to Jews who suffered persecution all through history and “let them know that a Chief Rabbi and an Archbishop of Canterbury would one day pray alongside one another, as close friends, in the holy City of Jerusalem.” He said that it is a testament to how the Archbishop respects the Jewish community when he carved time away from his busy schedule to view Israel the way Jews see it- a gift from God which brought due deliverance to Jewish people all over the world after many centuries of yearning and prayer.