Ephraim Mirvis, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, issued a special prayer in English and Hebrew to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. It was shared by Beth Israel’s Rabbi Jonathan Infeld at the opening of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver annual campaign Sept. 8, hours after the Queen passed away.
“In an age of profound change, she signified order and justice; and in times of tension, she offered generosity of spirit,” the prayer read. “A defender of faith with an unfailing sense of duty, she was a steadfast guardian of liberty, a symbol of unity and a champion of justice in all the lands of her dominion.… In life, she was a most gracious monarch, who occupied a throne of distinction and honour. In death, may her legacy inspire the nations of the world to live together in righteousness and in peace.”
History’s longest serving British monarch, Elizabeth II passed away 70 years and 214 days after ascending the throne upon the death of her father, King George VI.
Canada’s Governor General Mary Simon paid homage to the Queen and, on Monday, the government announced that Simon and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, perhaps accompanied by others, would represent the country at the monarch’s funeral Sept. 19.
President Isaac Herzog will represent Israel at the Queen’s funeral. Jewish leaders around the world joined others in lauding the Queen’s service.
In 2005, the monarch attended a ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. According to reports, she refused to be ushered away by staff, instead remaining to speak individually to the attendees and listening to each of their experiences of survival.
“She gave each survivor – it was a large group – her focused, unhurried attention. She stood with each until they had finished telling their personal story. It was an act of kindness that almost had me in tears,” the late British chief rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks wrote afterward. “One after another, the survivors came to me in a kind of trance, saying: ‘Sixty years ago I did not know if I would be alive tomorrow, and here I am today talking to the Queen.’ It brought a kind of blessed closure into deeply lacerated lives.”
Queen Elizabeth II was patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, a British government-funded charity that promotes International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Buckingham Palace seems to have maintained an unspoken boycott of Israel, one of the countries the Queen never visited, although she met many Israeli leaders and knighted the former prime minister and president Shimon Peres.