Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Royal Family and the Jews

On February 6, 1952, Queen Elizabeth II assumed the throne of “the United Kingdom and her other realms and Territories” upon the death of her father, King George VI. While the Queen is much beloved by all of her subjects, Jewish Treats presents some data specifically connecting England’s long-serving monarch with the Jews and the Jewish state.

In an article by journalist Anshel Pfeffer, he quotes writer Simon Sebag Montefiore, scion of Sir Moses Montefiore, stating that, “historically the British royal family has had a very friendly relationship with the Jewish community…. This tradition endures ever since the 19th century, and right up to Britain today. Members of the royal family routinely attend many, many Jewish events and support Jewish causes and charities. Something regarded as totally normal here. And rightly so.” Prince Charles even has his own blue velvet yarmulke with a silver royal crest on it, that he wears when he attends Jewish ritual events.

On the 60th anniversary of the Allied liberation of Auschwitz, Queen Elizabeth met with Holocaust survivors at St. James’ Palace in London. While Queen Elizabeth II is very punctual and rarely diverts from her precise schedule, Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the U.K. noted, at that time, that the queen stood with each survivor “until they had finished telling their personal story. It was an act of kindness that almost had me in tears.” One survivor quipped, “I did not know whether I would be alive tomorrow, and here I am today talking to the Queen.”

Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth’s oldest son, and heir to the throne, despite not being Jewish, was circumcised by Rabbi Dr. Jacob Snowman, the leading mohel in London. Male babies, born to the House of Windsor, have been circumcised by a mohel dating back to George I (1660-1727), who brought this tradition from his native Hanover, Germany.

The Queen has a pro-Jewish family history to rely on. Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was known to be partial to many Jews and Victoria’s son Edward VII (1841-1910) was also known to have a very warm relationship with Jews. Queen Elizabeth’s mother-in-law, Princess Alice of Battenberg is buried on the Mountain of Olives, in Jerusalem, and sheltered Jews in her home in Greece during the Holocaust. She was recognized by Yad Vashem as a “Righteous Among the Nations.”

While Queen Elizabeth II has never made an official visit to the State of Israel (remember that prior to Israeli statehood, mandatory Palestine was under the British Crown), Prince William made an official visit in June of 2018, and Prince Charles, attended in an official state capacity, the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem in January 2020. Prince Charles attended the funerals of Yitzchak Rabin and Shimon Peres as private visits.


Copyright © 2020 NJOP. All rights reserved.

No comments: