Humility and leadership

By Tim Wyatt

The Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, will join the country’s largest online school to lead collective worship on the theme of humility and leadership.

His theme is co-incidentally timely, coming days after church leaders called on the government to show “some sense of humility if they are going to restore trust”.

The Chief Rabbi has declined to follow the lead of more than a dozen Anglican bishops who spoke out against the prime minister’s defence of his chief aide Dominic Cummings, following the revelations that  he had driven from London to Durham and then Barnard Castle during the lockdown.

A spokesman said the Chief Rabbi’s message about the need for humility in leadership was recorded before the scandal erupted and he would not make any comment on the story.

The Oak National Academy was launched a few weeks into the coronavirus lockdown and includes hundreds of lesson plans, videos and resources to help teachers continue teaching their pupils while they are at home.

But on top of the curriculum materials, each week Oak National Academy is releasing a video of collective worship which can also be used by teachers across the country.

Tomorrow marks the Jewish festival of Shavuot, which commemorates the day Jews believe Moses was given the Torah, or law, by God during the 40 years of wandering in the desert between Egypt and the promised land.

The Chief Rabbi, who leads the largest Jewish denomination in the UK, the orthodox United Synagogue, will speak about Moses’ humility and his doubts over whether he was the right person to lead the people of Israel.

“We know how off-putting it is when people boast of their achievements, but Moses was the antithesis of this,” the Chief Rabbi will say.

Despite Moses’ doubts, God was still able to use him to be a blessing to his people, he will conclude. “In this way, we can combine outstanding humility with incredible success”.

Last month the Archbishop of Canterbury led an act of collective worship for Oak National Academy.

Every state school in England and Wales is legally obliged to hold a daily act of collective worship, although pupils can be withdrawn from these if their parents choose.