Chief Rabbi to talk about humility in national online school collective worship


On Friday, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis will speak about humility to school pupils across the country in a collective worship session for Oak National Academy, an online classroom set up in response to the Coronavirus pandemic offering lessons for primary and secondary school students. To date, over two million children have accessed eight million lessons.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

The collective worship is also part of the Church of England’s #FaithatHome programme, a campaign to help families talk about faith and pray together, which includes input from different faith groups. Launched in April, #FaithAtHome is providing weekly collective worship for Oak National Academy which is aimed at those of all faiths and none.  

On Friday, when Jews celebrate Shavuot (the commemoration of Moses giving the Ten Commandments), the Chief Rabbi will talk about Moses’ humility and his doubt in his ability to be a leader.  

In a message recorded before the festival began, the Chief Rabbi says:

"Moses said, ‘Who am I?’, as if to suggest, ‘God, I think you’ve got the wrong person’.

"We know how off-putting it is when people boast of their achievements, but Moses was the antithesis of this.

"He goes on to say that, despite his doubts, Moses used his God-given talents and potential to be a blessing to people: “In this way, we can combine outstanding humility with incredible success”.

The first collective worship for Oak National Academy in April featured the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon. Gavin Williamson MP, and was the biggest school collective worship ever held in the UK. 

Nigel Genders, the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer, says, “We’re delighted at the Chief Rabbi’s involvement in our Collective Worship and #FaithAtHome.

"The sessions include eminent contributors from different faith groups and focus on topics such as hope and resilience, as well as practical ideas for developing conversations about faith.

"They offer pupils a chance to pause and reflect, providing reassurance both during this time of uncertainty and for the future.”

About the #FaithAtHome programme, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, says: 
“The aim of these resources is to offer simple ways for families and households to approach complex and difficult topics, such as illness, fear and bereavement.

"I hope that #FaithAtHome will not only equip children and young people to engage with difficult questions, but also inspire them to explore how they can become the answers to their own prayers, and, when this crisis is over, they are freshly inspired to love and serve those around them.”

Matt Hood, Principal at Oak National Academy, says: “We're absolutely delighted to have the Chief Rabbi delivering his session on humility and the festival of Shavuot in our Faith at Home series this week. During this uncertain time, it's important we show compassion and humility to each other, especially as we all might struggle more with self-doubt.

"We hope this week’s session provides valuable reflection and advice for children and families. We created Oak National Academy to be an inclusive and accessible resource which supports schools, parents and pupils. Friday’s Faith at Home session on Jewish approaches to humility really captures this.”

Oak National Academy provides video lessons and resources for teachers, parents and children. It offers over 180 lessons a week, the equivalent of three hours a day for primary school students, and four hours a day for secondary. It has the support of education organisations such as the Sutton Trust, Teach First, the Teaching Schools Council and the Confederation of School Trusts, and is backed by the Department for Education.

The Chief Rabbi’s address will be available on the Oak National Academy website as well as the Church of England Faith at Home pages from Friday 29 May.


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