Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis led a two-day study trip to Europe last week.
Forty-one UK-based Rabbis participated on a journey of Jewish life in France and Germany where renowned rabbis lived and studied.
Visiting historic sites, they also met community leaders.
In Worms the group visited notable graves of scholars, a local museum and Rashi shul where Rashi, the Rokeach and Rav David Oppenheim studied.
Following a spiritual mincha service the group travelled to Frankfurt where they viewed the graves of Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch and Rav Natan Adler prior to visiting the Museum Judengasse.
In Strasbourg, delegates met Chief Rabbi Harold Weill before an address from Chief Rabbi Mirvis.
Following a tour of the Old City and medieval Jewish heritage, the group then travelled to Metz which included a visit to the Jewish quarter and a historic 19th century shul.
“Chief Rabbi Mirvis told us we were walking in the footsteps of spiritual leaders,” said Rabbi Alan Garber of Shenley Synagogue.
“Having the encyclopedic knowledge of our tour guide Rabbi Aubrey Hersh was tremendous. We had a great opportunity to connect with our history.”
Rabbi Garber cited a number of highlights.
“Visiting the Rashi Shul in Worms, where after davening mincha we spontaneously joined together in dance and song,” he said. “There was a tremendous feeling of ‘Am Yisrael Chai’, after nearly 1,000 years since Rashi was teaching, learning and davening in this shul.
“Also, the main synagogue in Strasbourg is the second largest shul in Europe. There we met Rabbi Avraham Weill, the Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg. It was inspiring to here about the history and current growth of this community.”
He added: “It has been such an innovative idea of the Chief Rabbi to organise these trips for the US rabbinate, the trip absolutely lived up to expectations.
“It gave us a deeper connection and understanding of our history in this part of Europe. It also enabled us to have value time together with our colleagues, building friendships, to discuss ideas and learn together.
“And there was an opportunity to connect with the Chief Rabbi, it was a wonderful hands on learning experience.”
Historian Rabbi Aubrey Hersh, senior lecturer at the JLE led the trip, which was facilitated by Chief Rabbi Mirvis.