The Armed Forces Jewish Community has re-dedicated a Torah Scroll in memory of former Gibraltar Regiment officer, the late Captain Momy Levy
The event took place at the historic Bevis Marks Synagogue in the City of London when a full military service was held there to mark the installation of three Jewish commissioned Padres into the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department as Chaplains in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.
The Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, was joined by the Chaplain of the Fleet The Venerable Ian Wheatley, the Chaplain General The Reverend David Coulter, and the Chaplain in Chief of the Royal Air Force The Venerable Jonathan Chaffey in welcoming them into their ministry.
The unique event coincided with the 126th anniversary of Jewish Chaplaincy in the British Armed Forces. Two recently acquired Sifrei Torah Scrolls were also re-dedicated at the event by Gibraltarian, Rabbi Dr Abraham Levy, Emeritus Spiritual Head of the S&P Sephardi Community, in memory of former vice presidents of the Jewish Committee for the Armed Forces, Capt Solomon (Momy) Levy and Dr Peter Wagerman.
Colonel Martin Newman, Colonel of the Gibraltar Cadet Force is also chairman of the Jewish Committee for HM Forces which has a responsibility for Jewish Chaplaincy. “This event was very special as it is the first time that Jewish padres have been appointed to work as unit chaplains ministering to all faiths. Momy and Peter worked relentlessly for our troops and for our charity, The Friends of Jewish Servicemen and Women. It therefore seemed appropriate that we should dedicate the two scrolls in their memory at this event which was attended by the Minister of State for Defence, very senior officers and clergymen of all faiths. We were also deligted to welcome many guests from Gibraltar including the CO and RSM of the Regiment.”
The British Armed Forces have carried Torah Scrolls into battle during two world wars and they were also held at military synagogues in locations such as Aldershot, Catterick and RAF Hendersford.
Just as a Colour, Standard or Guidon is of major significance to a military formation, so the Torah Scrolls are significant to the Armed Forces Jewish Community. They embody the Jewish community and are a symbol of their service.
The first new scroll was dedicated in memory of Momy, a former officer of the then Gibraltar Regiment, who worked tirelessly in support of servicemen and women and veterans of all faiths. He was particularly proud to be a Vice President of the Jewish Committee for HM Forces and was also chairman of the Gibraltar Branch of the Royal British Legion. It is an antique, historic Scroll, connected with the last Czar of Russia, and was purchased through donations. The distinguished red and grey mantle represents the colours of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment so beloved by Momy.
The second scroll honoured the memory of Dr Peter Wagerman, a former Royal Air Force dental officer, who dedicated his life to the service of Jewish veterans and later the serving community. It was gifted by the United Synagogue and wears a mantle of RAF blue and gold.
Bevis Marks, the historic Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in the City of London, was the first synagogue to be built after Jews were allowed to resettle in England by Oliver Cromwell in 1656. The community immediately embraced its new host nation and has a proud history of public service, including service to the Crown.
Colonel Newman continued: “This important event allowed us to recognise the important work that Momy did for the hundreds of Jewish personnel serving with our armed forces. He was a personal friend and a source of sound advice who was dedicated to our Armed Forces and our servicemen and women of all faiths.”