A steady rock of unity, dignity and compassion in modern times, Queen Elizabeth will be sorely missed.

Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Sept. 8, 2022. The news brought forth a global outpouring of praise and mourning for a woman of considerable grace, skill and dedication to England and the British Commonwealth.

The outpouring of love for Queen Elizabeth was near universal. Even many of her critics, including those who see the institution of royalty as an evil anachronism from the past, or those who remember that she was the queen of a nation with a questionable colonial history, still considered the woman herself to be a person of great dignity.

The Queen generated a good measure of adoration from the British Jewish community. “She spent her 96 years doing the right thing, day in and day out, out of a sense of duty,” stated Baron David Wolfson, a Jewish member of the British House of Lords.

Jeremy Harvardi wrote that her commitment to service and traditional British values “had resonance for British Jews, too, given that their own faith encompassed notions of religious duty and communal service.”

During Queen Elizabeth’s reign, Jewish members of Parliament and local governments became commonplace. Current chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, Ephraim Mirvis, said Elizabeth cherished Jewish communities in the Commonwealth. The Queen knighted the late British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

One gripe against the Queen was that she never visited Israel. True, but she did host Israeli leaders and gave an honorary knighthood to Shimon Peres in 2008. She also inaugurated Britain’s first permanent memorial to the Holocaust in 2000.

Yes, there were a few family scandals in the royal House of Windsor, but the Queen rose above them. And, oh my, the distinctive hats and purses she wore! But nothing should belay the fact that she was tough and determined.

I found 592 mentions of Queen Elizabeth in the William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History. Pages before 1953 are usually references to Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, who was also supportive of the Jewish community.

Many pages reference the Cunard luxury ocean liner, the HMS Queen Elizabeth. As it was being completed, World War II broke out and the liner entered service as troop ship. After the war, the HMS Queen Elizabeth resumed its intended mission as an ocean liner in 1946. The Archive shows that many young Detroit Jewish newlyweds sailed on the Queen Elizabeth for their honeymoons. Its replacement, the QE II, still sails.

Queen Elizabeth appears on many pages in the Archive. Her coronation was front-page news on June 5, 1953. JN Editor Philip Slomovitz wrote about the Queen Elizabeth Coronation Forest in Israel (June 17, 1955). The Dec. 31, 1982, JN reported that the Queen and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher hosted leaders from the Canadian Jewish Congress. In 1983, the Queen was front-page news again when she inaugurated the City of Hope Medical Center in Los Angeles during her visit to America’s West Coast (March 18, 1983).

A steady rock of unity, dignity and compassion in modern times, Queen Elizabeth will be sorely missed.

Sidenote: The “Queen” did visit Detroit in 2011, when our own Alan Muskovitz did his best impression of her. At the JN, we have long suspected that Al might be a little bit crazy. This article appears to support that theory (April 21, 2011).

Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.

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