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The Chief Rabbi has been described as “inspirational” by one headteacher after he visited a school in Barkingside ahead of his retirement in August.

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Roz Levin, head of Ilford Jewish Primary School, Carlton Drive, Barkingside, was speaking after a visit from Jonathan Sacks.

Lord Sacks is a patron of the school and it will be the last time he visits before retiring as Chief Rabbi, a role he has held for the past 22 years.

Mrs Levin said: “He’s the most amazing man, he’s an inspirational leader, a brilliant academic but at the same time can relate to anybody and empathise with everybody.

“If we ever needed any advice we could always go to him.”

Lord Sacks is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth and is the spiritual head of the largest synagogue body in the UK, the United Synagogue.

Mrs Levin said: “He’s the representative of the Jewish community. He’s very much a people person. As the patron he visits the school every couple of years. He is an amazing chief rabbi.”

Lord Sacks had a quick question and answer session with the staff before visiting each of the classes on Tuesday of last week.

“He spoke to the staff about how much he values the roles of teachers and how important teaching is for the community,” Mrs Levin said.

“They asked who he admired the most and he said Holocaust survivors. He is extremely supportive of Jewish education.”

After taking questions Lord Sacks went to meet the school’s children who, according to Mrs Levin, were very excited to have such an important person come to visit.

“He went into the classrooms and it was delightful to see how engaged with the children he was. The children were very excited,” she added. “The children were very excited as they know he’s an important person.”

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