Chabad rabbi decorated by Queen of England

by Nissan Shtrauchler, YNET

Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, director of the Chabad Lubavitch center in Ilford, Essex, was among the receivers of the Member of British Empire award (MBE) two weeks ago.

The honor is traditionally awarded to those who have made significant contributions to the English nation, and Rabbi Sufrin was acknowledged for his work with youth fighting drug addiction.

Sufrin has been running a support center for young drug and alcohol addicts for the past 18 years. The center caters to Christian, Muslim, and Jewish teens, and Sufrin even employs an Imam who works with Muslim addicts.

During the ceremony Queen Elizabeth II was mindful enough to refrain from shaking the rabbi's hand so as not to embarrass him, but did attach the ribbon to his suit herself.

Sufrin described the experience in an interview with the official Chabad website. He said the queen told him what a pleasure it was for her to award him the honor and noted how challenging his work must be.

Several years ago Prince Edward, the queen's son, contributed to the construction of a new building for the rabbi's foundation, titled Drugsline. During the ceremony the queen inquired after progress in construction, much to the rabbi's amazement.

Sufrin said he was overwhelmed with the fact that an 83-year-old woman who had spoken with so many people prior to him remembered to ask about the venture and was equally moved by the fact she had refrained from shaking his hand.

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