The Chief Rabbi said he was “moved” to receive the freedom of the London borough of Barnet.

A ceremony was held last night at Middlesex University’s Rickett Quadrangle in The Burroughs, Hendon to bestow the honour upon Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who has held the post since September 2013.

Rabbi Mirvis previously served as Chief Rabbi of Ireland from 1984 to 1992, and Senior Rabbi at Finchley United Synagogue.

Music was provided by singers from Sacks Morasha Jewish Primary School – which Rabbi Mirvis founded – as well as from Vivian Cohen and Malcolm Cohen, and Miriam Cramer and Franklyn Gellnick.

The decision to give Rabbi Mirvis freedom of the borough was passed at a council meeting last month.

Rabbi Mirvis said he was “moved” by the gesture, and touched to know it was a unanimous decision by the councillors.

Addressing guests at the ceremony, he said: “Through me you are recognising the role the Jewish community plays in our borough.

“My call to all of the residents is to similarly appreciate our freedom. It’s an age of emancipation and liberty.

“We are always delighted to be at home in the London borough of Barnet.”

Speaking afterwards, Rabbi Mirvis, who lives in Barnet with his wife Valerie, said: “I see this honour as being an honour for our community. This is very special for us, and I treasure this recognition.

“I have so many ideas, I am constantly on the go and certainly it’s wonderful where we are to be able to reach out to the local communities. Barnet is the most densely populated area for Jewish people to live in this country. It deserves to be congratulated for everything it does.”

Councillor Richard Cornelius, Conservative leader of Barnet Council, praised the Chief Rabbi for his work.

He added: “You have authority, dignity and a sense of humour. He brings us all honour by accepting this award.”

Councillor Alison Moore, leader of Barnet’s Labour group, and Liberal Democrat councillor Jack Cohen also praised the experience and respect Rabbi Mirvis brought to the role.