Yom HaShoah at the Dell

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April 2014 Hyde Park

The annual Yom HaShoah event at the Dell in Hyde Park never fails to inspire and move me.  A blustery day where, once again the rain held up, crowds descended on this leafy, tranquil part of the park to listen, to think, to reflect and to share the memories and the lessons. 

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IMG_3588IMG_3585Children from three Jewish primary schools reminded us of the future lost and the future we are lucky enough to anticipate.  Kol hakavod to the Yom HaShoah Forum and all involved in the theme of

 

“Remembering the Past, honouring the memory, shaping the future”

 

 

 

 

Jewish Schools – bringing the issues to Westminster

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April 2014

 

laura offord moriarty miller westminster Hosted by Matthew Offord MP, chair of the new APPG on British Jews,  The Board ran a session for MPs to discuss issues relating to Jewish Schools.  One of the major issues is the teaching of Religious Education across the nation, compulsory yet often ignored.  With so little knowledge of Judaism in British schools, the type of ignorance which leads to prejudice, or worse, must be a risk to our small and geographically clustered community.

Other issues discussed included teaching children with special needs, security and the currently much disscussed problem of exam questions which fail to recognise the special needs of children in some faith schools.

We were delighted to have both Patrick Moriarty, Headteacher of JCoss and Jonathan Miller, Headteacher of JFS with us plus some of their sixth formers.

This format is a wonderful way to bring together parliamentarians both with Jewish experts and, as in this case, with Jewish teenagers.  We need more of this great work

Dancing in the Rain with Yvette Cooper MP

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March 2014

There are so many injustices in the world!  The One Billion Rising for Justice is an international movement demanding change for women affected world wide by domestic violence. The idea is that together we dance round the world so raising the issue of violence against women and making people stop and listen. It was a great honour to share the platform (and dance in the rain) with Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Home Secretary  calling for change

Dancing with IMG_3318me in Trafalgar Square were Nicky Goldman, Director of Lead, Emma Bell, CEO of Jewish Women’s Aid,  Rabbi Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi of the MRJ and my daughter Sally.  We can ALL do something to address inequality – and Women in Jewish Leadership (WJL) is encouraging every woman to stand up and lead the way. www.womeninjewishleadership.org.uk
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The Warmest Welcome in Glasgow

March 29 2014

IMG_3492 IMG_3490 IMG_3482The Glasgow Jewish Representative Council laid on a wonderful weekend for the Board complete with a civic reception attended by the great and the good, to celebrate their one hundred years of existence. This makes it the second oldest representative Jewish body in the UK! The work undertaken by the Rep Council is impressive as was the announcement by Chair, Paul Morron that in celebration, the Council is to support work for immigrants to Scotland seeking a fair and safe life for their families.

Dignitaries from across the political spectrum attended including local MP and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Jim Murphy (seen here).

It was wonderful to visit  such a vibrant, warm, forward looking community and to also spend some time with a group of committed Deputies.

Thank you for sharing your special weekend with us and for making it so clear just how much the local communities contribute to Jewish life in the UK

 

 

ORT breakfast – supporting young people through education

 

March 2014

ORT is a huge  international organisation committed to changing the lives of young Jewish people through cutting edge education.  Despite a rather early start, hearing about the work they do made me wake up!  The guest speaker, talking about the changing face of social media (and Facebook in particular) was the upbeat and ever lovely Nicola Mendelsohn reminding us, amongst other things, about how much technology has changed in such a very short time enabling people to connect in ways they never dreamed of.  Reminded me about the importance of two way conversation and exchange of ideas in all settings

 

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Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission

March 2014

The Cabinet Office has asked us to ensure that a strong JEWISH voice is heard by the Commissioners.  If we don’t care then, who will?  Our job, collectively is to ensure that synagogues, youth movements, JSocs, Rep Councils and of course people let the Commission know what is important to us about both commemoration and education relating to the Holocaust.

It’s not hard – individuals  write s short piece on the subject – “Why is it so important that we remember the Holocaust and how can we make sure future generations never forget?” and send it to the Holocaust Submissions at Number 10 Downing Street or  The Holocaust Commission, PO Box 72270, London, SW1P 9WU

For organisations  the consultation can be found on line, here

https://engage.number10.gov.uk/contact-the-holocaust-commission/  – and please send me a copy at the Board. This is something we can all engage with – Jews and non Jews alike

Closing date is the end of May so hurry!

 

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Islam Awareness Week

March 2014

 

The most unlikely venue for the launch of IAW must have been the JW3, the Jewish community centre.  If ever a signal of trust and friendship went out, this was it.  I was lucky enough to be amongst those speaking at this very unusual event this week with around 50 activists, many working in the field of social action and social justice.  Julie Siddiqi, director of the Islamic Society of Britain set up the meeting and encouraged us all to roll up our sleeves together to work for the common good.  Inspirational IMG_3409