Why Tom Conti feels at home with Jews

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY LIFE - JC RE­PORTER

AC­TOR TOM Conti wel­comed al­most 80 sup­port­ers of Jewish Care’s Out­look com­mit­tee into his Hamp­stead home for what he jok­ingly de­scribed as “the first char­ity bris. I have so many Jewish friends and go to Fri­day night din­ners, so I thought I’d be­come one of you.”

Dur­ing a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion, the stage and screen star re­vealed that his in­ter­est in Jews be­gan in child­hood. “I grew up in an area be­tween Pais­ley and Glas­gow at a time when Jewish fam­i­lies were com­ing out of Europe and I re­mem­ber hear­ing hor­ren­dous sto­ries. My par­ents were in busi­ness and I had a nanny. If the nanny wasn’t well, I would stay with a neigh­bour and we had sev­eral Jewish fam­i­lies nearby.

“The Jewish homes were warm and com­fort­able and peo­ple asked what you wanted as soon as you ar­rived. It was like my home — my fa­ther was Ital­ian.”

Conti also re­called his first the­atri­cal break and ex­plained how he mas­tered lines: “It’s a mys­tery, a strange thing the learn­ing process. The more you use it, the more it works.”

Out­look chair Mimi Lu­cas thanked the ac­tor and his singer wife Kara Wil- son for “a won­der­ful evening” which raised £2,000 to­wards re­fur­bish­ments at Kay Court in Hamp­stead. The care home’s re­cep­tion area will be ded­i­cated in me­mory of Jac­que­line Donoff, a long-time com­mit­tee mem­ber.

PHOTO: SUE LEVY

Out­look’s Mimi Lu­cas with Tom Conti and his wife Kara Wil­son

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