ON THE day he became Baron Sacks of Aldgate, the Chief Rabbi helped Magen David Adom UK with its own celebration — a 60th anniversary dinner which raised £1.4 million for the medical emergency charity.
Addressing over 300 guests at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, the Chief Rabbi said: “For 60 years, during war and peace, the Anglo-Jewish community has supported MDA and it is magnificent. When we’re in Israel and we see an ambulance and look at the British names along it, it makes us feel so proud.
“MDA represents what Israel is about and we should be proud of everything Israel does to save and cherish life and what MDA does to save and cherish a life. There is no finer cause.”
He made special mention of Lydia Callender, 85, a grandmother of seven, who helped set up the UK MDA organisation in 1948.
In 1950, she went to Israel as the first representative of the charity, visiting casualty stations up and down the country. On her return she set up the functions committee, the first with the sole purpose of raising money for special MDA projects.
Mrs Callender, who gew up in the same road as Lady Elaine Sacks in Brondesbury Park, was not at the dinner.
She has just returned from visiting a station in Kiryat Shmona which she set up more than 30 years ago and has now dedicated a room to her.
“This is the first dinner I’ve missed,” she said. “But I’m extremely honoured that he would mention me.”
Award-winning pianist and singer Michael Feinstein provided the entertainment, performing classics by Jewish songwriters.
Michael Feinstein with Stuart Glyn and Nicholas Springer
Emma Greenfield, Hayley Warner, Rachel Michaels and Debra Frais get into the spirit of a pre-Halloween Fright Night organised by the Leeds Jewish Initiative, a group for 18-35-year-olds, and attended by over 140 revellers