LAST POST SOUNDS FOR WW1 HE­ROES

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANIEL EASTERMAN

JEWISH LEAD­ERS and for­mer soldiers gath­ered for a can­dlelit ser­vice on Mon­day to mark the cen­te­nary of the begin­ning of the First World War.

The event, or­gan­ised by Board of Deputies, was part of the na­tional “Lights Out” cam­paign, which called on peo­ple to switch off their lights in uni­son to mark the mo­ment Bri­tain en­tered the Great War in 1914.

The an­niver­sary fell on the same evening as Tisha B’Av, the date for mourn­ing the de­struc­tion of the two tem­ples in Jerusalem and the exile of the Jewish peo­ple.

For an hour from 10pm, the lights in Be­vis Marks Sy­n­a­gogue were ex­tin­guished, leav­ing the con­gre­ga­tion to daven by can­dle­light. Some used the torches from their mo­bile phones to read the prayers and lamen­ta­tions.

Af­ter the ser­vice, mem­bers of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Jewish Ex-Ser­vice­men and Women (Ajex) and the Jewish Lads and Girls Bri­gade (JLGB) car­ried flags and ban­ners through the sy­n­a­gogue’s main aisle to re­mem­ber the fallen.

In his ad­dress, Rabbi Joseph Dweck, the new se­nior rabbi of the Span­ish and Por­tuguese Con­gre­ga­tions, said the war been a trans­form­ing mo­ment in his­tory. “It thrust us into a com­pletely new world. It was not only the great dis­as­ter of the 20th cen­tury, it also set into mo­tion many other dis­as­ters that fol­lowed in its wake,” he said.

Ex­tracts from war po­ems, diaries and let­ters from Jewish soldiers were read out and Gillian Mer­ron gave an ad­dress in one of her first ap­pear­ances as Board’s chief ex­ec­u­tive.

Lawrence Brass, trea­surer of the Board, said he had been al­most moved to tears by the ser­vice. “It had a par­tic­u­lar poignancy in view of what is go­ing on in the world to­day. A hun­dred years on the tragedy is we haven’t learnt the lessons of the First World War. But we must keep try­ing. We still haven’t learnt to live to­gether in peace — par­tic­u­larly in the Mid­dle East.

Ajex mem­ber Ni­cholas Co­ral agreed that lessons had not been learned. “We have to guard against the preach­ing of hate. There can be no peace in Is­rael and Pales­tine while hate is be­ing prop­a­gated.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis joined around 100 peo­ple at a com­mem­o­ra­tion at the Jewish Mu­seum in Lon­don on Sun­day. The event was co-or­gan­ised by the United Sy­n­a­gogue, Ajex and the Jewish Mil­i­tary Mu­seum.

PHO­TOS: JOHN R RIFKIN

PHOTO: IAN LILLICRAPP

Bu­gler Jef­frey Rees plays The Last Post at the Jewish Mu­seum on Sun­day. Far left: Be­vis Marks’ can­dlelit com­mem­o­ra­tion

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