Joy for rabbi and cam­paign­ers as coun­cil agrees to take in 50 Syr­i­ans

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

A LON­DON coun­cil has agreed to re­set­tle Syr­ian refugees af­ter a cam­paign led by a lo­cal rabbi.

Re­becca Qas­sim Birk, rabbi at Finch­ley Pro­gres­sive Syn­a­gogue, headed a Cit­i­zens UK ef­fort to get Bar­net Coun­cil to take in the refugees.

Coun­cil leader Richard Cor­nelius an­nounced that the lo­cal au­thor­ity would ac­cept 50 Syr­i­ans at a meet­ing at the syn­a­gogue on Sun­day, at­tended by 200 peo­ple.

He told the gath­er­ing: “Rabbi, the an­swer is yes,” ac­knowl­edg­ing that the cam­paign had pricked his con­science.

The lo­cal Cit­i­zens UK group, made up of Rwan­dan, Syr­ian, Jewish and Catholic com­mu­ni­ties in Bar­net, said it had or­gan­ised homes and places at schools and GP surg­eries for the refugees.

Rabbi Birk said: “We know it’s not easy for a coun­cil to say yes, that’s why we needed lo­cal peo­ple to show their sup­port, find homes and of­fer a warm welcome.”

Nor­wich Lib­eral Jewish Com­mu­nity is plan­ning a ser­vice in its Suc­cah this Shab­bat to call for the city coun­cil to fol­low Bar­net’s lead.

Mean­while, more than £445,000 has been raised by World Jewish Re­lief’s ap­peal to help Syr­ian refugees since the be­gin­ning of Septem­ber. Paul An­ti­coni, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the char­ity, said: “The Jewish com­mu­nity has risen as one to show that it can be counted upon to make a life-chang­ing dif­fer­ence.” A meet­ing to dis­cuss the com­mu­nity’s re­sponse to the cri­sis will be held on Wed­nes­day at the JW3 cen­tre.

Rabbi Qas­sim Birk

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.