FES­TI­VAL WAS NEI­THER ‘CHAOTIC’ NOR A ‘FI­ASCO’

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT -

Lionel Kopelowitz’s let­ter on the legacy of Gre­ville Jan­ner ( JC, Jan 1) is very in­ter­est­ing but I must take is­sue with him with re­gard to the Fes­ti­val of Bri­tish Jewry, which in no way was a ‘’fi­asco’’.

I was charged — to­gether with the then Sec­re­tary of the Board, Hy­man Pin­ner — with the or­gan­i­sa­tion of the six-month pro­gramme of events, all of which were well re­ceived by press and par­tic­i­pants.

This in­cluded the func­tion at Hamp­ton Court Palace which Dr Kopelowitz re­ferred to as hav­ing been “chaotic”.

The se­lec­tion of the venue was not my re­spon­si­bil­ity. By its very na­ture, it made the seat­ing of more than 1,500 guests in a sin­gle room im­pos­si­ble.

Hence the num­ber of peo­ple ac­tu­ally din­ning in the same room as the Prince and Princess of Wales was even fur­ther re­duced but that did not pre­vent each and ev­ery­one be­ing pre­sented to, as well as hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to say a few words with, ei­ther the Prince or the Princess.

This took place in the largest room avail­able and thus made the pos­si­ble num­ber of peo­ple din­ing in that room even smaller.

Their Royal High­nesses walked down a line of all the guests who wished to be pre­sented which, for their own rea­sons, were by no means all of those present. At the end of that line were the “work­ers’’, in­clud­ing my late wife and me and she re­mem­bered and talked about this hon­our un­til the day she died.

There are not many venues that could have ac­com­mo­dated the num­bers in­volved and, while there was the prob­lem with seat­ing, it was more than com­pen­sated by the splen­dour and majesty of Hamp­ton Court in the sum­mer

It was the only place where the evening could have been ended with a 30-minute mil­i­tary tat­too, which, in spite of the slight driz­zle, was a most fit­ting and breath­tak­ing end to what was proudly billed as ‘‘Bri­tish Jewry hon­our­ing the Prince and Princess of Wales’’ and cer­tainly not the other way around. Harry Bib­ring Bushey Heath, Herts

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