This meeting proves we are stronger together
AS 2016 begins, we set our sights on goals for the future, as individuals and as a proud, thriving British Jewish community.
Last year, terrorism tested us all. The attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the kosher supermarket, and the Bataclan struck at the heart of France, at its values and its Jewish community.
They remind us that we must not take anything for granted. Yet, we can say unequivocally that we are extremely fortunate to be Jewish in Britain and a perfect illustration of this is the community’s meeting with the Prime Minister.
This week, the Jewish Leadership Council brought together community leaders to meet David Cameron. In what has become a fixture of his calendar, we made requests and exchanged ideas on education, social care, combating antisemitism and extremism, our relationship with Israel and more.
But this meeting is far more than a chance to petition our government. It is our opportunity to demonstrate that we are stronger together, we can unite around a common purpose, and that British Jews are a source of ingenuity and creativity, eager to contribute across British society.
The government’s decision to accept 20,000 refugees who have escaped the Syrian civil war is an important moral stand. As Jewish immigrants did in the past, they must now learn a new language, adopt a new culture, and integrate into a society unknown to them.
British Jewry is committed to doing its part, to honour the commandment to “love the stranger, for you were once strangers”, and to ensure that those arriving on our shores can begin anew. At the meeting, World Jewish Relief presented to the Prime Minister a unique programme aimed at equipping refugees with the skills and tools to find work. It is hoped that the pilot programme will be followed by a full-scale initiative engaging with government and the private and voluntary sectors. Beyond facilitating a smooth transition for refugees, we aim to help them build confidence, selfsufficiency and create a prosperous future for themselves.
This is what leading as a Jewish community and being stronger together is all about. This is how we do our part to build a better United Kingdom. Together, the Jewish refugees of old will help the Syrian refugees of today make Britain their home.
This was a chance to show British Jews are a source of ingenuity