Charles praises WJR compassion to all faiths
IN A thinly veiled response to President Trump’s policies, Prince Charles told Monday’s World Jewish Relief dinner that he had become a WJR patron because it helped “people in need, regardless of faith.”
Speaking to an audience of more than 500 at London’s Guildhall, he said: “In reaching beyond your community, you set an example to us all of true compassion and friendship” and added that the “horrific lessons” of the Second World War seemed to be in increasing danger of being forgotten.
“I have always thought that our own particular faith is something that empowers and liberates us, not something that constrains us,” the Prince continued. “That is why, in my own life, I have always tried to reach across the boundaries of faith and community; to extend a helping hand wherever one might be needed. This was probably ingrained in me at an early age.”
Prince Charles also highlighted the contribution of people such as Ben Helfgott, who survived the horrors of Buchenwald concentration camp. “To meet Ben and others who, like him, have endured indescribable persecution, is to be reminded of the danger of forgetting the lessons of the past,” he said.
“The work of World Jewish Relief enables us to rally together, to do what we can to support people practically, emotionally and spiritually. In reach- ing beyond your own community, you set an example for us all of true compassion and friendship.”
Prince Charles explained that his ideas had been influenced by the wisdom and dignity of Jewish refugees who taught him at Gordonstoun school in Scotland, which “was founded by a remarkable Jewish émigré from Germany, Dr Kurt Hahn.
“I well recall being taught at school by several Jewish refugees who had fled from Germany with Dr Hahn in the ’30s. I have forgotten neither their wisdom nor their dignity.”
His attitude to faith had also been shaped by his grandmother Princess Alice, mother of Prince Philip, who had “courageously” sheltered a Jewish family in Athens during the Second World War.
Addressing the dinner, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis launched an impassioned attack on President Trump’s executive order barring nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries, describing it as “totally unacceptable.
“There are so many millions of refugees who are receiving no hope from countries closing their borders to them — and not much hope from the United States of America of all countries. President Trump has signed an executive order that seeks to discriminate based totally on religion or nationality.
“We, as Jews, perhaps more than any others, know what it’s like to be the victims of discrimination.”
Rabbi Mirvis added: “In the Jewish religion, when it comes to acts of kindness and benevolence, we recognise no borders. Wherever he or she might be, they are counted as what we call mish
pachah — part of our global family.” The dinner — which raised £1.3 million for the charity’s core projects in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Belarus — also featured a video by TV presenter and comedian James Corden.
Joking about the number of requests he receives to attend Jewish charity functions, he said the community “love charity and they love dinner”.
He had agreed to film the message, having been told it would make his mother “kvell”.
I well recall being taught at school by Jewish refugees’ In reaching beyond your own community, you set an example for us all of true compassion and friendship’