Charles praises WJR com­pas­sion to all faiths

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS - BY LEE HARPIN

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’

PHOTO: ANDY TYLER

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