Two items in last week’s JC wonderfully sought to broaden the horizons of so many in our community as to the actual reality of the Jews worldwide, often overlooked in our sometimes parochial, even stereotypical view of what Jews are like .
The first was Ben Judah’s reminder to us all of the magnificent achievements of the late Indian General Jack Jacobs and the role he played in liberating Bangladesh. Our Jewish educational programmes do not tell us about such people or the communities that produced them.
We at the Commonwealth Jewish Council hugely valued General Jack as one of our founding vicepresidents and miss him.
The other item made clear that it is not only Jewish history that is generally lacking in our Jewish education, but geography, too. Your marvellous summary of many of the Jewish communities of Africa must have been a source of astonishment to many but not to us at
the CJC. For more than 30 years, we have been providing contact and support to many communities in Africa including several you did not have room for — Swaziland, Zambia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Mauritius, Botswana and Namibia. What’s more, the community of Kenya is more diverse than you described.
Broadening the Jewish community’s understanding of itself is an important task. If more Jews recognised the huge scope of the Jewish world and the sometimes inspiring dedication with which many keep alive the flame of Jewish life in sometimes most unlikely places, perhaps our community conversations would have more perspective, depth and kindness. Clive A Lawton, Commonwealth Jewish Council