Dun­can Smith hails ‘bril­liant’ drop-in project

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS - BY JC RE­PORTER

WOOD­FORD FOR­EST United Syn­a­gogue has be­come the first shul in East Lon­don and Es­sex to of­fer a drop-in fa­cil­ity for asy­lum-seeker fam­i­lies.

For­mer Tory leader Iain Dun­can Smith and Red­bridge Deputy Mayor Coun­cil­lor Tai­fur Rashid at­tended Sun­day’s launch, held as part of Mitz­vah Day.

Vol­un­teers from a num­ber of lo­cal syn­a­gogues sorted do­nated clothes, shoes, toi­letries and chil­dren’s toys. They also served a hot lunch, dis­trib­uted food vouch­ers and spent time be­friend­ing mem­bers of 30 asy­lum­seeker fam­i­lies.

The drop-in is part of the United Syn­a­gogue Ch­esed scheme through which acts of kind­ness are un­der­taken to help both Jews and the wider com­mu­nity. It will con­tinue on a monthly ba­sis.

Mr Dun­can Smith, MP for Ching­ford and Wood­ford Green, said: “Events like this show how bril­liant the Jewish com­mu­nity are at reach­ing out to all other mem­bers of so­ci­ety, sup­port­ing and help­ing them.”

Coun­cil­lor Rashid en­joyed “tak­ing part in Mitz­vah Day and see­ing some of the good deeds that hap­pen”.

Shul chair Robin Jacobs said it was im­por­tant “that our syn­a­gogues are not just for the Jewish com­mu­nity but are a key part of the British com­mu­nity”.

The Hen­don United con­gre­ga­tion also runs a drop-in.

ALL PHO­TOS: YAKIR ZUR

Young vol­un­teers with do­nated toys. Op­po­site: Iain Dun­can Smith chats to guests

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