Foreign Office Minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi visited Brondesbury Synagogue on Monday to meet with Rabbi Baruch Levin and Chairman of the Synagogue Council Daniel Turner to discuss issues facing the synagogue and community.
Baroness Warsi is Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister for Faith and Communities. She was accompanied by Hampstead & Kilburn Conservative candidate, Cllr Simon Marcus and Brondesbury ward Councillor Carol Shaw.
She was briefed by Rabbi Levin on the revival and future of Brondesbury Synagogue. After learning that it has bloomed in 10 years from a small congregation that was planning an expansion she was fascinated to understand how it had been achieved. The importance of being inclusive, engaging and relevant to the congregation was stressed.
Asked about her position she stressed that she had asked for this position as she wanted to ‘normalise faith’ and stressed the importance of faith communities in their local community. She highlighted the many great programmes that faith communities undertook in the wider community, from food banks to Mitzvah Day. She was proud that the Government had supported such programmes including the government’s £5m Near Neighbours programme.
She was proud that she had placed a crack down on hate crimes at the heart of her role, and also spoke passionately of her belief that every faith had a right to thrive and of the importance of inter faith dialogue.
Visiting a thriving synagogue in a community with strong Christian, Muslim and Hindu communities the Minister said “To see a faith community as vibrant as this take its place in such a multi-faith area is an inspiration. The thriving synagogue is testament to the commitment and drive of this young Jewish community and its inspirational leader, Rabbi Baruch Levin”.
Simon Marcus added ‘I would like to thank Baroness Warsi for visiting the Brondesbury Park Synagogue on Monday 22 July and recognising the great work they have done for the local community.
Local Synagogues, churches, temples and mosques all play a huge role in building strong families and communities. Much of their work is unrewarded, they deserve huge support and I would like to say thank you.’