Prince William has delivered an historic address to more than 1,400 people at Jewish Care’s 25th anniversary dinner at Alexandra Palace.
Paying a glowing tribute to the organisation, it was the second-in-line to the throne’s first speech to a Jewish community function.
Introduced to the stage by Lord Levy, he said: “Thank you, Lord Levy, for your kind introduction and, Lionel, for giving your time to entertain us. I imagine the crowd here will be rowdier that what you’ll have at Glastonbury.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for inviting me to join you this evening for your birthday celebrations. Nearly two hundred years ago, in 1819, there were two quite monumental births. The first was monumental for my family – the birth of my great, great, great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria, who went on to live 81 years and whose daughter-in-law, Alexandra, gave her name to this amazing building.
“The second remarkable birth was of an organisation, which later became known as the Jewish Blind Society. Over the next two centuries, the world changed considerably. Yet there has always been one constant in the United Kingdom – a Jewish community which has organised itself to support those who need help and support. Whether in the time of the Jewish Board of Guardians, or the Jewish Welfare Board or, in our generation, Jewish Care, there is a proud story to be told of self-reliance and communal responsibility.
“This common thread through history – of caring for one another and generosity of time and money – is something that many sectors of British society can be rightly proud of. But you in this room deserve particular praise. The results of your commitment to one another within the Jewish community are obvious – the real and loving care that thousands of elderly and vulnerable people receive, among the many works that you carry out.
“Your care for one another has another, less tangible value. During a year when many in the Jewish community have had cause to feel under threat, for no reason other than simply the fact of your Jewishness, your unity is all the more precious. Your commitment and loyalty to one another, and to society more widely, is ultimately what keeps you strong.
“I was reminded before I came here tonight that an ancestor of mine, a previous Duke of Cambridge in fact, visited the Great Synagogue in London in 1809 and attended a Sabbath service there with his brothers.
“It is a matter of great pride that these bonds in our society run as deep as they run long. Your care for one another is not just a feeling, but it is – as we are reminded tonight – a material fact. I know that Jewish Care is viewed as a leader in the social care field and uses its knowledge, expertise and experience to engage in the debate on high quality care, especially in relation to dementia.
“Your Holocaust Survivors Centre is a second home for many people who were liberated 70 years ago from those evil places.
“All of you in this room, in some way, play your part in making all this happen through this outstanding organisation. Through your generosity and commitment, I am sure Jewish Care will continue to thrive and grow for the next 25 years.
“Once again, congratulations on everything you have achieved. I wish you a wonderful evening and a happy birthday. Mazeltov.”
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