Sadiq Khan will visit two synagogues during his visit to America including joining his Chicago counterpart Rahm Emanuel for Shabbat services.
The London mayor will accompany the former White House chief of staff to his own shul, Anshe Shalom, this weekend as part of his five-day visit to New York, Chicago and Montreal, which begins today.
He will also meet hundreds of young people of different faiths at Chicago’s oldest synagogue, Temple Shalom, where he will hear from The Inter-Faith Youth Core about the organisation’s mission to make interfaith cooperation a social norm. Khan will use the meeting to reinforce his plans to work to “build true social integration in London”.
The Mayor – who will also attend an Evangelical Church and an interfaith reception organised by the Muslim community in New York – said: “London is an incredibly diverse and tolerant city, but improving social integration is still one of the big challenges we face. That’s why I’m keen to hear from people of many different faiths here in the US to learn from their experiences and to share ideas on how we can bring communities together and strengthen the social fabric that underpins any successful city.
“I also want to tell everyone around the world, loud and clear, that London is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds.”
As well as furthering business links, he plans to use the first major international trip of his mayoralty to discuss priorities like housing, social integration and growing tech and cultural industries.
Meanwhile, London will for the first time have a new deputy mayor dedicated to working with faith communities and improving social integration. Leading human rights lawyer Matthew Ryder was appointed to the role by Sadiq Khan in a further realisation of his election pledge to be a mayor for all Londoners.
The 48-year-old Queen’s Counsel, who will take up his role as deputy mayor for social integration, social mobility and community engagement next month, has been tasked with helping Londoners of “every gender, ethnicity, faith, culture, age, sexuality and socio-economic background don’t just live side by side, but live truly interconnected lives”. A former chair of the Black Cultural Archive, he will also lead on encouraging volunteering and mentoring in the capital.
Joe Vinson, Director of London Jewish Forum, said: “We are delighted that the Mayor of London is taking the issues of social integration and community engagement so seriously. During the Mayoral election, we outlined in our manifesto that integrating different communities and groups is key to fostering good relationships and tackling intolerance, and we’re pleased to see a Deputy Mayor will be leading on this work.”