Communities Secretary James Brokenshire joined 5,000 visitors to Britain’s only Jewish trade fair yesterday.
The jTrade Expo, which brought together Jewish entrepreneurs across construction, property and other industries, was held at ExCel London on the northern quay of the Royal Victoria Dock.
It follows last year’s inaugural event, which sold out with the purpose of putting Jewish businesspeople in touch with each other.
The Conservative MP delivered a speech at the trade fair, expressing his “proud” support for Britain’s Jewish community and praised its achievements.
“As a government, we will continue to stand up. We will continue to challenge. We will continue to celebrate the fantastic things, contributions and place of British Jews in Britain,” Brokenshire said.
“I thank all of you for everything that you do, and we as a government will continue to be on your side because you matter so much.”
He revealed he would be travelling to Buchenwald this week with his Jewish father-in-law, who was assisted out of Germany by the Mi6 agent Frank Foley. “We need to remember the past and challenge those who would seek to provide division, bigotry, that sense of not listening to the community,” he said.
Dov Black, a partner in the law-firm BBS Law Ltd in Manchester, was among the stand-holders to trade anecdotes with Brokenshire, who practised law before entering into politics.
“He used to be a corporate lawyer, and he told me that was involved in the introduction of the Companies Act of 2006, and we spoke about having both been lawyers and we shared a couple of anecdotes,” he said.
The fair, he added, is a chance for the law-firm to meet face to face with potential new clients and even existing ones exhibiting at the show. “We have come down from Manchester. It’s a great opportunity.”
Similarly, Work Avenue CEO Debbie Sheldon also spoke with the communities secretary, highlighting to him the value of connections in entrepreneurship.
With this in mind, the charity partnered with JTrade and set up a working lounge at the fair providing seating for exhibitors and job seekers to discuss potential opportunities.
“Opportunities are connected to people. If you are looking for an opportunity you are probably looking for a person. That person could be here right now,”said the chairman of Work Avenue Mark Morris.
“We are delighted to partner with JTrade as we share a common objective promoting and encouraging collaboration within our community and beyond,” he added. “Having met many of the companies present, Britain certainly has talent.”
Organiser David Lubelsky told Jewish News the fair counted many new exhibitors this year, with 200 companies scattered across 4,500 square metres. “Visitors and exhibitors came from all over England and that’s really a big kiddush hashem, something amazing to see and to be proud of,” he said.
Ari Feferkorn, founder of JTrade, said: “My main goal here is bringing the communities together and we achieved this on an amazing level. We got together every kind of Jew, no matter Orthodox, non-Orthodox, we got everyone to network.
“The feedback from exhibitors and visitors was just amazing. They’re all begging for another one. Without David [Lubelsky] nothing would have happened. He’s the guy behind the scenes but he actually does a lot of work.”