CST dinner latest cancellation as community postpones key events
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CST dinner latest cancellation as community postpones key events

Charity which is responsible for providing security advice made the announcement as other communal organisations cancel plans to curb the spread of the infection

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Sir Gerald Ronson speaking at the 2018 CST dinner
Sir Gerald Ronson speaking at the 2018 CST dinner

The Community Security Trust has cancelled its annual fundraising dinner, as communal charities this week announced they would postpone similar events as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.

The charity, which is responsible for providing security advice and training to the community’s schools and synagogues made the announcement, as the government said the number of confirmed cases was up to 456, with six deaths.

A statement said: “Following a detailed study of the situation and having taken expert advice, the trustees and management of CST believe that cancelling the event is the only responsible option.

“The health and safety of our guests, staff and volunteers is paramount.

“We strongly felt that this very painful and difficult decision needed to be taken now. To leave it until later might have been tempting, but would ultimately have resulted in more uncertainty, cost and inconvenience for all concerned.”

In recent years, high-profile guest speakers have included ex-chancellor Sajid Javid and former Prime Minister Theresa May, while she was still Home Secretary.

Elsewhere, World Jewish Relief confirmed it will not go ahead with its trip to Odessa, Ukraine, which was due to run between 29 March and 1 April.

The charity, which supports communities in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, cited the risks posed to “mostly older Jewish people who are very vulnerable due to frailty, age or ill health.”

“It is of paramount importance that these people are protected from any harm and so World Jewish Relief has suspended all non-essential travel, including insight trips with supporters to visit these programmes.”

While stressing that “the incidence of coronavirus in the countries in which we work in eastern Europe is currently very low and home visits by our local partners continues”, WJR said it is “working with them to ensure they have contingency plans in the event of a wider outbreak.”

The charity added that it intends to go ahead with a reception for young professionals on 23 March, in central London.

Langdon’s Directors and Board of Trustees also decided to postpone its annual dinner due to take place on the 18th May. A new date has been set for 26th October.

A message from its chairman said: “The health and wellbeing of our members, their families, and our donors, some of whom are more vulnerable than others, is paramount and we as an organisation, are doing everything we can to minimise the risk of infection.”

Elsewhere, WIZO and Westminster Young Professionals cancelled their Power Hour event with Apprentice star Claude Littner, which was due to take place on 10 March at Westminster Synagogue.

Youth Aliyah Child Rescue has just announced will be cancelling its upcoming gala dinner on 23 March, with no plans to reschedule.

Its CEO, Daliah Mehdi commented: “It is with sincere regret that we have had to make the incredibly difficult decision”.

“We are wholly reliant on the generosity of our donors to fund our vital work with vulnerable children in Israel, particularly at major events like this, so we are gravely concerned about the impact
this may have on them, especially at a time when they themselves are dealing with heightened emotions surrounding the epidemic.”

The British arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science pulled a series of events, starting on 11 March, including a dinner with new President, Professor Alon Chen, in the wake of travel restrictions from Israel’s health ministry.

On Thursday, The Zionist Federation announced it had cancelled its annual dinner on 22nd March,  are are looking into rearranging it.

Meanwhile, Young Norwood postponed its Business Entrepreneurs event, due to take place on 26 March, until July.

One of the communities biggest charities, Jewish Care, announced it has cancelled or postponed key events to protect its elderly service users, “who due to their age and other conditions may be most at risk”.

Kisharon has been impacted by the cancellation of the Jerusalem marathon, in which it had sponsored runners. The charity offered donors the chance to reclaim contributions – but so far none have asked for money to be returned.

A Holocaust remembrance conference due to be held at Chelsea FC’s stadium, scheduled for 21 to 22 April, has been postponed, while next month’s March of the Living in Poland was also put on hold, with organisers citing a primary concern being the health of participants, including Holocaust survivors.

Ahead of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, the Association of Jewish Ex-Service Men and Women (AJEX) also cancelled their trip to the former Nazi concentration camp in Germany.

MyIsrael confirmed it will postpone its comedy dinner event on Sunday 15 March due to concerns over the virus. The charity said: “We are so upset but it’s the right thing to do to protect our guests, our staff and our helpers.”

Many charities are cautiously pressing ahead with their events, including Rene Cassin’s Women’s seder on 12 March, StandWithUS Sports breakfast on 16 March, and ORT UK’s Business Breakfast on 24 March. JNetics also plans to hold its 10-year anniversary dinner on 16 March.

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