Editorial: A pioneering prince

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Editorial: A pioneering prince

Following the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh, we reflect on what is arguably an under-appreciated legacy in crucial areas such as Shoah education and interfaith relations

Jewish News
Prince Philip makes a joke at Hertsmere Jewish Primary's opening, which Rabbi Lord Sacks enjoyed! (Credit: David Katz)
Prince Philip makes a joke at Hertsmere Jewish Primary's opening, which Rabbi Lord Sacks enjoyed! (Credit: David Katz)

The actions of Prince Philip’s mother in saving Jews during the Shoah are widely known. What’s less known are the actions of the man himself who, while spending a year in school in Germany in 1933, helped a Jewish boy who was being picked on by fellow pupils as Nazism took hold in the country.

It was a story his son Prince Charles spoke about with great pride in welcoming the great and good of British Jewry to a Buckingham Palace reception in late 2019, and one that marked out a man whose true character and contribution too many perhaps only fully appreciated after his death last Friday.

Perhaps the achievement for which the country’s longest serving consort will be remembered will be his creation of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards which has enriched millions of young lives over decades. No one who tuned into the media coverage last weekend would have been left in any doubt that a key driver of the scheme was Jewish refugee Kurt Hahn, HRH’s mentor.

Many even in our own community were not familiar until last week about his pioneering work in the  interfaith arena or his long-time support for Jewish causes like JLGB, Nightingale or his opening of Hertsmere Jewish Primary School.

While Prince Charles’ close ties and appreciation of Anglo-Jewry are often reported, it’s clearer than ever today where our next king might have drawn his inspiration. We wish the Queen and the entire Royal Family long life.

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

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