A senior leader of Britain’s 1.5 million Indians has said the community stands “shoulder-to-shoulder” with the British Jews.
More than 120 representatives of both communities met at Marble Arch Synagogue last week, to hear major Conservative Party donor and investment banker Lord Gadhia pledge solidarity.
“This is a timely gathering, between the festivals of Diwali and Chanukah,” he told guests at the Indian Jewish Association event on Friday. “It’s an opportunity to celebrate the strong ties between our two communities.”
Gadhia grew up in north London and said: “It strengthened my admiration for your achievements and confirmed that Jews and Indians share many of the same values: family, faith, community, a strong emphasis on education and entrepreneurship.”
He added: “It pains us to see the anguish felt by your community at the ugly rise of antisemitism in Britain and around the world. British Indians resolutely stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Jewish community until antisemitism is eradicated.”
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who toured India extensively in 2015, said the term ‘thanksgiving’ was relevant to the night’s occasion, because the word ‘India’ in Hebrew is ‘Hodu,’ which means thanksgiving.
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“Therefore we give thanks to God who has blessed the Jewish people, and blessed the Indian people, in a wonderful spirit of harmony and amity. We have so much in common.”
He added: “If you want an example of unity, look at Jews and Indians. If only the whole world took a leaf out of our book, this would be a very different planet. As Indians and Jews together, we are playing different instruments but are together in the same orchestra, and our aim is to continue with that harmonious tone.”
The Chief Rabbi’s Ben Azzai Programme takes university students to India or Ghana to experience social action in some of the world’s poorest areas, and next month 16 students will fly to Kolkata.