The lessons of my lifetime
I was truly honoured and humbled to have read all the most kind and generous tributes that were paid to me on the occasion of my 90th birthday.
I am writing to thank Jewish News and each and every one of the contributors most sincerely.
As we start the next decade of the 21st century, 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the final liberation of the concentration camps. Who would have believed that 75 years later, we would still be facing the scourge of antisemitism, racism and discrimination that continue to blight our modern
Your gracious and most flattering words will give me even greater incentive to pursue the ideals of a more tolerant society that we have all been working towards.
Sir Ben Helfgott, N2
Cherry picking the cheer
Brian Gordon’s “Cheerful vision for 2020” (Jewish News, 3 January) stated that “recent governments have been excellent on almost every issue relating to Jews and Israel”. I take issue with him on this. Surely, he must be aware that on most of the UN resolutions against Israel, the UK Government either supports them, or has abstained, but rarely voted against the anti-Israel bias.
It has, also, allowed antisemitic demonstrations under the guise of anti-Israel demos, such as the Al Quds to continue. He seems to have forgotten this. However, as he wrote this in his capacity as a politician – he signed off as Cllr Brian Gordon rather than in a personal capacity, I forgive him. Politicians are selective with their memory.
Mike Hinden, Harrow
Vile views trickle down
Last week’s antisemitic graffiti in north London shows how the vile views around Jeremy Corbyn permeate down to the mindless and ignorant bigots who attack innocent people on the streets and in their homes. Never has a party leader together with his malignant cohorts enabled such a programme of hatred among party supporters.
Simon Weinberg, Dorset
How to mark election?
Does anyone agree that the 2019 election result should be annually celebrated publicly by British Jews, with prayers of thanksgiving said in shul on the day, as well as on the Shabbat beforehand, and a celebratory festive meal?
The only question would be, does one celebrate the day of the election itself (12 December) or the day of the result (13 December).
On the one hand, the event happened through actions performed on polling day. On the other, the joy only erupted once the result was known the next day. Celebrating the latter would also have the benefit of debunking superstition, as it was Friday 13th. But then, being on one of the shortest winter erev Shabbats, it might prove “tirchah deTzibbur” – a burden on the congregation – to have to conduct an extra Yom Tov meal while preparing for Shabbat. It could be resolved by saying that the Jewish day always starts the night before, so we can “bring in” this Yom Tov on the night of 12th – as the results started to come in. Or maybe we could have a 2-day Yom Tov, as it is very much “chutz la’aretz”.
Either way, let’s never forget the miracle of deliverance that took place in Britain 2019.
Max Witriol, By email
Nominate unsung leaders
Anyone reading the New Year Honours List would be struck by the number of Holocaust survivors duly recognised. This is testament to the remarkable resilience and bravery of so many survivors in our community. Despite unimaginable trauma, they have dedicated themselves to teaching young people about where hatred and racism can lead. Our community and country are rightly proud of their service ensuring the Shoah is never forgotten.
We should also reflect on the amazing number of people who lead lives dedicated to the benefit of others. So many leaders, educators, rabbis, care workers and philanthropists are doing extraordinary work in the Jewish community. It is is important those acts of kindness that do not garner public attention are recognised within our national honours system. We should nominate all those remarkable people in our community.
Shimon Cohen, N2