One of London’s leading Jewish primary schools, established to help educate refugees fleeing the Nazis, welcomed one of the world’s top Holocaust historians and the UK’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues this week.
More than 160 guests celebrated the achievements of Hasmonean Primary School at a gala dinner at Norrice Lea synagogue, with chair governors Dan Sacker urging them to invest “our children’s future” .
Attendees heard Professor Deborah Lipstadt, whose famous courtroom triumph against notorious Holocaust denier David Irving was retold in the movie Denial, speak about her new book, ‘Antisemitism: Here and Now’.
Lord Eric Pickles, co-chair of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, was then interviewed on stage by Jewish News editor Richard Ferrer.
Watch: Lord Eric Pickles in conversation with Jewish News editor Richard Ferrer.
The former MP and peer, who is also chair of Conservative Friends of Israel group in the Lords’, discussed his career, passion for Israel, concerns over Brexit and rising antisemitism and the turbulence in British politics.
Lord Pickles also stressed the importance of faith schools in keeping communities together and strengthening national culture.
After hearing Professor Lipstadt and Lord Pickles, guests saw a presentation by Year 6 students who recounted memorable moments at Hasmonean before they head off to secondary school.
Dan Sacker, Chair of Governors, delivered an impassioned appeal speech at the end of the night, touching on the school’s proud history.
Founded by Rabbi Dr Solomon Schonfeld to rescue children from Nazis, he urged guests to recognise “the responsibilities placed on our shoulders, as the current custodians of the Hasmonean legacy.”
Investing in the school, said Sacker, which earlier this year was given a Good rating by Ofsted and highlighted its high attainment, was “the best investment we can make in our children’s future.”
With the fundraising total still being counted, Britt Jacobs and Veronique Berman, the dinner chairs, indicated they had been “delighted, humbled and very grateful” by the guests generosity, supporting the school.